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Article Title:
How To Choose Your Perfect South Sea Cultured Pearl Necklace

Article Description:
A strand of beautiful South Sea cultured pearls is indeed an 
investment.  South Sea cultured pearls are the largest and 
rarest pearls in fine jewelry market today.  We'll start with 
a brief history then on to pearl specifics and value factors. 
Lastly, we'll look at where to shop for South Sea pearls.

Additional Article Information:
1004 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Thu May  4 13:35:17 EDT 2006

Written By:     Norma Jones
Copyright:      2006, PearlsOnly
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

Article URL: 

For more free-reprint articles by this Author, please visit:


How To Choose Your Perfect South Sea Cultured Pearl Necklace
Copyright © 2006, PearlsOnly Norma Jones

A strand of beautiful South Sea cultured pearls is indeed an 
investment.  South Sea cultured pearls are the largest and 
rarest pearls in fine jewelry market today.  We'll start with 
a brief history then on to pearl specifics and value factors. 
Lastly, we'll look at where to shop for South Sea pearls.

A Brief History Of South Sea Pearls

Natural South Sea pearls were first discovered in the 1880's 
inside large oysters off the northwest coast of Australia.  The 
oysters were collected for their shells as well as a food source. 
Pearls were found only in a handful of collected oysters.  Fifty 
years later the oysters became depleted.  After careful research, 
culturing methods were developed and oyster population nursed 
back to health.

Today, South Sea cultured pearls are the rarest and largest 
in the world.  Australia is the preeminent culturing center 
producing the majority of South Sea pearls, Indonesia and the 
Philippines strongly contribute to the remaining portion. 

South Sea Cultured Pearls At A Glance

Size range:  9 millimeters to 20 millimeters (or 0.35 in 
   to 0.79 in)

Average size: 12 millimeters to 13 millimeters (or 0.5 in)

Growth time:  20 - 24 months

Oyster:  Pinctada Maxima or Gold and Silver Lipped oysters

Color range:  White to Golden

South Sea Cultured Pearl Value Factors

Values are dependant on both visible factors of the specific 
pearl as well as the entire strand.  These factors are:

   1. Luster
   2. Shape or Roundness
   3. Surface Cleanliness
   4. Matching
   5. Color
   6. Size

1. Luster

Luster is the most important factor when determining the value of 
a pearl.  A good way to talk about pearl luster is in terms of a 
mirror.  A pearl with good luster will be very shiny and bright. 
Images will be clearly reflected, almost like a mirror.  Details 
such as facial features can be seen in the reflection as well. 
South sea pearl luster is a soft glow coming from within.  Only 
a rare handful will display a clear reflection and very bright 

To look for a good luster, hold the pearls at a distance where 
you can clearly and comfortably see your reflection - usually 
about six to seven inches away.  Can you see your eyes 
differentiated from your face?  What other background can you 
see?  If the reflection is clear then, the luster is good. 

2. Shape or Roundness

The next prominent value factor is the shape of the pearl or how 
round the pearl is.  Round is the most valued of all cultured 
pearl shapes.  Next are symmetrical shapes such as drops or 
buttons.  Oysters are hand turned during pearl growth to ensure 
a rounder pearl.  The great majority of the South Sea cultured 
pearls are significantly less than round.  As a result, a round 
pearl is very rare and very valued. 

3. Surface Cleanliness

The pearl's surface the pearl does need to be completely clean 
for good shine and radiance.  Pearls are natural gems, as a 
result, the surface will have some blemishing.  A few rare pearls 
will have a surface or body that is relatively free of blemishes. 
As a result, these are very, very valuable.  Pearl drilling as 
well as jewelry setting should take into account any surface 

4. Matching

It can take sifting through over 10,000 individual pearls to find 
two well matched ones for stud earrings. Multiply this effort by 
a full strand of well matched pearls - this rarity makes a well 
matched strand more valuable than the combined value of the 
individual pearls. 

When judging for well matched pearls, simply look at the entire 
strand.  There will be just a slight variation as pearls are 
natural gems.  The variation should be pleasing and 

5. Color

There are two main colors of South Sea Pearls - white and golden. 
When making this choice, think about which colors will look best 
on you.  Pearls are unique as they do reflect ambient light in 
the most flattering way.  As a result, they will flatter you. 

Some skin, hair and eye color combinations will favor one color 
over another.  To choose, hold the pearls up by your face and 
look in a mirror.  Switch between the colors to see which best 
complements you.

Also, pearl color can vary under different lighting sources. 
Florescent light, shaded light and an overcast sky tend to 
intensify blues.  Incandescent and both the rising or setting 
sun, intensify oranges, reds and yellows.  For the truest color, 
look at your pearls in sunlight at about midday.  If you are 
indoors, move the pearls from one type of light source to 

Golden South Sea cultured pearls command a higher value. When 
investing in Golden South Sea pearls, look for deep color 
saturation.  Lighter shades often described as vanilla, light 
honey, champagne and light gold can of lesser value.

6. Size

The size of the pearls also effect value. A larger pearl with 
similar other value factors will be more valuable than a smaller 
one. However, there is a size range where values increase 
exponentially.  South Sea pearls average between 12mm to 13mm. 
As a result, pearls at or under that size range are more readily 
available. When the size range increases to 13mm to 14m and 
subsequent 14mm to 15mm and greater than 16mm ranges, the value 
increases dramatically. Pearls larger than 20mm are very rare.

Where To Buy?

Very few strands with very high ratings in all the above value 
factors are regularly available on the fine jewelry market.  As a 
result, be ready to research and shop around.  I personally like 
online stores as they tend to have less overhead expenses passed 
on to you, the customer.  This often results in lower prices. 
However, it is very helpful to see and touch real strands as 

Here are a few factors to look for when choosing where to buy to 
buy your pearls

A. Friendly and knowledgeable staff

B. Good and varied selection of pearls

C. Excellent return policy - Minimum of 30 days for a full refund

Norma Jones is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at  PearlsOnly is an internet based 
eCommerce business that provides high quality pearl jewelry 
direct to consumers.  Our goal is complete customer satisfaction 
with the best selection of the finest pearls anywhere.  We 
leverage our multinational presences to offer our clients high 
quality pearls, with above-and-beyond customer service at 
incredible prices.  Visit us online at 
or call us at 1(888)834-4148.



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