Your One-Stop Guide on Pearl Jewelry

pearl jewelry

Pearls are such a popular choice for jewelry making and one of our favorites here at TTT Jewelry. We supply an extensive range of pearl jewelry with an array of different types and styles. In this article, we distinguish between the different types of pearls and answer all your questions about working with them.

Timeless Pearls

People have been fascinated by the natural allure of pearls. Characterized by their magnificent luster and sumptuous colors, pearls are considered to be one of nature’s most glorious treasures. 

Pearls used to be reserved by royalty only and have been among the most coveted and sought-after gems worldwide. Nowadays, pearl jewelry is as popular as ever, showing that classic beauty and allure are timeless.

Different Types of Pearls 

A. Natural Pearls

Natural pearls are organically formed when irritants accidentally find themselves inside the oyster’s mantle tissue muscle. The irritants activate the oysters to produce nacre that finally develop into pearls. 

Making a strand of pearls takes over 100 thousand deep-sea-living mollusks. And, it’s scarce to find natural pearls due to ocean pollution, sea predators, oyster divers, etc., which result in the premature deaths of the creatures. Therefore,  natural pearls are rare, feature high value, and are not affordable to most people.

A natural pearl in the shell

B. Cultured Pearls

A cultured pearl is a genuine pearl, produced by an oyster or mollusk but with human assistance. As in nature, the creature will coat the nucleus with nacre, creating a beautiful pearl. Most of the pearls on the market today are cultured pearls that are more abundant and affordable.

Presently, 4 types of cultured pearls are commonly used in jewelry making: Freshwater pearls, Akoya, South Sea, and Tahitian. Each type of pearl is defined by its unique beauty and characteristics.  

A pearl necklace lying on the wood

1. Freshwater Pearls

TTT's fresh water pearl necklace

Source: Pearl Necklace

Freshwater pearls are the most popular ones among consumers and jewelry designers. Produced the most widely in the marketplace, they are at the most affordable price, $30 at least, which is much lower than Akoya’s, while freshwater pearls look similar to Akoya. 

Besides, these pearls come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. The most valuable Freshwater pearls are closely in true round shapes, meanwhile, free-form Baroque and symmetrical shapes are also widely available. White, pink, peach, and lavender are the most typical shades of freshwater pearls. 

In terms of the sizes, they range in size from 2-3 mm to 11-12 mm or even 14-15mm! Over 90% of Freshwater pearls are generally cultured in China’s Freshwater lakes and man-made aquaculture farms.

2. Akoya

Akoya jewelry on a hand

Source: Istockphoto

Renowned for its incredible mirror-like luster and perfectly round shape, the Akoya is the perfect option for jewelry, especially pearl strand necklaces. In addition, Akoya is one of the most sought-after pearls that every woman desires to have in her jewelry box.

These elegant pearls are in soft white or cream colors, with luminous overtones of silver, cream, or pink. Many people regarded Akoya as the classic example of the definitive white pearl. 

With sizes ranging from 2-3 mm to the very rare 9-9.5 mm, Akoya’s prices range from $75 to the high thousands depending on the jewelry types, sizes, and pearl quality.

3. South Sea

South Sea pearls scattered on the white background

Source: Istockphoto

These saltwater pearls are cultured from the rare white-lipped Pinctada maxima oyster, which is mainly found in Australia. Because of their sensitive growing conditions and extended cultivation period, they are rare and expensive. Generally, these pearls are applied in high-end jewelry.

The average size ranges from 8-9 mm up to 20 mm, and sizes over 15mm are rare and expensive. Luxurious and perfectly round South Sea pearls are in an array of gorgeous colors, including white, cream, champagne, yellow, and gold. Based on the pearl quality, jewelry types, and sizes, South Sea is at least $200.

4. Tahitian

Tahitian pearls on a pink shell

Source: Istockphoto

Tahitian pearls, sometimes called blacked pearls, are often for bold and glamorous jewelry designs. They range in average sizes from 9-10 mm to 12-13 mm and sizes over 15.0mm, which are rare. 

Tahitian come in exotic black and gray colors with gorgeous iridescent overtones of blue, green, purple, silver, and brown. The prices of Tahitian range from $80 to the high thousands. 

These magnificent pearls are formed from the black lip oysters, which are majorly found in Tahiti and French Polynesia. 

C. Imitation Pearls

Imitation or fake pearls are man-made beads that are made from plastic, glass, and alabaster or actual mollusk shells with pearly coating offering appearances similar to the real pearls. 

Which is the Better Type of Pearl?

From a practical perspective, there is no difference between natural and cultured pearls. They are identical in appearance and composition, with the only difference being in their origin and price.

Different Shapes of Pearls 

A pearl’s shape is one of the major Value Factors to consider when evaluating and pricing pearls and is one of the more important aspects of the pearl’s value. 

1. Round / True Round Pearls

As the rarest and most valuable of all pearl shapes, Round Pearls such as Japanese Akoya pearls are famous for their perfectly round shapes and are called “Eight Way Rollers”. 

2. Near Round / Off Round Pearls

Pearls that feature slight to definite deviations from true spherical shape are called “off-round” or near-round pearls. They appear round-ish to the eye but with substantially lower price points than true round pearls.

3. Button Shape Pearls

Featuring a flattened to slightly curved bottom with a domed top, button-shaped pearls can give an attractive twist to the classic pearl earring stud as they can also easily be worn as a pearl choker necklace.

4. Drop Shape Pearls

As the second-rarest pearl shape. Drop-Shape pearls are symmetrically shaped pearls ranging from romantic tear-drop shapes to ovals, adding an artistic flair and whimsy to any jewelry design, especially baroque pearl earrings and pearl pendants.

5. Baroque Pearls

As the most common pearl shape, Baroque pearls feature an irregular shape and are very unique. Baroque pearl necklaces offer a fantastic opportunity to own a one-of-a-kind Tahitian Pearl Necklace, South Sea, or Akoya pearl necklace at a fraction of the cost of the true round necklace.

6. Circled Baroque Pearls

Circled Baroque pearls are pearls that are Baroque but feature one or more circles on them, with high concentrations of color banding and luster.  Originally promoted with Tahitian pearls, Circled Baroque pearls can also be found in the South Sea and Freshwater pearl types.

7. Free form Baroque Pearls

Extremely unique and highly asymmetrical-shaped pearls, each one is a one-of-a-kind creation, featuring a “watered silk” texturized surface that is quite appealing. Free-form Baroque pearls can be found in every pearl type, from exotic Tahitians to Akoya pearls and colorful Freshwater pearls.

Baroque Pearls are Further Classified by Their Shapes

1. Twin Pearls

These are two pearls that have fused to form one. Twin pearls can be symmetrical or mismatched, and they are favored among jewelers for crafting pearl earrings.

2. Coin Pearls

Characterized by their flat, round shapes, high luster, and smooth, reflective surfaces, coin pearls are used from necklaces to bracelets, to earrings and beyond.

3. Rice Pearls

Resembling a small grain of rice, these colorful pearls range in shape from round to oval and are smooth and lustrous.

4. Egg Pearls

Resembling the shape of an eggshell, these bottom-heavy pearls are generally used in hanging jewelry.

5. Heart Pearls

Like coin pearls, heart pearls are flat, reflective specimens that have also formed into the shape of a heart. 

6. Keshi Pearls

As one of the rarest varieties of baroque pearls, Keshi pearls are typically elongated pieces of nacre that bear a remarkable luster. 

7. Potato Pearls

Potato pearls are slightly inexpensive as they’re still quite an excellent roundish shape but have some surface irregularities. These pearls are thoroughly drilled and handy by the strand.

6 Factors to Determine the Quality and Value of Pearls

1. Pearl Nacre

Mother of Pearl or simply nacre is the natural material the mollusk secretes to safeguard its sensitive flesh from irritants such as implanted beads, shell fragments, and parasites. Nacre is also the same elegant iridescent substance that layers the inner surface of the mollusk shells.

2. Pearl Luster

Pearl luster is the quantity and quality of light reflected from the surface or under the surface of a pearl. A high-quality pearl has a sharp and bright luster where you can see your reflection clearly on its surface. A low-quality pearl, though, has a white, chalky, or dull appearance

3. Pearl Surface

The condition of a pearl surface is a vital factor in determining its value and durability. A superb quality pearl should have a smooth texture and a bright reflection. However, it’s scarce to find pearls with completely perfect surfaces. Most of them will have an extent of flaws, so the key to evaluating a pearl’s value is to assess how noticeable and prominent these flaws are.

4. Pearl Color

Pearls come in various colors, from white and black to every shade in between. It is essential to distinguish between color and overtone. For example, some commonly occurring pigments are white, green, champagne, aqua, green, black, and golden. Each color category has many familiar overtones or subtle variations in surface luminosity.

5. Pearl Size

The size also specifies the value of a pearl. The larger the pearl is, the more value it has. Their diameter in millimeters measures pearls. The average pearl currently sold is between 6.5 mm and 7.0 mm.

6. Pearl Shape

The pearl shape determines its value. The rounder the pearl is, the more value it has. A perfectly round pearl is very rare since oysters rarely create flawlessly round pearls. 

How to Clean Pearl Jewelry? 

Pearls with fragile nacre coating are soft and easily scratched, so it’s important to carefully clean and care for your pearl jewelry. Properly wearing pearl jewelry helps increase the longevity of pearls.

Prevent exposing pearl jewelry to harsh chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, chlorine, hair spray, and perfume, as they will damage your pearls. Do not wear your pearl jewelry while using a pool or hot tub. 

Pearl jewelry can be gently cleaned or deep cleaned with a soft cloth whenever you un-wear pearl jewelry. You can add a few drops of lukewarm water to dampen the cloth if necessary.

However, please remember that extreme temperatures will damage pearls, so prepare water that is not too hot or cold. Don’t let the pearls soak in the water for a long time to avoid weakening the thread or damaging the pearls. Ensure that the pearl jewelry is completely dry before storing it in a soft cloth or jewelry pouch.

For more about cleaning details, see our How To Clean Pearl Jewelry – Everything You Need To Know! blog.

Tips on Finding a Quality Pearl Jewelry Manufacturer

With many companies opening and offering you their services, you must distinguish which manufacturing companies provide high-quality and genuine pearls from the low-class and imitation ones. Here, we’ve listed some key points to consider when looking for a supplier of fine pearl jewelry.

  • Cultured Pearl Experts

Ensure that the owner and manufacturing company is operated by pearl experts and how long the company has been in the pearl jewelry industry. If not, they may be misinformed, unfamiliar, or inexperienced about cultured pearls.

  • Craftsmanship and a Good Range of Pearls

Do thorough research and check if the seller has a decent range of pearls and consists of different types and styles. If a vast range is offered, you’re more likely to find a piece that best fits your budget and style. Remember to thoroughly check the quality, designs, and craftsmanship of the pearl jewelry they offer.

  • Competitive Pricing

Each type of pearl offers something different, the world of pearls is intriguing and draws you in. Before you decide on the type of pearl you wish to purchase, it’s best to pick your budget.

You should list the prices and offered goods of all the manufacturers you’re considering, and compare which one is the most convenient, superior, and has an incredible array of options.  

  • Quality Check & Certification

It’s good to make sure that the manufacturer divulges all relevant information about the pearls’ grading. An additional authentication or certification by an expert is essential before purchasing. To receive the most lustrous and flawless pearls, choose the one with the highest grade of “AAA” or “AAAA.”

  • Customer-Friendly Policies

Look for online reviews, feedback, testimonials about the company, and accurate return or exchange policies. It’s good to check if they have efficient shipping and handling and packaging services to ensure that the dealer is reliable.

Why is TTT Jewelry the Right Choice for Pearl Jewelry Manufacturing?

TTT is one of the country’s most reliable and trustworthy manufacturing services. We have been in the jewelry-making industry for over a decade and have vast knowledge and experience in pearl farming and manufacturing.

1. High-Grade and Authentic Pearls

We only use an array of high-grade and authentic pearls to satisfy your needs and offer you the best quality pearl jewelry on the market.

2. Hand Craftsmanship and Custom Design Service

We have experienced and skilled artists and artisans to tend to your specific requests and designs. Every piece of our pearl jewelry is a 100% unique hand-made masterpiece made with care and undivided attention. We have a full-time custom design service to help you with your desired designs and projects.

3. Innovative Designs and Vast Collection to Choose from

Our talented artists and designers are always up-to-date with the latest trends and designs, and we have a vast collection of jewelry and layouts to help you choose which suits you best.

4. Affordable Prices and Custom Packaging

Here at TTT Jewelry, we consider your target budget while offering you the best pearl materials and sophisticated hand-made jewelry to help you find the supreme jewelry you’re looking for, for an affordable price.

We can also help strengthen your brand value through our custom packaging because your satisfaction is our top priority.

TTT Jewelry’s Pearl Collection

Ready to browse for some unique pearls? Explore our collection of pearl jewelry which features TTT’s iconic design and is made with the finest quality pearls with luminous luster, superior nacre, and rare colors, including necklaces, earrings, and rings, all at wholesale prices.

Here are some of our lovely handcrafted pearl jewelry made by our seasoned craftsmen:

Gold plated pearl bracelet from TTT Jewelry
A pearl bracelet from TTT Jewelry
A chain link pearl bracelet

Shine Like Pearls

Pearls are appropriate in any circumstance and occasion. Nothing can quite compare to the elegant and graceful beauty of pearls. Pearl jewelry embodies women’s elegance, dignity, and the ability to shine amid hardships and turmoil.

TTT Jewelry supplies a variety of wholesale pearl jewelry that please all ages and styles to make your customers happy and your business more profitable.

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