Taking the plunge and buying your first item of pearl jewellery online, versus at a retailer, can be a cause of nervousness. However if you carefully choose your online retailer and have gained a little knowledge about pearls then it can be a simple, save, process and the source of large savings.Consider carefully what is important to you, e.g. speed of delivery, returns policy, gift boxing and consumer protection, when you choose your online retail partner and the country in which they are located.
Next gain a little knowledge about pearls so that you can understand the quality and price you might expect to pay. Below we’ve detailed some simple key points to consider when choosing your pearl jewellery:
The Type of Pearl:
Virtually all pearls commercially available today are cultured, which means that they are derived through a process of artificial nucleation.
- Cultured Freshwater Pearls – Since the 1990s the quality of Cultured Freshwater Pearls has improved dramatically and has brought good quality pearl jewellery within the reach of most people. In addition to the freeform shape more usually associated with the label “freshwater pearls” there is now a reliable supply of rounder, more lustrous pearls.The cultivation process for freshwater pearls differs from that of saltwater pearls, with a small square of mussel mantle being inserted into the freshwater mussel to initate the process of laying down layers of nacre to form the pearl. The resulting pearl is, therefore, almost pure nacre. A freshwater mussel can produce many pearls at a time. The most common shapes resulting from this process are Button & Oval (60%), followed by Baroque (38%) and Round (2%). As well as the larger number of pearls derived the relative rarity of each of these different shapes of pearl drives their price, and the price of the resulting item of jewellery.
- Akoya Pearls – These high quality saltwater pearls are cultivated via bead nucleation, with a shell bead introduced into the wall lining of the small akoya oyster to initiate the process of laying down nacre. As the cultivation process commences with a round bead the resulting pearls are usually very round. However because akoya oysters are small the size of the pearl that can be cultivated is limited, with pearls over 9mm being relatively rare. As with all pearls akoya pearls become exponentially more valuable as their size increases. Akoya pearls typically have a high lustre and an unblemished surface.
The Grade of Pearl:
- AAA – Near round to the eye. High lustre, 95% free of any blemishes or marks.
- AA – Medium lustre with surface defects over not more than 80% of the surface area.
- A – Noticeably off round. Very little to no lustre, 70% free of any blemishes or marks.
The Size of Pearl:
- Pearls are a natural item of jewellery, the size of a pearl is determined by the length of time the pearl has been left to ‘culture’ in the shell. Like any item something that has taken 2 times, 4 times or 10 times as long to produce is going to prices rise in tandem. In addition over time on larger pearls growth rings are likely to appear, therefore even fewer make the higher grades of AAA, further increasing the price meaning that with size pearl prices rise on an exponential scale.
Choice of Finding:
- Fine Jewellery comes with either Silver or Gold Findings. Most people know that Sterling Silver is significantly cheaper than Gold, and that within Gold the purity of the gold 9ct > 14ct > 18ct impacts the price, increasing proportional to the increase in purity.
If we can help you with your choice when buying pearl jewellery online then the team at Scintilla Fine Jewellery Ltd – Pearl Jewellery Online are happy to do so, and you can call us on a no obligation basis 0800 699 0119, or contact us via the website www.pearljewelleryonline.com