Pearl Gemstone Buying Guide
Commonly associated with innocence, sincerity and wisdom, pearls have been treasured by all people all over the world for thousands of years. They were called “the tears of the gods” by the Persians, thought to be dewdrops from the moon by the Greeks and used as adornments by various Hindu gods. Their popularity has not waned since then; till now they are the symbol of grace and wealth.
Choosing a Pearl
- Luster: The most important characteristic used to determine a pearl’s value is its luster. This iridescence is caused by the diffraction and interference of light waves that hit the pearl’s surface.
- Color: Pearls come in many shades, most often white, cream and bluish-grey. Tahitian pearls are famous for their deep, dark colors, while pearls from the Gulf of Manaar in the Indian Ocean are often beautiful and rose pink in color. Some of the most valuable pearls in the world are the golden pearls that are formed in the South Sea.
- Size: If all other factors are equal, size determines the relative value of pearls. Large and perfectly round pearls are rare to find, so such specimens are considered to be very precious.
- Flaws: Since pearls are organic substance, it is not surprising that they often have natural flaws. The smoother and more buttery the pearl, the more valuable it is.
- Shape: Common shapes for pearls include round, pear, oval, baroque and button. Because of their rarity, perfectly round pearls are typically the most valuable, but pear and baroque shapes make for lovely earrings and pendants.
- Enhancements: Angara uses cultured Akoya pearls.
- Bivalve mollusks create pearls when a grain of sand gets stuck inside their muscles or mantle; the mollusk covers the irritant in layers of organic material
- If the mollusk covers the irritant in lustrous nacre, the resulting pearl is considered a gemstone
- To “culture” a pearl is to place an irritant inside an oyster, causing it to lay down parallel layers of nacre and form a pearlThe Chinese have been culturing pearls since the 13th century
- Around 1890, the Japanese began to develop the cultured pearl industry; today, Akoya pearls are known to be high-quality, white and rose toned pearls with lovely luster and few flaws
- Pearl is the birthstone for the month of June
- Pearl is the zodiac gem for the signs Gemini and Cancer
- Pearl is the suggested gift for third and thirtieth anniversaries
- La Peregrina Pearl originated in the Gulf of Panama and subsequently traveled from monarch to monarch in Europe; in 1969, Richard Burton paid $37,000 for the pearl at a Sotheby’s auction and gave it to his wife, Elizabeth Taylor