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Five things you should know when buying pearl jewellery for a woman

What woman doesn’t adore pearl jewellery? You’d be hard pressed to find one. But if you’re hoping to surprise her with a show-stopping gift in the near future, then there are a few things you should know first.

Choosing the right pearls is no easy feat, especially if the aim is to impress. Pearl jewellery is versatile, and each piece is unique in its own way – but despite being a simple stone, there are a surprising range of options on offer. Pearls can be delicate or make a real statement, discrete and glamorous in equal measures – from simple drop earrings to multi-strand statement necklaces. But one thing is for sure – choose the right piece of jewellery, and you’ll have nailed one of the finest presents money can buy. Here are the five things you should consider when shopping for that special gift.

Pearls come in many types

1.) Pearls come in many types

First things first; faux pearls are not an option when it comes to that someone special. Cultured pearls are the name of the game, and are natural stones which grow in specialised farms. Organic in shape, size and colour, they come in many varieties – so here are the ones to look out for.

Akoya pearls: These Japanese pearls are the most commonly found; they are small or medium in size and usually come in shades of white and cream, with rose, cream, or silver overtones.

Tahitian pearls: Also known as “black pearls”, the Tahitian variety are in fact very rarely pure black. Rare, valuable, medium or large, they are unique in their range of colours and overtones. Some of the most coveted Tahitian pearls are those featuring nuances such as silver, dove grey, very dark charcoal grey or chocolate. When it comes to overtones, “black” pearls sport an intriguing and luxurious range of peacock, silver/steel, blue-green, aubergine, cherry, sky blue, pistachio and chocolate, amongst others.

South Sea Pearls: Large, rare, and valuable, the South Sea pearl features some delightful colours and overtones. In white South Sea pearls, the most common is bright silver, while the rarest is rose. The magic of South Sea pearls, however, reside in their golden colour. Golden South Sea pearls are lush and expensive, but they certainly stand out from the crowd with overtones such as rose, neutral gold, silver, green/bronze or champagne.

Freshwater pearls: Chinese stones that vary in size, Freshwater pearls come in a myriad of colours and overtones – including white, pink and lavender, along with creamy and rosy whites. Freshwater pearls are one of the most beautiful varieties available, and make for a truly astonishing gift that promises to last a lifetime.

Choosing the right pearls is no easy feat, especially if the aim is to impress

2. Match pearls to skin tone

The intrinsic and legendary value of pearls is that they can make a woman shine effortlessly from afar, no matter how understated they happen to be. Their power resides in the fact that the colours, lustres and overtones enhance natural skin tone, eye colour, and even hair nuance. Whether you want to buy her a pair of gorgeous pearl earrings to light up her face, or a show-stopping pearl necklace to illuminate her neck, skin tone should always be taken into consideration. Here’s what to look out for:

Fair Skin Tone: For this type of skin tone, pick lighter pearls: white, ivory, peach, chocolate, pink and cream. The soft and creamy colours which best reflect the light will illuminate her skin in a natural and beautiful manner.

Olive Skin Tone: Opt for white pearls with silver overtones, or try the breathtaking contrast brought by pink pearls.

Dark Skin Tone: Golden pearls look stunning against darker complexions, but cream, ivory, rose and peach overtones also contrast well.

If you’re unsure about skin tones and complexions, you can always play it safe with Tahitian pearls, which look good with any skin tone, hair colour, or eye colour.

3. Not all pearls are perfectly round

In fact, perfectly round pearls are incredibly rare. The Akoya pearls are the closest to being spherical, but other types come in many shapes. If someone tries to sell you perfect sphere-shaped pearls, be sure to get them tested for authenticity. Here are the main pearl shapes to choose from:

Round and nearly round: All pearl types

Ovoid: All pearl types

Button: Mostly found in Freshwater pearls

Baroque (irregular pearl shapes): Mmostly present in Freshwater, South Sea, and Tahitian pearls.

It’s unrealistic to expect all pearls to have the same perfect shape and size, so when looking to buy your woman a pearl necklace, take care that no two pearls with very obvious differences sit beside one another on the strand. When you look at the necklace or bracelet, the pearls should all appear identical – even if that’s not strictly the case.

Pearl jewellery is versatile, and each piece is unique in its own way

4. Pay attention to metals and encasings

Pearl jewellery features precious metals and refined threads (in necklaces and bracelets mostly). Here are the main things you need to know about them.

The pearl should match the metal in terms of basic colour. For instance, golden South Sea pearls look the best in yellow gold encasings, whilst white and black work best with silver, white gold, and platinum. Peach, pink, and lavender pearls usually come in yellow gold designs, because of the warm shine they combine to produce.

Pearls go well with other precious or semi-precious stones. Due to their versatility and natural shine and light, pearl jewellery often features natural and synthetic diamonds, crystals, and other stones. The price will be higher, of course, but some designs are truly breathtaking.

Check the metals’ authenticity. Make sure you only buy certified and marked silver, gold, and platinum.

There are a wide variety of pearl jewellery pieces to choose from, from pendants and “invisible” necklaces, to cocktail rings, modern or Baroque pearl earrings, and many more. Make sure the pearl piece you want to buy is complementary to your lady’s age, personality, and sense of style.

Before you purchase the first eye-catching pearl jewellery piece you see, look at its specifications

5. Expensive pearls mean better jewellery

We know that not all expensive things are the best, but when it comes to pearls, the higher the grading, the higher the quality.

Before you purchase the first eye-catching pearl jewellery piece you see, look at its specifications. You will usually find pearls featuring the AAA grading. Valuable pearls have many A’s, and are rare, large, and come with outstanding lustre and nacre.

Think of pearl jewellery as an investment; you are not buying a strand of flashy beads; you are buying a timeless, unique, and valuable piece of jewellery. Expensive pearls are the ones that will stand the test of time, and maintain their nacre and natural shine. Choose the right ones, and they’re guaranteed to look just as beautiful decades later. With this in mind, make sure your budget is flexible and allows for a high quality piece.