Possibly the most loved gems of all time, both modern cultured and natural pearls occur in a wide range of colors, sizes, shapes, and also the types of pearls like freshwater pearl and seawater pearl. The most typical colors are white and cream. There is also gray, black, and silver which also happens to be somewhat familiar, but the orbit of pearl colors widens to every hue. Pearl’s main body color is often varied by additional colors known as overtones, and also called rosé, green, blue or purple. Specific pearls also show an unusual phenomenon called Orient.
Pearl types as used in jewelry include freshwater, Akoya, and south sea (also known as white, golden and Tahitian). Every kind of pearl is formed from different species of oyster, and they can be varied regarding size and shape because these oysters live in different regions and under specific climatic conditions of the world.
The size of pearls is measured by diameter (millimeter). There are tiny seed pearls which are smaller than 1mm, while there is are south sea pearls which are up to 20mm. If every other quality factors remain the same, the pearl size determines its value. With an only 1mm increase in the size of the pearl, there will be a substantial increase in both its appearance as well as cost. The significance of a pearl’s size to its ultimate value is based on the type of pearl. For a high-quality pearl with large size than usual, it will be of much value than the same kind of pearls but smaller size.
The shape of a pearl is one of the essential factors used to determine its quality as well as value. Round/near-round pearls are considered more valuable because they are rare. The symmetrical shapes are also more desirable than the baroque forms. Nevertheless, baroque can be unique hence increasing its desirability more than expected based on just the shape alone. A perfect- round pearl is the rarest. The value of a pearl rises with how rounder the pearl is, the more rounder, the more valuable it is.
These are the common pearl shapes:
- Semi-Baroque: these are the pearls that have slightly irregular shape.
- Baroque: it is both uneven and non-symmetrical in shape.
- Button: these are flattened to some extent, so they look like a button.
- Drop: a drop shaped pearl is pear-shaped or teardrop-shaped. It’s either “long” or “short” depending on the equilibrium.
- Oval: oval pearls are oval-shaped. They are narrower at the ends than they are at the center.
- Semi-round: they are semi-round, almost same as near round.
- Near-round: these are not perfectly round, but they are slightly elongated and flattened instead of being a perfect sphere.
- Round: round pearls are perfectly spherical.
Pearls are the unique of all gemstones because they are natural and are organic products of living creatures, which gives them different grading standards. However, seven factors help to determine the value, quality, and beauty of a pearl, these are:
- Surface quality
- Nacre quality
The ultimate quality and size of a pearl may vary due to several variables, for instance:
- Size and health of the mollusk producing the pearl,
- Size of the nucleus and the time the mollusk spent while underwater adding layers of nacre to make the pearl.
- Climatic and nutrients conditions of the environment where mollusk’s growth is taking place.
Refined or cultured pearls are known to be used for bead bracelets and necklaces or adorned in solitaires or clusters for use in the decoration of earrings, pendants, and rings. Gems that are larger and have unusual shapes are always used by creative jewelry designers to build something stylish and magnificent.