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Guide to Pearl Sizes

The Ultimate Pearl Size Guide

So you want to buy pearl jewelry. You’ve pinned down the color and quality. But then you face a question that stumps you — which pearl size should you go for?

It’s an important question, especially when buying cultured pearls for the first time. Pearls come in a huge range of different sizes, so it’s no wonder that choosing the best pearl size — which means the perfect piece of pearl jewelry — can be daunting.

That’s why we’re here.

Below, we’ll go over some basic facts about pearl sizes that will help you choose the perfect pearl for YOU or your partner.

If you’re interested in learning more about what to look for when buying pearls, you will find our Pearl Buying guide very helpful.

Use the Table of Contents below to jump directly to any topic that interests you most, or read the entire guide.

General Pearl Size Guidelines

Typical pearls can range in size from 2 mm to 12 mm or even larger. The right pearl size for you will vary depending on your style. Here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind:

Larger pearls are the best choice if you’re looking to achieve a formal look, or for those high-wattage red carpet events. Big, bold pearl jewelry will make a big, bold statement, and for those occasions when you want to stand out, they can be the perfect choice.

By contrast, smaller or medium-sized pearls are generally favored for casual everyday wear. They can also convey a subtle, understated elegance, or be combined with other sizes to achieve a unique and modern fashion statement.

Age can also be a factor when choosing the right pearl size. Young women and girls will often find that smaller pearls work best for their needs, matching their smaller frames and more delicate features. Meanwhile, mature women may opt for larger statement pearls that convey sophistication and glamor. Time of day and the occasion at which the pearls will be worn are also important to consider.

The bottom line is that if you want to buy the perfect set of pearls that expresses your individual style and personality, you’ll have to do a little bit of digging into the various pearl sizes.

But don’t worry. In this article we’ll help you sort through all of those options so you can find the perfect set of pearls for you.

First things first, though, let’s talk about how pearls are measured, and the sizes you are likely to encounter in your research.

Read more about the different pearl types in our informative Types of Pearls guide.


Comparing Pearl Sizes

Unlike other gems whose sizes are measured by carat weight, all cultured pearls are measured in millimeters across the diameter of the pearl.

Both Akoya pearls, which really are the classic pearls, as well as beautiful Freshwater pearls, are measured in half-millimeter sizes. For necklaces, bracelets, and pendants, pearl jewelry for both types of pearls comes in size ranges such as 6.0 - 6.5 mm, 6.5 - 7.0 mm and so on.

By contrast, exotic pearl types such as Tahitian and South Sea pearls are measured in whole millimeters. For these pearls, all earrings, rings, pendants and necklaces will feature size listings such as 10.0 – 11.0 mm, 11.0 – 12.0 mm, 12.0 – 13.0 mm and so forth.


Measuring Pearl Sizes

The image below shows the most popular Akoya pearl necklace sizes, and how they compare to a U.S. nickel. You can see how each half-millimeter difference impacts the overall look of a pearl necklace.

What’s more, while a half-millimeter increase doesn’t sound like a lot, that extra volume can really add up, as shown in the pearl size chart below. Each half-millimeter increase in diameter generally translates to about a 15-20% jump in overall size. And the larger the pearl, the higher its price.


pearl necklace size chart

What Size Pearl Earrings Should You Buy?

The best pearl earring size for most occasions is the timeless classic 7.0 - 8.0 mm size. This classic pearl size, particularly when set in pearl studs, are a staple of every jewelry box, and they are perfectly suited for everyday wear.

The 7.0 - 8.0 size is quite versatile, and can easily take your look from everyday wear to evening elegance. But there are other applications to consider, too.

A pair of elegantly understated 6.5 – 7.0 mm Akoya pearl earrings can be ideal for office wear, offering class and style without being too showy. Luxury pearl earring sizes, on the other hand — such as the eye-catching 11 – 12 mm Tahitian pearl earring — are a glamorous choice for an evening out.

You may have entirely other preferences, and that’s okay! After all, earrings create a frame for your face, and every face is different.

At Pearls of Joy, you will find a wide selection of 7.0 – 8.0 mm stud earrings, including lustrously gorgeous Akoya and Top Range Hanadama stud earrings, as well as lovely Freshwater pearl stud earrings in a range of pretty pastel colors.


Pearl Earrings Size and Your Personal Style

The truth is that jewelry wearers often choose pearl size based on their individual preferences, as well as what works best with their personal style. This is true for stud as well as dangle earring styles.

While some jewelry wearers love luxurious “look at me” earrings such as Pearls of Joy’s Golden South Sea pearl earrings, others may opt for a more understated and sophisticated look. A pair of white stud earrings, such as Pearls of Joy’s 8.0 – 8.5 mm Hanadama Akoya earrings delivers that fabulously.

Also, certain pearl sizes can only be found in particular types of cultured pearls. For instance, you may find lovely smaller sized stud earrings in Japanese Akoya pearls, even as small as Pearls of Joy’s 5.5 – 6.0 mm Japanese Akoya pearl earrings. Tahitian or South Sea pearls don’t come in such a small pearl size, however.

On the other hand, you will find larger size stud earrings in South Sea pearls, such as Pearls of Joy’s 14 mm White South Sea pearl earrings, but this size is not available for Akoyas.

Pictures of Pearl Earring Sizes On Ears

Stud earrings with different pearl sizes sit differently on the ears. Below you can see that an 8 mm pearl stud earring looks lovely and understated. However a 11 mm or 13 mm pearl stud earring looks much larger and more eye-catching by comparison.


6-7mm Pearl Earring Size

6.0-7.0mm Pearl Size

This 6.0 – 7.0 mm pearl earring size is one of the smallest pearl sizes to buy. This size makes a great "first pearls" gift for younger girls under 16 years old, or for ladies that prefer a daintier, minimalist earring.  

Price range of 6.0 to 7.0 mm pearl earrings: $149 – $229

Suggested Products:

6.0 – 6.5 mm Japanese Akoya Pearl Earrings

6.5 - 7.0 mm Japanese Akoya Pearl Earrings

6.0 – 7.0 mm White Freshwater Pearl Earrings


7.0-8.0mm Pearl Size

Our most versatile and best-selling pearl earring size, the 7.0 – 8.0 mm pearl stud is practically perfect for the vast majority of women. The 7.5 mm stud earring size has an elegant, understated appeal for women from 18 to 90 years old.


Price range of 7.0 to 8.0mm pearl earrings from $149 to $479

Suggested Products:

7.0 – 7.5 mm White Japanese Akoya Earrings

7.0 – 7.5 mm Top Range Japanese Hanadama Akoya Earrings

7.0 – 8.0 mm White Freshwater Pearl Earrings


7-8mm Pearl Earring Size
8-9mm Pearl Earring Size

8.0-9.0mm Pearl Size

Lustrous and lovely, the 8.0 to 9.0 mm pearl earring size is where the jewelry start to get into luxury territory. Ideal for women in their late twenties and up, this size range is elegant and professional without being extravagant. In the 8.0 - 9.0 mm size range, you'll start to notice higher prices, nearly doubling that of the smaller size ranges. This size range includes larger Akoya and Freshwater pearls, and the smaller-sized Tahitian and South Sea pearl types.


Price range of 8.0 to 9.0 mm pearl earrings: $1,319 to $4,409

Suggested Products:

8.0 - 9.0 mm Black Tahitian Pearl Earrings

8.5 – 9.0 mm Top Range Hanadama Akoya Earrings

8.0 – 9.0 mm Gem Grade White Freshwater Pearl Earrings


9.0 - 10.0mm Pearl Size

One of the largest Akoya pearl sizes is the 9.0 – 10.0 mm size; this also represents the upper range of Freshwater pearls, and the lower range size for Tahitian and South Sea pearls. Ideal for women in their 30-40s and older, or any woman who wants to portray subtle elegance and luxury.


Price range of 9.0 to 10.0mm pearl earrrings: $249 - $879

Suggested Products:

9.0 - 9.5 mm Gem Grade White Freshwater Earrings

9.0 - 9.5 mm Top Range Hanadama Akoya Pearl Earrings

9.0 - 10.0 mm White South Sea Pearl Earrings


9-10mm Pearl Earring Size
10-11mm Pearl Earring Size

10.0 - 11.0 mm Pearl Earring Size

The 10.0 - 11.0 mm pearl earring size is still a mid-size to large pearl size for earrings; this range works for mature women in their 30s and older, or those with luxury tastes. In this pearl size range, Akoya pearls are no longer an option as Akoya pearls only reach 10.0 mm at their very largest. Look for Freshwater, Tahitian and South Sea pearls to choose from in these larger sizes.


Price range of 10.0 to 11.0mm pearl earrings: $320 - $1,199

Suggested Products: 

10.0 - 11.0 mm White Freshwater Pearl Earrings

10.0 - 11.0 mm White South Sea Pearl Earrings

10.0 - 11.0 mm Black Tahitian Pearl Earrings

11.0 - 12.0 mm Pearl Size

The 11.0 - 12.0 mm pearl earring size is definitely luxury pearl earring territory! Large and lustrous, these pearls make a statement that everyone will notice. Choose from White or Golden South Sea pearls, black Tahitian pearls and some Freshwater pearls.


Price range of 11.0 to 12.0mm pearl earrings: $489 - $1,910

Suggested Products: 

11.0 - 12.0 mm Black Tahitian Pearl Earrings

11.0 - 12.0 mm White South Sea Pearl Earrings

11.0 - 12.0 mm White Freshwater Pearl Earrings




11-12mm Pearl Earring Size
12-13mm Pearl Earring Size

12.0 - 13.0mm Pearl Size

Look to White and Golden South Sea pearls and colorful black Tahitians as your main choices in the 12.0 - 13.0 mm pearl earring size. Luxuriously large, these pearls definitely make an elegant statement and are suited for mature women to carry off this look. is definitely luxury pearl earring territory! Large and lustrous, these pearls make a statement that everyone will notice. Choose from White or Golden South Sea pearls, black Tahitian pearls and some Freshwater pearls.


Price range of 12.0 to 13.0mm pearl earrings: $1,029 - $1,910

Suggested Products: 

12.0 - 13.0 mm Black Tahitian Pearl Earrings

12.0 - 13.0 mm White South Sea Pearl Earrings

12.0 - 13.0 mm Golden South Sea Pearl Earrings


Shop Our Most Popular Pearl Earrings

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What Size Pearl Necklace Should You Buy?

The best size for a pearl necklace is 7.0 to 7.5 mm for most occasions. This pearl size is considered the “classic” choice, and it’s a versatile one that can be perfect for many wearers. But you don’t need to stick to the classics!

These days, the hottest trend is layering and creating a “neck-mess” by wearing multiple necklaces in different pearl sizes. For the fashionably adventurous, it can be a fun way to express your personal style.

Just like stud earrings, there are countless pearl sizes available for necklaces that can help achieve this look. From 6.0 mm Akoya necklaces with dainty and radiant pearls to a luscious 17 mm South Sea pearl necklace, there is a huge range of choices available.

Thus, buying from a reputable online pearl jewelry store like Pearls of Joy, where the selection of pearl necklaces is wide and deep, makes creating your own “neck mess” pearl style statement so simple!


Pictures of Popular Pearl Necklace Sizes on Neck

Pearl Necklace Sizes: 6.0-6.5mm

6.0-6.5mm Pearl Size

Some shoppers may want to select pearl sizes by age of the wearer. Smaller pearl sizes are often the best choice for young girls and younger women. But they also work well for anyone who wants an understated look.

This 6.0 – 6.5 mm Akoya pearl necklace size is one of the smallest pearl sizes on offer. This necklace is the perfect choice for special occasions, and would make a great first pearl jewelry present for young girls up to 16 years of age, or as a jeweled accessory for flower girls at a wedding. Women with a minimalist aesthetic also love the dainty look of the 6.5 mm pearl size.

Price range of 6.0 to 6.5mm pearl necklaces: $339 – $439

Suggested Products:

6.0 – 6.5 mm Japanese Akoya White Pearl Necklace

6.0 – 6.5 mm Akoya Pearl Necklace and Earrings Set


6.5-7.0mm Pearl Size

Slightly larger than the 6.0 – 6.5 mm pearl size, the 6.5 – 7.0 mm Akoya size retains an elegantly petite look for those who don’t want their pearls to be too large.

For many women, this size has a lovely presence without being overwhelming. The 7.0 mm size is perfect for young women from 16 to 25 years old, and is often purchased for Birthday and Graduation gifts. Also, this pearl size is perfect as a jewelry gift for bridesmaids at weddings.

Price range of 6.5 to 7.0mm pearl necklaces: $189 - $699

Suggested Products:

6.5 – 7.0 mm Japanese Akoya Pearl Necklace

6.5 – 7.0 mm Akoya Pearl Jewelry Set


Pearl Necklace Sizes: 6.5-7.0mm
Pearl Necklace Sizes: 7.0-7.5mm

7.0-7.5mm Pearl Size

Our best-selling pearl size, the 7.0 – 7.5 mm Akoya pearl necklace hits all the right notes. The 7.5 mm size has an elegant look for women from 18 to 90 years old.

Considered “the standard” when it comes to a classic pearl necklace, the 7.0 – 7.5 mm Akoya pearl necklace is a tried and true classic that you just can’t go wrong with.This is our most popular pearl necklace size and is frequently purchased for Birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Graduations.

Price range of 7.0 to 7.5 mm pearl necklaces: from $729 to $2939

Suggested Products:

7.0 – 7.5 mm Japanese White Akoya Necklace

7.0 – 7.5 mm Top Range Hanadama Akoya



7.5-8.0mm Pearl Size

Level up into some serious elegance with the 7.5 – 8.0 mm pearl necklace. The 8.0 mm pearl size creates an aura of chic sophistication, while still remaining a modestly sized (and modestly priced) classic pearl necklace.

The 7.5 to 8.0 mm pearl necklace is a perfect choice for young women in their mid-20s and up.The 8.0 mm pearl necklace is most often purchased for Christmas, Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Weddings, Anniversaries, Job Promotions and other special occasions.

Price range of 7.5 to 8.0 mm pearl necklaces: $949 to $3669

Suggested Products:

7.5 – 8.0 mm AA+ White Akoya Pearl Necklace

7.5 – 8.0 mm AAA White Akoya Pearl Necklace

7.5 – 8.0 mm Akoya Pearl and Earring Set


Pearl Necklace Sizes: 7.5-8.0mm
Pearl Necklace Sizes: 8.0-8.5mm

8.0-8.5mm Pearl Size

The impressive 8.0 to 8.5 mm Akoya pearl size is the doorway to true luxury pearls. The 8.0 – 8.5 mm pearls are perfect for women in their 30s and up. This size is ideal for anyone looking to exude an air of effortless elegance and grace.  

This is the pearl size where people start really noticing your pearls. Don’t be surprised if your friends start asking you where they can buy their own!

The 8.5 mm Akoya pearls reach the next tier of pricing, and they are generally double that of the smaller 7.5 – 8.0 mm size. These larger sizes require much more time in the water to acquire their thick nacre layers and greater dimensions, so pricing for larger sizes doubles with each half-millimeter increase.

Price range of 8.0 to 8.5 mm pearl necklaces: $1,319 to $4,409

Suggested Products:

8.0 – 8.5 mm AA+ Japanese Akoya Pearl Necklace

8.0 – 8.5 mm Top Range Hanadama Akoya Necklace


8.5-9.0mm Pearl Size

Welcome to the Big League. These large pearls are well suited to women in their mid to late 30s and older, and are perfect for professional and black tie attire.

The 9.0 mm pearl necklace is what we’d call a “power strand,” radiating confidence, sophistication and style. The 8.5 – 9.0 mm size is one of the rarest sizes of Akoya pearls, and our third most popular size of pearl necklaces on offer.

What’s more, 8.5 – 9.0 mm is the ideal pearl size for men who want to make pearls part of their personal style statement. Instantly noticeable, this size creates a striking impression, and works for men who often have a larger frame as compared to women. But it’s not too large and so doesn’t overwhelm their individual style.

Price range of 8.5 to 9.0 mm pearl necklaces: $1,889 to $5,879

Suggested Products:

8.5 – 9.0 mm AA+ White Japanese Akoya Pearl Necklace

8.5 – 9.0 mm Top Range Hanadama Akoya Pearl Necklace


Pearl Necklace Sizes: 8.5-9.0mm
Pearl Necklace Sizes: 9.0-9.5mm

9.0-9.5mm Pearl Size

One of the rarest Akoya pearl sizes is the 9.0 – 9.5 mm size. The 9.5 mm size is ideal for women in their 40s and older, upper management, CEOs and any woman who wants to project an air of elegance and quiet command. Jewelry lovers who know and love their pearls — and are only interested in the best of the best — are naturally attracted to this size.

These pearls have a nice heft to them without being too heavy around the neck. Select the 9.5 mm Akoya pearl necklace for special Anniversaries, milestone Birthdays, Christmas, work promotions, red carpet events and Mother’s Day.

Price range of 9.0 - 9.5 mm pearl necklaces: $3,149 - $4,719

Suggested Products:

9.0 - 9.5 mm AAA Japanese Akoya Pearl Necklace

9.0 - 9.5 mm Top Range Hanadama Pearl Necklace

Pearl Sizes and Necklace Lengths

Different pearl sizes work best with different pearl necklace lengths. A longer necklace, such as the opera (35”) or even the rope (54”) length, looks best with smaller pearl sizes, such as Pearls of Joy’s 6.0 – 6.5 mm opera length Akoya pearl necklace.  

By contrast, larger pearl sizes look perfect on shorter necklace lengths, including both princess (18”) and matinee (24”). Pearls of Joy’s 18” 9.5 -10.0 mm Hanadama Akoya necklace or their 24” 10.0 – 10.5 mm Akoya Pearl necklace have the ideal pearl sizes for these necklace lengths.


Image of various necklace lengths on neck.

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.  

Best Pearl Size For Pendants

For pearl pendants, the best pearl size starts from 8.0 mm through 9.5 mm. This large size suggests glamor and luxury, with a large, lustrous pearl being the focus of the entire jewelry look.


Image showing various pearl sizes on pendant necklaces

Pearls of Joy’s stunning and lustrous Akoya pearl pendants or iridescent Tahitian pearl pendants easily elevates any look from boring to beautiful.

Best Pearl Size for Bracelets

Pearl bracelets are the ultimate arm-candy, and these days are enjoying a well-deserved time in the spotlight. Just like necklaces, the current trend of layering bracelets means that playing around with pearl sizes creates the perfect modern, layered look.


Image showing various pearl sizes on pearl bracelet


But wearing only a single pearl bracelet is still a timeless classic and looks graceful and charming on everyone.

Try layering a 6.0 – 6.5 mm Akoya bracelet with 7.5 – 8.0 mm Hanadama Akoya and 11 – 12 mm South Sea pearl bracelets. Or wear them singly.

We promise, you will fall in love with both looks and all three bracelets!


Understanding Pearl Sizes in Different Pearl Types

Pearls are unique, and one aspect of their uniqueness is the different sizes you can find among different types of pearls. For each cultured pearl type — Akoya, Freshwater, Tahitian or South Sea — there are certain pearl sizes that are very popular among jewelry lovers.


Akoya Pearl Sizes

Sharply lustrous Japanese Akoya pearls are the smallest of all cultured pearls. Starting from miniscule 1 mm seed pearls, all the way to pearls measuring the very rare 10 mm, Akoya pearls come in a range of sizes.

Visualizing some everyday objects to understand different pearl sizes is very helpful, especially when shopping online for pearls. For instance, a #2 pencil is 4.25 mm in diameter, so a 6.0 – 6.5 mm pearl will be slightly larger than a pencil eraser. By contrast, a marble measures about 10.0 mm, so the largest 9.5 mm Akoya pearl earring will be slightly smaller than that.

Generally, buyers tend to prefer Akoya pearl necklaces, pendants, bracelets and stud earrings in mid- to upper-range sizes from 6.0 – 6.5 mm through 9.0 – 9.5 mm.

pearl size chart compared to US Nickel

Freshwater Pearl Sizes

Freshwater pearls, with their silky luster and beautiful pastel colors, come in a range of sizes too, from 2 mm and all the way to 12 mm. Very large Freshwater pearls such as Edison and Soufflé may come in large sizes such as 15 mm or even bigger. Thus, both Freshwater pearl types offer great variety in pearl sizes.

For Freshwater pearls, mid-range sizes, ranging from 6.0 – 7.0 mm to 8.0 – 9.0 mm, are very popular among pearl lovers. These sizes work wonderfully for Freshwater pearl necklaces, bracelets, and as well as earrings.


Freshwater pearl size chart

Shop Our Favorite Freshwater Pearl Jewelry Styles

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Tahitian Pearl Sizes

Dark and mysterious, black Tahitian pearls are a larger type of cultured pearl. These pearls come in sizes that usually start at 8.0 – 9.0 mm through 15 – 16 mm and upwards.

With their dark colors, fascinating and multi-hued overtones and their silky luster, Tahitian pearls are a great choice for those looking for contemporary jewelry with a modern, edgy aesthetic.

The most popular Tahitian pearl sizes are 8.0 – 9.0 mm through 12 – 13 mm, with Tahitian pearl necklaces looking particularly lovely in the 10 - 12 mm size range.


Tahitian pearl size chart

Shop Our Favorite Tahitian Pearls

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South Sea Pearl Sizes

Gloriously beautiful, South Sea pearls, with their satiny white or sunny golden hues, are another larger type of cultured pearl. Both the Golden South Sea pearls as well as the White ones are usually worn in sizes starting at 8.0 – 9.0 mm through 15 – 16 mm.

For perfectly round South Sea pearl stud earrings, 9.0 - 10 mm is a great size: the pearls sit comfortably on the ear lobe, but are still large and make a striking impression.

For a graduated 18” princess-length South Sea pearl necklace, you can't go wrong with a size range of 10 - 12 mm. This is a popular size for jewelry buyers and has a significant oomph factor while still being classy and elegant.

South Sea pearl size chart

Shop Our Most Popular South Sea Pearl Jewelry

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Pearl Sizes – What Really Works For You

In the end, pearl size is really about your personal style and preferences as well as what looks good on you. Making different pearl sizes work for you, through layering or by wearing them at different occasions and in different settings, is a great idea.

Or, you can go for a timeless and classic size, which is both versatile and never goes out of style.

At Pearls of Joy you will find gorgeous pearls in a wide variety of sizes. All that remains for you then, is to look for YOUR perfect pearl — and wear it.

The Perfect Strand of Black Pearls

Fine Black Tahitian Pearls

Exotic Black Pearls Without The 10x Markup?...

...Is it possible?

Our direct-to-consumer business model means the same quality as the big luxury brands, but a fraction of the cost.  

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