June’s classic and lustrous birthstone has been a cherished jewelry box staple for years.
Pearls are considered organic gemstones because they are formed inside a mollusk such as an oyster or mussel, rather than mined. Naturally occurring pearls are rare, so most of the pearls on the market are cultured, which means they are created by inserting an irritant into a mollusk in a controlled environment.
Whether you have received pearls as a gift or plan to purchase them for someone else, it’s important to know the facts. Take a look at our guide to pearl types, colors, sizes, and uses.
Perfect for a young woman just beginning to build her jewelry box, Freshwater pearls are a sweet and affordable option. We offer Freshwater pearls in their most popular hues: white and pink with cream and rose overtones. Sizes vary from the size of a grain of rice to half of a dime. Most of these pearls are cultivated in freshwater rivers and lakes, largely in China, and are grown in mussels.
When picturing a classic pearl necklace, the glossy Akoya pearls come to mind. Akoya pearls are largely white, with a mirror-like luster and are considered the gold standard of pearls. They are often cream-colored, with rose or silver overtones. Akoyas are saltwater pearls, originating from Chinese and Japanese oysters. They are smaller pearls, ranging from 6mm to 8.5mm in size.
South Sea pearls are some of the rarest and most extraordinary pearls on the market. They are most commonly found in silver or gold hues, and are extremely lustrous. These large and luxurious pearls are cultivated in the warm waters off the coast of Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. South sea pearls can be found in sizes all the way up to 13mm, and are very smooth and round.
The most exotic and expensive of them all, the Tahitian pearl is exquisite and sought after. Its distinct metallic silver, graphite, and black colors are alluring to many, even though they are rarely perfectly round. They have iridescent green, blue, or purple overtones. The largest of saltwater pearls, the Tahitian originates in the waters of French Polynesia and makes up less than five percent of all pearls harvested.