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What are the Best Pearls?

What is the best kind of pearl to buy?


In the not too distant past, jewelers might have recommended Akoya pearls if you were looking for classic white pearls or Tahitian and South Sea pearls if you were looking for something big and bold.

In recent years we've brought a line of gem-grade freshwater pearls to the market. This new grade of Freshwater pearl is round, lustrous with a nearly clean surface. They are comparable to mid-range Akoya pearls, but a fraction of the price.

Of course, when our customers ask us about the best pearls, we also encourage them to explore the unique traits of all types of pearls and to choose the pearls that suite their style and budget.

What is the Best Type of Pearl to Buy?

There are four main types of cultured pearls to consider when pearl shopping. Each type has its own characteristics and singular qualities. By familiarizing yourself with each type of pearl, you'll be able to make a selection that suits you best.

Akoya Pearls: These pearls represent some of the best cultured pearls available today. Known for their metallic luster and perfectly round shape, they are regarded as the classic white pearl. While most Akoya pearls are farmed in Japan, China and Vietnam both produce Akoya pearls as well.

Freshwater Pearls: Cultured freshwater pearls come mainly from China, usually without a bead nucleus (making them very durable). Pearl lovers are enchanted by the range of natural colors freshwater pearls boast, like lavender, pink, white and the myriad of dyed options. Quality varies greatly with freshwater pearls, so choose wisely. Low grade potato shaped pearls can be had for a few dollars while perfectly round gem grade pearls with metallic luster will command prices in line with Akoya pearls.

Tahitian Pearls: The only naturally "black" pearl, there's nothing like breathtaking Tahitian pearls for exotic beauty. While not actually black they come in a wide range of dark body colors(green, blue, purple, silver, peacock etc.). Starting in size around 8mm and ranging up to 18mm, Tahitian pearls provide a bold exotic look.

South Sea Pearls: Large, elegant with a silky luster South Sea pearls are often referred to as the "Queen of Gems". Grown in the warm waters Indonesia and Australia they average around 13mm with some pearls growing over 20mm. Their relative rarity and the high cost of production make South Sea pearls the most expensive type of pearl.

The Perfect Strand of Pearls

Fine Japanese Akoya Pearls

The perfect strand of pearls... Is it possible?

Perfectly round, beautifully matched, with a mirror like luster – Japanese Akoya pearls can’t be matched for quality and high-end appeal. This is the classic pearl necklace.  

Akoya Pearl Necklaces

What is the Best Quality of Pearl?

Quality is an essential factor when shopping for any type of pearl. Every type has both high and low pearl examples when it comes to quality. For this reason, cultured pearls are graded to help gem customers understand the features of their pearls. While pearl reports may vary between jewelers, they typically evaluate pearl size, shape, color, and other significant traits that affect the pearl's value.

Read More: Pearl Grading


Where is The Best Place to Buy pearls?

Traditional Retail:
Buying from a reputable jeweler, whether in person or online, is essential. Retail locations allow you to pick up and try on pearls but traditional retail markup is 3x - 10x the true cost of the pearls. Somebody has to pay for the fancy showrooms after all!

Ebay & Amazon:
Ebay does have the occasional steal but most of the ads you see are bait and switch scams, if it looks too good to be true it probably is. Amazon is a good choice if you want low cost mass produced jewelry. The majority of the product I see listed there is cheap chinese freshwater pearls of suspect quality.

Buying Online:
If you're going to shop online, buy from Pearls of Joy. We have 100-day free returns and the best reputation in the industry. Nobody beats us on quality and value.

Read More:  Where to Buy Pearls


Buying the best pearls available is not easy but with a little bit of research the informed consumer can find amazing value on exceptional pearls. If you have any questions at all please contact us - we're happy to help even if you don't purchase from us.

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