1. Choosing Pearl Diameter
As pearl diameter size is considered one of the primary factors contributing to overall pearl value, slight increases or decreases in pearl diameter often dramatically impact the overall cost of the jewelry piece.
This is particularly true with pearls that are harvested from small mollusks/oysters such as the Akoya pearl, which is harvested from the world’s smallest pearl producing mollusk.
Akoya Pearls: Akoya Saltwater Pearls are most commonly available in sizes from 5.5mm to 7.5mm. Akoya pearls can be as large as 10mm, but sizes that large are very rare and costly.
The most popular size for Akoya Saltwater Pearls is 7.0-7.5mm, which are suitable for dress, casual and business attire. The second most popular size, likely for their affordable price is 6.5-7.0mm. Those with a larger budget and a taste for bigger pearls often chose 7.5-8.0mm and 8.0-8.5mm pearls. We also offer 8.5-9.0mm and 9.0-9.5mm Akoya Pearls for those who really want to make a statement.
Freshwater Pearls: Freshwater pearls are available in a very wide range of sizes, from 2mm "micro" pearls to more than 10mm in diameter. The most popular size in our experience is between 7 and 9mm. Freshwater pearls are also more affordable than any other pearl type because of large supplies. Do not let this bound your opinion on their value, however, as Freshwater pearls are very beautiful and in some cases rival Saltwater pearls for luster and overall appearance.
Tahitian & South Sea Pearls: These pearls are famous for their large sizes. They are also very costly due to their rarity and the difficult culturing process.
2. Choosing Pearl Color & Overtone
Appreciation for pearl color and overtones, as with beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. While the choice of pearl color should be based purely on the personal taste of the customer, it is helpful to have a general understanding of the elements that constitute pearl color before making a decision to purchase.
In general terms, pearl color refers to the following three elements:
Body Color: The body color is the primary color of the pearl. Depending on the type of pearl (Akoya, Freshwater, Tahitian etc.), the body color of pearls could range from white to black with many variations in between.
Overtone Color: Overtones are a subtle, secondary hue that can be seen in the luster of the pearl. They are sort of an accent to the body color of the pearl and, unless very strong, are best seen when the pearls are compared to a solid white background.
The most popular overtone color for Akoya Saltwater pearls is rosé, which complements the widest range of skin tones. Other overtones include ivory, silver, and green on white pearls and emearld, blue and others on black pearls.
Orient: A very rare color component of some types of pearls normally found on baroque or irregular shaped pearl surfaces, orient color will appear as an iridescent or rainbow-like coloring that will reflect upon the surface of the pearl as light shimmers across the surface.