There are four key factors to consider when buying pearls:
Size matters - generally, larger pearls are more expensive. Try to keep the pearl size proportionate to the wearer and to the type of jewellery - 20 millimetre earrings might not be a good idea.
6-8 millimetres is a good average size, anything smaller should be used for small pieces of jewellery or for jewellery for children and teenagers. Larger pearls can be incorporated into jewellery for ladies.
Perfectly round pearls do not exist - some pearls are almost round, but all are uniquely shaped. Almost-round pearls are more expensive.
Baroque pearls can add lots of interest to jewellery due to their remarkable shapes. Oval and drop-shaped pearls add a lot of character to a piece of jewellery. Look for jewellery where the pearl shape matches the jewellery design.
All pearls have surface imperfections - these are not faults, they're natural flaws. Many people prefer a "clean" surface. Look for pearls that have a good appearance, but expect to pay more for pearls with fewer visible flaws.
The surface of the pearl also has shine or lustre. Many people look for pearls with a good surface shine - generally, shinier pearls command a higher price.
Tips for buyers
1. Only buy pearl jewellery from a company with a good reputation and a returns policy.
2. Only buy pearl jewellery from a company that specializes in pearls.
3. Do not aim to buy pearl jewellery from the big brand names - massive savings can be made by buying from smaller reputable companies.
4. Do not expect absolute perfection - pearls are natural and ALL have minor flaws. Choose pearl jewellery that looks good.
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