How to Buy the Perfect Pearls for Your Jewelry

Pearls symbolize virtue, purity and modesty, and that's what makes them very popular as a material for jewelry. Technically speaking, pearls are known as organic gems and are collected from shellfish, although so much has changed since the time these treasures were discovered. Now, there are plenty of new ways to harvest, use and wear them.

If you've always been fascinated by pearl jewelry but don't know how you can spot a good piece, you can start by understanding the fundamentals - luster, size, consistency and style.

Luster

When assessing a pearl, luster is the first and most important property you should focus on. Luster is simply how sharp and intense reflections are on the gem's surface. Going deeper, look for fine luster by checking on the clarity of the images that are reflected. More clarity means better luster. Also pearls with fine luster have the tendency to glow warmly from inside.

Size

Pearl size is important for aesthetic as well as financial reasons. While bigger pearls are hardly used to make earrings as they divert attention from the wearer, they are a favorite material for making necklaces. Moreover, bigger pearls made into rings are very bulky and often cause inconvenience. And of course, bigger pearls are always more expensive, so a smart shopper will always balance size with expected price.

Consistency

As you shop for pearl jewelry, check how the gems match each other when put together in a piece. Subtleties like color, finish or shape can easily go unnoticed when the pearls are examined separately, but together, they can create a look of imbalance. Buy pearl wedding jewelry whose individual pearls look consistent, although this will usually mean a higher cost.

Fashion Style

Also consider your own fashion style when buying pearl jewelry. Or if you're buying the jewelry for a specific event or occasion, see if they would match. You can reserve those white pearl chokers for formal occasions, for instance, while those chocolate pearls can be more all-around. In short, just before you pick your pearl earrings , think occasion or place where you're likely to wear it.

Natural versus Farmed

Finally, there's the issue on natural versus cultured pearls. So which is better? Reality is, there's really no such issue. Cultured and natural pearls both come from real oysters, so if you really think about it, these two are essentially natural. As you may have known, pearls are formed when an oyster releases a semi-translucent substance known as "nacre" whenever sand or any other irritant lodges itself on the shell. In time, these deposits build up until they reach a particular size and are collected as pearls.

Oysters in a pearl farm are intentionally implanted with irritants, but just the same, they deposit one layer of nacre after another until the pearls increase to a certain size and are harvested. Why do we have pearl farms? Because the seas could no longer meet the demand for these gems. Still, as we have said earlier, there is no real difference between a natural pearl and a cultured one. For more facts and information about pearls, you can go to http://www.dictionary.com/browse/pearl .