How to choose pearl types

Freshwater Pearls

Don’t be misled by the assumption that because freshwater pearls are more affordable, that they are inferior in terms of either quality or beauty. It is important to remember that what often drives the cost value of pearls is rarity, not quality in terms of the thickness of a pearl’s nacre, which has a direct correlation with both its beauty and durability. The issue here with freshwater pearls is that a single freshwater mussel can produce up to 40 pearls, whereas a saltwater mussel can only produce one or two pearls—making it a rarer commodity. Now, while it is also true that a freshwater mussel’s high productivity means a lower fraction of high quality freshwater pearls, still the sheer number of freshwater pearls that can be produced to choose from makes up for the difference—and thus makes them more affordable. So, what makes freshwater pearls unique in terms of beauty and durability? Because saltwater pearls are cultivated by inserting a bead in the mussel, around which the mussel then deposits layers of nacre, it is composed of part bead and part nacre. It is precisely the thickness of the nacre of any pearl which determines the depth of its overtones as well as its durability. Freshwater pearls, on the other hand, are cultivated by inserting a tiny piece of mussel tissue as an irritant, which then dissolves, resulting in a pearl that is almost 100% nacre.

DawnRose Pearls only sells high quality pearls with natural colors. Customers should bear in mind that the colors of all black/grey freshwater pearls or any other pearls with extremely uniform colors (without pearl overtones) are obtained through a dying process and are not natural.

Akoya Pearls

are sometimes considered the most classic pearl type due to the fact that the cultivation technique used to produce them has been employed longer than any other technique. The most representative product is a one of a kind, uniform, white pearl strand, with dazzling high luster. It is this mirror-like high luster which is the hallmark of Akoya pearls. Akoya pearls are limited to rather small sizes due to the small size of the host oyster. While more expensive than Freshwater pearls they are less expensive than Tahitian and South Sea pearls. Akoya Pearls have relatively thinner nacre compared to the other bead-nucleated saltwater pearls. 

It should be noted that there are no natural black Akoya pearls. If an Akoya pearls is black, it has been color-treated.

Tahitian Pearls

For black-pearl lovers, Tahitian Pearls will be the best choice. They are the only natural black pearls and are cultivated in the black-lipped oyster. Because their colors are formed in a completely natural process, their body colors are never solid and uniform, but always appear with exotic combinations of overtones, often making it difficult to determine what their exact color actually is. A larger size of over 10mm is quite common for Tahitian pearls. Though definitely not cheap, Tahitian pearls are generally less expensive than White/Golden South Sea pearls.

South Sea Pearls

are the most valuable pearl type. Because of its rarity, even a baroque South Sea pearl is still very valuable. White and gold are the two main color themes for South Sea pearls. The luster of South Sea pearls is satiny and soft, luxurious and elegant. The Golden South Sea pearl has quite uniform colors, which distinguishes it very clearly from all other pearl types; a characteristic often taken to represent dignity and power. South Sea pearls can be found in very large sizes, often even over 15mm, but the price will then be exponentially high. A South Sea pearl strand is a luxury choice with lower affordability, however, pendants or earrings can be a budget-friendly choice for SouthSea pearl lovers.

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