Guide to Pearl Sizes

Pearl Sizes 101 - What Size of Pearl to buy?

A big question many pearl shoppers have is: What is the best pearl size to buy? We get it. Buying pearls online can be tricky … especially when you are not familiar with pearl sizing terminology.

This handy Pearl Size Guide will walk you through each major pearl type’s size range so you know what to expect. Also included is a helpful series of pictures of all our most popular Akoya pearl necklace sizes worn on a model. These images will help you determine which pearl necklace size is right for you.

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

Comparing Pearl Sizes

Cultured pearls are measured in millimeters. Akoya pearls are measured in half-millimeter sizes … Akoya pearl necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pendants will feature sizes like 6.0 - 6.5 mm, 6.5 – 7.0 mm, 7.0 – 7.5 mm and so on.

Tahitian, South Sea and Freshwater pearls are all measured in whole-millimeter increments. Earrings, pendants, rings will feature size listings like 10.0 – 11.0 mm, 11.0 – 12.0 mm, 12.0 – 13.0 mm and the like.

The image below shows the most popular Akoya pearl necklace sizes together in one place to give you an idea of how each half-millimeter size increase impacts the overall look of each pearl necklace size - and price.

As you can see, a half-millimeter increase doesn’t sound like a lot at first, but that extra volume can really add up. Each increase in size generally translates to about a 15-20% jump in size.

Comparing Pearl Sizes to US Nickel

Akoya Pearl Sizes

Akoya pearls are one of the smallest cultured pearl types and can range in size from tiny 1.0 mm seed pearls up through 9.5 mm, and rarely 10.0 mm at their largest. The most popular and common sizes are 6.0 – 6.5 mm up through 9.0 – 9.5 mm.

Other items that can be used to help visualize pearl sizes are a #2 pencil, which is 4.25 mm in diameter, so a 6.0 – 6.5 mm pearl will be slightly larger than a pencil eraser. A marble measures about 10.0 mm, so the largest 9.5 mm Akoya pearl earring will be slightly smaller than that.

The most popular Akoya pearl sizes for necklaces, bracelets and earrings are generally 6.5 - 7.0 mm, 7.0 – 7.5 mm and up through 8.0 – 8.5 mm.

Akoya Pearl Sizes Compared to US Nickel

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.  

Freshwater Pearl Sizes

Freshwater pearls are also a smaller size pearl type, but these pearls can get a bit bigger than the Akoya. The typical Freshwater pearl sizes range from small 2.0 mm seed pearls up through 11.0 – 12.0 mm, and even larger. For some of the newer Freshwater pearl types like the Edison or Souffle pearls, pearl sizes regularly reach 15.0 – 16.0 mm and even bigger than that.

The most popular Freshwater pearl sizes for necklaces, bracelets and earrings are generally 6.0 - 7.0 mm, 7.0 – 8.0 mm and 8.0 – 9.0mm.

Shop Our Favorite Freshwater Pearl Jewelry Styles

Tahitian Pearl Sizes

Tahitian pearls are one of the largest cultured pearl types available. Average pearl sizes range from 8.0 – 9.0 mm through 15.0 – 16.0 mm and sometimes larger.

The most popular pearl sizes range from 8.0 – 9.0 mm through 12.0 – 13.0mm especially for Tahitian pearl earrings, pendants and rings.

Tahitian Pearl Sizes

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.  

South Sea Pearl Sizes

White and Golden South Sea pearls are the largest cultured pearls in the world. Pearls range from 8.0 – 9.0 mm up through 16.0 – 17.0 mm, with some giants reaching up to 21 mm!

The most popular South Sea pearl pendant and earring sizes are 9.0 – 10.0 mm, 10.0 – 11.0 mm, 11.0 – 12.0 mm, 12.0 – 13.0 mm and 13.0 – 14.0 mm.

South Sea Pearl Sizes

Shop Our Most Popular South Sea Pearl Jewelry

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Popular Pearl Necklace Sizes on Model

View our most popular pearl necklace sizes modeled for you:

Pearl Necklace Sizes: 6.0-6.5mm

6.0-6.5mm Pearl Size

The 6 – 6.5 mm pearl necklace size is the smallest pearl size on offer. These pearls are the perfect choice for special occasions like first pearls presents for young girls up to 16 years of age. Petite women or those with a minimalist aesthetic also enjoy the diminutive aspects of the 6.5 mm pearl size.

Price Range: $299 - $850

Suggested Products

*Currently Unavailable

6.5-7.0mm Pearl Size

A slightly larger step up from the 6.5 mm pearl size, the 6.5 – 7.0 mm Akoya and Freshwater pearls retain a dainty look for those who don’t want their pearls to be too large.

The 6.5 - 7.0 mm size has a touch more presence without being overwhelming. The 7.0 mm size is perfect for young ladies from 16 to 25 years old, and is often purchased for Birthday and Graduation gifts.

Price Range: $370 - $1,100

Suggested Products:

Freshwater Necklace and Earring Set: 6.5 - 7.0mm

Akoya Pearl Necklace: 6.5 - 7.0mm

Akoya Pearl Jewelry Set: 6.5 - 7.0mm

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 and presence for young ladies and 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 and is most frequently purchased for Birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Graduations.

Price Range: $720 - $4,000

Suggested Products

Akoya Pearl Necklace: 7.0 - 7.5mm

Hanadama Akoya Necklace: 7.0 - 7.5mm

Akoya Pearl Jewelry Set: 7.0 - 7.5mm

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 class and grace, while still remaining a modestly sized (and modestly priced) classic pearl necklace.

The 7.5 – 8.0 mm pearl necklace is a perfect choice for adult 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 and other special occasions.  

Price Range: $1,050 - $5,400

Suggested Products

Gem Grade Freshwater Pearl Necklace: 7.5 - 8.0mm

Hanadama Akoya Necklace: 7.5 - 8.0mm

Akoya Pearl Necklace: 7.5 - 8.0mm

Pearl Necklace Sizes: 7.5-8.0mm

Pearl Necklace Sizes: 8.0-8.5mm

8.0-8.5mm Pearl Size

The impressive 8.0 – 8.5 mm Akoya pearl size is the doorway to true luxury pearls. The 8.5 mm Akoya pearls reach the next tier of pricing and generally are 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 large sizes, so pricing for larger sizes double with each half-millimeter increase.

The 8.0 – 8.5 mm pearls are perfect for adult women in their 30s and up … professionals and women looking to exude an air of elegance and grace are ideal wearers for this size. The 8.5 mm pearls are a perfect gift for Christmas, Anniversaries, Mother’s Day and Birthdays among other milestone events in her life.

Price Range: $1,399 - $7,500

Suggested Products

Akoya Pearl Earrings: 8.0 - 8.5mm

Hanadama Akoya Necklace: 8.0 - 8.5mm

Akoya Pearl Necklace: 8.0 - 8.5mm

8.5-9.0mm Pearl Size

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

The large pearls are well suited to women in their mid to late 30s and older, and are perfect for professional and black tie attire. These pearls are sophistication itself and an ideal choice for Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas, Mother’s Day and other special occasions.

Price Range: $1,699 - $8,000

Suggested Products

Gem Grade Freshwater Pearl Necklace: 8.5 - 9.0mm

Akoya Pearl Necklace: 8.5 - 9.0mm

Hanadama Pearl Necklace: 8.5 - 9.0mm

Pearl Necklace Sizes: 8.5-9.0mm

Pearl Necklace Sizes: 9.0-9.5mm

9.0-9.5mm Pearl Size

The rarest Akoya pearl size is the 9.0 – 9.5 mm size … this is the largest size that the Akoya pearl oyster produces. These stunning pearls are for women who know and love their pearls, and are only interested in the best of the best.

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. These pearls have a nice heft to them without being too heavy around the neck, and while they are in the larger size brackets, these pearls are not overwhelming in the “politician’s pearls” sense. Select the 9.5 mm Akoya pearl necklace for special Anniversaries, milestone Birthdays, Christmas and Mother’s Day.

Price Range: $2,599 - $12,000

Suggested Products

Akoya Pearl Earrings: 9.0 - 9.5mm

Akoya Pearl Necklace: 9.0 - 9.5mm

Hanadama Pearl Necklace: 9.0 - 9.5mm

Graduated vs Non-Graduated Pearl Necklaces

Pearl necklaces are either “graduated” or “non-graduated”.

The graduation rate measures the increase in size of the pearls from the smallest sizes near the clasp to the largest pearls in the center.

Most “classic” Akoya and Freshwater pearl necklaces are “Non-Graduated”. This means that the pearls have no more than 1.0 mm size difference throughout the entire strand. So you’ll see measurements listed for the strands that look like 6.0 – 6.5 mm or 6.0 – 7.0 mm and the like. Graduated Akoya and Freshwater pearl necklaces are still available, but typically that is something that would need to be created by hand.

Non-Graduated Pearl Necklaces

Graduated pearl necklaces like Tahitian and South Sea pearl necklaces, feature a graduation rate that can vary from 2.0 – 3.0 mm in size from the smallest pearls near the clasp to the largest pearls in the center. That is the average, there are many different variations within the “Graduated” pearl necklace category. Typical South Sea and Tahitian pearl necklace measurements will read something like 8.6 – 10.9 mm or 11.2 – 13.8 mm, for example.

Non-Graduated Tahitian and South Sea pearl necklaces exist, however they are much more expensive. The reason for that is that a Non-Graduated South Sea or Tahitian pearl necklace can take many years to create as farmers and sorters need to perfectly match pearls within a 1.0 mm sizes range for body color, overtone, luster, orient and surface quality in order to complete the strand.

Graduated Pearl Necklace Sizes

Browse Tahitian Pearl Necklace Collections

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