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Top Tips for Buying Cultured Pearls Online

Pearls of Joy x The Culture of Pearls

Pearls are special. The preferred gem of royalty, there is nothing classier than wearing pearls. On the neck, ears, wrists or fingers, wearing pearls is a subtle yet noteworthy nod to the gods of elegance.

In the past, the only way one could buy cultured pearls was at a brick and mortar jewelry boutique. But all that has changed with the advent of online shopping. Geographical location is no longer an issue. In fact, overtime, online buying has become easier and more streamlined. Today, buying pearl jewelry online is a simple process- a few clicks on a jewelry website and then waiting for your jewelry shipment to arrive by mail.

Buying cultured pearls online is a great option, especially from specialist pearl companies. With a great selection of pearl jewelry, online specialist pearl retailers, like Pearls of Joy, are able to offer beautiful pearls at very competitive prices. However, for first-time buyers, online pearl shopping can be a daunting task. But if you keep the following tips in mind, you are sure to make an excellent pearl jewelry purchase.

Tahitian Pearls Pearls of Joy

Tahitian Pearl Earrings, Pearls of Joy

Establish your Budget

This is an important step in your online pearl buying journey. Good pearl jewelry is available at different price points. Therefore, going in with a clear idea of how much you want to spend on your pearl purchase will help you narrow down your search for the best and most affordable pearls for you.

Know your Pearls

Understanding the different types of cultured pearls available in the market is key to any pearl jewelry purchase. There are four main types of cultured pearls you can consider for your purchase. Each has its own beauty and distinctive characteristics, and each is available at a different price point.

Freshwater Pearls – an affordable choice that does not compromise on beauty or elegance. Freshwater pearls are available in a range of natural colors (white, pink, peach, and lavender) and sizes.

Akoya Pearls – loved for their superb luster and symmetrically round shape, the quintessential cultured pearl. The classic Akoya pearl color is white with pink overtones.

Tahitian Pearls – enigmatic and striking, these black pearls are the embodiment of sophistication and flair. These pearls come in a range of natural body colors like dark to light grey, with exceptional overtones or secondary colors like green, blue, aubergine, cherry or even a mix of colors, leading to the much coveted peacock Tahitians.

• South Sea Pearls – glamorous and stylish, South Sea pearls are synonymous with luxury. South Sea pearls can grow to 20mm or more in size and come in a range of natural colors, from silvery white to deep gold.

 Pearls of Joy

Baroque Freshwater Pearl Necklace, Pearls of Joy

Finding a Reputable Online Pearl Specialist or Jeweler

This is perhaps THE most important step in your online pearl buying journey. Buying jewelry online is a relatively straight-forward process. Nevertheless, this very simplicity can makes buying pearls online a little challenging. That is because unlike diamonds, pearls do not have a universally accepted grading system. In addition, pearls are notoriously difficult to photograph.

Because of these two factors, there are many unscrupulous online sellers who can take advantage of first time pearl buyers. Selling lower grade pearls and giving them a higher rating or selling freshwater pearls disguised as pricier Akoya or even South Sea pearls, are just two things that can result in a less than desirable purchase.

The only way around this is to buy pearls from reputable online pearl specialists or jewelers. These are online pearl and jewelry sellers who specialise in pearls and have in-depth knowledge of this gem. Also, these specialist online retailers have a large and dedicated client base and their pearl jewellery pieces have been featured in a host of leading publications. Most importantly, they have a reputation for integrity and trustworthiness. In addition to this, there are some very concrete ways of determining if an online pearl seller is reputable:

Returns Policy: Reputable and trusted online pearl specialist jewelers believe in transparency and have a clearly worded and easy to understand returns policy. For instance, Pearls of Joy offers a very generous free returns window of up to 100 days after sale.

Shipping Policy: Well established online pearl jewelry retailers have a shipping policy that offers different options for country-wide and international shipping. In fact, a select few online pearl jewelry retailers also offer free shipping on national/country-wide orders.

Other important details: Well respected online pearl jewelers offer a certificate of authenticity for each piece of pearl jewelry on their website. In addition, the Contact Us page on their website has an email and a phone number through which potential and existing clients can get in touch with them.

Pearls of Joy

Freshwater Pearl Jewelry, Pearls of Joy

Working with a Pearl Specialist to Find your Perfect Pearls

For first time pearl buyers especially, it is best to candidly discuss what you are looking for and what other pearl jewelry options are available within your budget, with your online pearl specialist or jeweler. Once you do find the perfect piece of jewelry, ask for more photos or videos, so you can get a good idea of the color, luster, size, and shape of the pearls. Remember, pearl specialists are there to support you. They have the requisite knowledge and expertise about pearls and pearl jewelry and will help you find your perfect pearls.

Buying pearl jewelry online is a great idea. You can find high quality pearls at very competitive prices. However, finding a reputable online pearl specialist retailer or jeweler is an important part of your buying journey. Once you make your first purchase, it will be difficult to stop yourself from going back again, and again, and pretty soon you will have an enviable pearl jewelry collection.

Reema Farooqui is a content writer who loves pearls and pearl jewellery. You can find her on her website The Culture of Pearls or on Instagram at @thecultureofpearls 

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