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What are the Best Pearl Necklaces

The Best Pearl Necklaces

When you close your eyes and imagine the best pearl necklace to buy and wear, what do you see? Is it a classic pearl necklace like the white, perfectly matched Akoya? Is it a one of a kind, unique pearl necklace like exotic Tahitian pearls? A chic, modern pearl necklace from a couture designer, or a trendy pearl necklace like a Chanel pearl and diamond rope? The choices are almost endless!

 


So what are the best pearl necklaces to buy? From classic strands to pearl pendants, elegant chokers, extravagant pearl strands from Mikimoto or Tiffany’s to more cutting-edge, on-trend designer pearls paired with chains and charms, let’s explore some of the best pearl necklaces to buy online.

 

The Classic White Pearl Necklace

Best Classic Pearl Necklaces

 

The pearl necklace is one of the oldest, most treasured and coveted items of jewelry known to humanity. And the most well-known, most popular pearl necklace is the simple, classic white pearl necklace, either graduated or non-graduated in style.

The hallmarks of a classic white pearl necklace will be its moderate size ranges, white pearl types of either Japanese Akoya or Chinese Freshwater pearls, and its versatile length around the neck, usually anywhere from 16 to 20-inches.

There are countless vendors from whom you could buy a classic strand of pearls. One of the most famous is of course Mikimoto, which is one of the oldest cultured pearl brand names around. Kokichi Mikimoto, the founder of the Mikimoto Pearl Company made his mark and reputation as being the first company to offer cultured Akoya pearl jewelry which dazzled the world, and finally made owning a single pearl necklace affordable to almost anyone.

 

The Mikimoto Pearl Company undoubtedly offers some of the most lustrous classic pearl necklaces in the world … if you’re willing to fork over the luxury prices. Their white Akoya pearl necklace ranges from $5,500 for their lowest quality to a staggering $13,000 for their highest quality, A+ Akoya pearls. Starting at $5,500

 

 

The reasons why Mikimoto pearls are so expensive are varied, but it boils down to large amounts of overhead spent to host retail locations worldwide, large sums of money spent to create their luxury couture collections - meant to boost brand recognition - and large expenditures for luxury advertisements around the world. It all adds up to a serious markup on the pearls you’re about to buy.

The good news is: you don’t have to shell out thirteen grand to own a high quality Japanese pearl necklace.

There are other vendors online specializing in pearls and who purchase their Akoya from the same pearl farmers that Mikimoto’s does without the high markups.

Specialty retailers like Pearls of Joy routinely offer equivalent Akoya strands in size and quality that can save you over half the price of the Mikimoto pearls.

 


 

Certified Hanadama Akoya pearls are extremely similar to Mikimoto’s A+ quality pearls in terms of surface quality, nacre thickness and luster. These gems are sourced from the very top 1-3% of each Akoya pearl harvest each year, and are set aside as the very cream of the crop. Each strand is sent to the prestigious Pearl Science Laboratory of Tokyo, Japan for quality testing and then certified as “Hanadama” pearls. Each Hanadama necklace, bracelet or pair of pearl earrings certified by this gemological institute comes with its own individually numbered certificate guaranteeing minimum nacre thickness, sparkling luster and clean surfaces. Starting at $2,099

 


Shop Our Most Popular Hanadama Akoya Necklaces


 

Pearls of Joy offers both AA+ and AAA quality pearls that are sure to dazzle you with their mirror-like luster and perfect matching. Our most popular Akoya necklaces will run anywhere from $500 to $1,000 depending on the pearls’ size and quality.

Both qualities will provide you with pearls from the top 10% of each harvest, perfectly matched with high levels of luster and minimal surface blemishing. Starting at $420

 


Shop Our Favorite Akoya Pearl Strands


Close Up of White Freshwater Pearl Necklace

 

One last option in this category are high quality white Freshwater pearl strands from China. Chinese Freshwater pearls are farmed in freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers throughout China. They are known for their versatile range of sizes, softly glowing luster, slightly off-round to ovalish shapes and lower price ranges to suit shoppers of all budgets and tastes. Starting at $189

The savings on these particular pearls is significant - anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands.

One point to take particular note of when buying a Freshwater pearl necklace is to make sure to purchase the highest quality pearls you can afford in order to ensure that the pearls are as round to the eye and blemish-free as possible.

 


Shop Our Favorite Freshwater Necklaces


The Showstopper Pearl Necklace

These pearls are usually one-of-a-kind, magnificent creations - dazzling pearls that are either very large in size, or combine pearls with colorful precious gems and diamonds. Some of the most well-known and respected Jewellery Houses such as Mikimoto, Tiffany, Assael and Yoko London are responsible for keeping these couture designs in front of the public’s eyes.

Price ranges for these pearls begin around $20,000 for single-strand White or Golden South Sea pearl necklaces, and can easily reach into the hundreds of thousands or even into the millions for more elaborate treasures. The best pearl necklaces in this category will feature meticulous gold and silk knotting work, a high quality, solid gold clasp, clean pearl surfaces and most of all: AMAZING luster.

 

White South Sea Pearl Necklace by Pearls of Joy

When it comes to buying a pearl necklace as magnificent as the White South Sea pearl necklace above, there are only a handful of specialty jewelers or estate jewelers that you can reliably and safely buy from. We do NOT recommend rolling the dice on eBay for pearls of this caliber! This treasure from the sea will certainly turn heads everywhere you go. $69,000

 

White South Sea Pearl and Diamond Whisper Necklace in 18K White Gold by Yoko London

The Whisper Necklace from Yoko London’s High Jewellery Collection above is a stunning example of how incredible and unique luxury couture design can be.

Price upon request

Praise to the Sea Mikimoto Triple Strand Pearl Rope Necklace with Opal, Diamond and Sapphire Center

Mikimoto Pearl Company also shines in this category, releasing their own uniquely themed High Jewelry Collection each year. For 2023, the theme is “High Praise to the Sea”; much of this collection features ultra-fine saltwater Akoya pearls, diamonds and precious gemstones in hues of blue, green and purple. The necklace above doesn’t even have a price tag yet, but we bet it will end up being over a million when all is said and done!

Price Upon Request

Now that we’re done oohing and aahhing over Yoko London and Mikimoto’s couture designs (and honestly we could talk about them almost all day!), the truth is that the vast majority of pearl jewelry buyers are not going to be in the market for something as extravagant as this. For starters, where would you even wear it??

Most buyers looking for the best pearl necklace in the “Showstopper” category really are looking for large, luxury pearls - usually without all the extras that make the jewelry only wearable during Red Carpet or Black Tie events … Pearls are meant to be worn as often as possible, not stored away only to be seen once every few years at just the right event!

If you are looking for a luxuriously large, show stopping strand of pearls, this means looking at South Sea pearls. The best place to find a well-priced, high quality strand of South Sea pearls is at a specialty retailer with years of experience in evaluating and selecting gems for their inventory.

While Pearls of Joy does not offer the ostentatious pearl and diamond couture of Mikimoto, our founder and CEO Kevin Canning travels to pearl farms and auctions around the world each year selecting from the very finest pearls he can find, starting in the low thousands, not pie-in-the-sky money.

 


Shop Our Most Loved South Sea Pearl Necklaces


The Best Pearl Choker Necklaces

The pearl choker necklace is a timeless piece of pearl jewelry. It sits higher up on the neck, and can range from 14 - 16 inches in length. Some pearl chokers wrap tightly around the neck, while others are meant to curve gently over the top of the collarbone, just above the hollow of the throat. As with other types of necklaces, it can be composed of a single strand, or multiple strands for a regal appeal.

 

 

The choker pearl necklace is a well-loved and time-honored piece of pearl jewelry - its popularity stretches back to the 1940s through the 1960s, and is still worn today albeit much less frequently due to changing fashion trends.

For this reason, finding an elaborate genuine pearl choker necklace accented with fine diamonds or gemstones is actually more difficult than you’d think, and often the best choices can only be purchased from auction houses like 1st Dibs, or from estate jewelers specializing in pearl jewelry.

Chokers are best paired with dresses or blouses sporting high necklines, boat neck necklines and under blazers with plunging necklines that can display the pearls high around the neck prominently. Below are a few of the best pearl choker necklaces we have found online.

 

Triple Strand Pearl and Diamond Choker in White Gold

This stunning triple-strand pearl choker by designer jewelry house Yoko London features saltwater Akoya pearls and a triple-strand diamond clasp made of 18K gold. We love that this pearl and diamond necklace is a mirror-image of the elegant vintage triple-strand chokers worn in days gone by. $8,000

 

 

Cute and whimsical, but with a modern edge, this pearl choker is almost classic except for the modern cluster of cultured pearls meant to be shown off along the edge as an accent. This subtly graduated choker lies exactly as a 16-inch pearl choker should: gently across the collarbones, over the hollow of the throat. $4,500

 

 

Overall, we think that the single-strand 16-inch choker pearl necklace really nails it in terms of simple elegance, versatility and aesthetic. There are many different vendors from which to purchase this necklace - Tiffany & Company or Mikimoto come to mind first - but we feel that the low prices, extensive selection and high quality of the cultured pearls offered at Pearls of Joy should make it your number one choice!

Choose from Japanese Akoya pearls or cultured Freshwater pearl chokers, a range of sizes from dainty 6.0 - 6.5 mm up through luxurious 9.0 - 9.5 mm and various pearl qualities to customize your pearls to your preferences and budget. Starting at $420

 


The Best Pearl Tin Cup Necklaces

 

A pearl Tin Cup necklace - also known as a Station-Style necklace - features single pearls “stationed” at regular intervals on a metal chain and wire-wrapped into place. Simplicity itself, a good Tin Cup necklace is light, dainty and understated while still adding a classy touch of glamor to any occasion.

The Tin Cup got its name from the movie “Tin Cup” starring Rene Russo and Kevin Costner where she was featured wearing the pearls in nearly every scene, and immediately created a splash with moviegoers and jewelry lovers alike.

We love the simplicity and versatility of the Tin Cup necklace which is truly a wear-anywhere item! After scouring the web, here are some of the best Tin Cup necklaces we’ve found.

 

We love the bold, curvy links of gold in this Tin Cup necklace. This Tin Cup flows beautifully with gently twisted, large links of Stainless Steel plated over with 18K gold; seven 8.0 mm white pearls are nicely capped and stationed into place creating a luxurious look.

It’s impossible to tell whether the pearls are genuine Freshwater pearls or not … the use of Stainless Steel, plated with 18K gold has us leaning towards yes, but this Tin Cup is definitely not “fine jewelry”! Still, we love this design, and at $406 it easily qualifies as one of the “best pearl necklaces” to buy. $406

 

Sleek, sexy and a little bit artsy, this long pearl necklace features off-round White South Sea pearls augmented with 18K white gold beads and South Sea keshi pearls. There’s something to keep your eye moving no matter what part of the necklace you’re looking at, making this Tin Cup fun for you and anyone else who sees you wearing it. Using baroque pearls, Yana Nesper has designed a unique, modern take on the simple Tin Cup necklace. $13,200

 

For those looking for something a little less ornate, this sweet, simple Tin Cup necklace from Pearls of Joy is just what the doctor ordered. Composed of AAA quality Japanese Akoya pearls and a solid 14K gold chain, this necklace can be worn anywhere and look fashionable, elegant and not ostentatious. A classic in every way, and a must have for every jewelry box! Starting at $510

 

The Best Pearl Pendant Necklaces

 

Who doesn’t love a pearl pendant?

Nobody, that’s who!

Pearl pendant necklaces can be simple or ornate, minimalist solitaires or blazing with diamond and gemstone accents. They can be made with any pearl type or color, and in any size you can think of - from the smallest pearl sizes to large South Sea pearl types.

 

 

The delicate twisting spiral balancing a single Akoya pearl on its trough embodies the endless tides of the ocean. The pendant is anchored to an 18K gold chain with a single bezel-set diamond accent offset on the side of the chain. We love how beautiful yet minimalist in design this pearl pendant necklace is, while still packing a huge visual punch. $1,230

 

 

Yoko London has fast become one of the pearl world’s preeminent jewelry houses among those in the pearl industry, with good reason! Their incredibly innovative and ornate High Jewelry Collections never fail to inspire both awe and envy. While their most famous pearl pieces feature oodles of pearls of all colors, sparkling diamonds and gemstones, their pearl pendants are studies in modern elegance. The Starlight Collection pendants feature a perfectly round White South Sea pearl with your choice of a pear-shape or emerald-cut diamond hung by a separate gold chain above. $4,000

 

 

This elegant and timeless pearl and diamond pendant is one of those wear-anywhere-and-everywhere designs. The simplicity of a single Japanese Akoya pearl combined with the bezel-set diamond accent is not overwhelming and has just the right amount of sparkle so it’s not ostentatious yet still has an uncomplicated grace and style about it. Starting at $439

 

The Best Trendy Pearl Necklaces

 

You know it when you see it: the hot, trendy pearl necklace that everyone has to have. From layered pearl ropes to faux strands from Chanel to fun, unique designs that are guaranteed to add a dash of sugar and spice to your look.

 

Models and celebrities have been wearing it everywhere lately: the faux triple-strand Bas Relief Pearl Choker by designer Vivienne Westwood easily tops our list of Trendy Pearl Necklaces. Each graduated faux pearl necklace is strung to one of Westwood’s signature Orb charms, which is cast in Brass and rhodium plated and set with crystal embellishments. $595

 

 

Any fan of fashion knows the name Chanel. For those who don’t know, CoCo Chanel is an extremely famous fashion designer with a penchant for pearls, which she always considered to be the epitome of sophisticated grace. Her namesake company creates the famous Chanel long pearl necklace strung with the branded double “C” logo accented with Swarovski crystals and Strass dark gold embellishments. Wear it alone or layer it with real cultured pearl strands and pendants for the “It Girl” look. $2,950

 

This classic opera length white Freshwater pearl rope necklace is the Queen of Trendy Pearls. Wear it alone, wrap it double around your neck, or layer it a la Chanel with other strands of pearls, chains or pendants for that trendy layered look. This cultured pearl necklace is versatile and perfect for layering or wearing all by itself as the perfect finishing touch to almost any outfit. Starting at just $439

 

And that’s it for our list of Best Pearl Necklaces! From timeless pearl chokers to long, trendy strands, extravagant showstoppers and pretty pearl pendants we’ve covered the basics and then some!

The only question left is: which one is your “best pearl necklace”?

 

The Perfect Strand of Pearls

Fine Japanese Hanadama Pearls

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


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


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