Susan Miller

·Master of Fine Arts in Jewelry Design, Pratt Institute, 2012

·Bachelor of Arts in Gemology, University of California, Los Angeles, May 2005

·Editor-in-Chief, White Victoria (2018 - present)

·Write and research feature articles and profiles for print and online publication

·Contributing Writer, Modern Jeweler and Ornament

·Write and publish freelance articles for IGS and WSJ Magazine

·Jewelry Appraiser (2012 - 2020)

Few gemstones hold a timeless allure comparable to pearls in the enchanting realm of jewellery.

Their delicate iridescence and refined elegance have captivated connoisseurs for centuries.

This comprehensive guide embarks on a journey to demystify the art of purchasing pearls, meticulously addressing prevalent inquiries and uncertainties. 

how to buy pearls

From discerning the subtle variations in lustre and shape to navigating the intricacies of pearl grading, this guide is meticulously crafted to accompany readers through every juncture of the decision-making process.

Unveil the secrets of pearl procurement and make an informed choice guided by expertise and insight.

Setting a Budget

how to buy pearls

Setting a budget is an integral initial step when venturing into the realm of pearl acquisition.

A well-defined budget serves as a guiding compass, ensuring a reasonable investment while exploring many options available.

It is pivotal in steering the course toward the perfect pearl type, size, and style that harmonizes with one's financial parameters.

With a predetermined budget, one can navigate the diverse range of pearls, from the understated elegance of freshwater pearls to the opulent radiance of South Sea pearls.

The budgetary considerations interweave with decisions on size, determining whether to opt for a modest, refined pearl or indulge in the grandeur of a larger, statement piece.

Furthermore, the chosen style, be it a classic string of pearls or a contemporary design, resonates closely with the financial boundaries delineated by the budget.

Setting a budget empowers the discerning buyer to embark on their pearl journey with purpose and precision, elevating the experience to a harmonious confluence of aesthetics and financial prudence.

Choosing Your Pearl Type

how to buy pearls

Selecting the appropriate pearl type bears profound significance, as it lays the foundation for crafting exquisite jewellery pieces that resonate with individual style and taste.

Within the realm of pearl varieties, an array of choices presents itself, including the revered Japanese Akoya, the enchanting Freshwater, the resplendent White and Golden South Sea, and the alluring Black Tahitian.

Japanese Akoya pearls emanate a timeless sophistication, renowned for their perfect round shape and unparalleled lustre.

Conversely, Freshwater pearls exude a distinct charm, often showcasing a unique baroque silhouette and a gentle, subtle luminosity.

A comparative analysis of these luminous treasures reveals that while Akoya pearls boast a classic, uniform allure, Freshwater pearls embrace individuality with their diverse shapes and budget-friendly appeal. 

As you embark on this discerning journey, a comprehensive understanding of the nuances between Japanese Akoya and Freshwater pearls equips you to make an informed choice, ensuring the creation of exquisite jewellery pieces that mirror your distinct elegance.

Selecting Pearl Color 

how to buy pearls

The realm of pearls unveils a diverse spectrum of captivating hues, each contributing to the unique allure of these exquisite gems.

Within this expansive palette lies a selection process that hinges upon the discernment of colour. 

Pearls come forth in various captivating shades, falling into distinct categories such as the classic whites, the enigmatic blacks, the ethereal lavenders and pinks, and the luxurious golden tones.

Beyond mere aesthetics, the choice of colour holds profound significance, subtly reflecting one's style and the occasion. 

As we delve into the world of pearl colour selection, we unravel the art of harmonizing shade with purpose, guiding you toward a choice that resonates with elegance and intention.

Learning About Pearl Grading

how to buy pearls

Embarking on the voyage of pearl exploration necessitates a nuanced comprehension of pearl grading systems, each a testament to the gem's unique qualities.

A scale ranging from A to AAA intricately evaluates attributes such as lustre, surface perfection, shape, and size for Akoya pearls.

Meanwhile, the spectrum widens for Tahitian, South Sea, and Freshwater pearls, graded from A to D, encompassing dimensions like lustre, surface, shape, and colour.

The grading criteria unravel a mosaic of subtleties. Lustre, a hallmark of quality, reflects the radiant play of light on the pearl's surface.

Surface perfection scrutinises blemishes and imperfections, while shape contemplates uniformity and symmetry.

Size holds significance, crafting a delicate balance between allure and value.

A highlight amidst these grades is the Certified Hanadama Japanese Akoya pearls, a paragon of excellence and rarity.

Revered for their impeccable lustre, nearly flawless surface, and symmetrical forms, they are an emblem of refined taste.

Gem Grade Freshwater Pearls are equally distinguished, encapsulating a pristine fusion of lustre and graceful form.

As one delves into the realm of pearl grading, understanding these intricate nuances illuminates the path toward acquiring pearls of unparalleled splendour, guided by discernment and knowledge.

Choosing the Right Pearl Vendor

how to buy pearls

When embarking on the journey of acquiring pearls, meticulous consideration in selecting a reputable vendor is paramount.

Scrutinize their heritage, reputation, and customer feedback to ascertain their credibility.

Reliable vendors often exhibit transparency in disclosing pearl origins, cultivation methods, and grading systems. 

Equally imperative is assessing flexible return policies, ensuring recourse in case of discrepancies.

Engage in diligent price comparisons across vendors to grasp prevailing market rates, guarding against overpricing. 

With these factors harmoniously aligned, the discerning buyer can confidently navigate the realm of pearl procurement, making an informed choice with poise and assurance.

Picking the Right Pearl Size 

how to buy pearls

Selecting the perfect pearl size is a delicate art, combining personal taste and occasion-specific considerations.

A symphony of elegance, pearls ranging from dainty 6mm gems to opulent 12mm creations cater to diverse preferences. 

For understated sophistication, smaller sizes evoke timeless grace, ideal for everyday wear and formal gatherings.

Medium-sized pearls, spanning 8mm to 10mm, effortlessly balance elegance and subtlety, an excellent choice for versatile accessorizing. 

Larger pearls, around 11mm to 12mm, make a bold statement, commanding attention at grand galas and celebratory events—Decipher the language of size, harmonizing pearls with individual style and the essence of every occasion.

Deciding on a Pearl Necklace Length

how to buy pearls

Determining the ideal length of a pearl necklace is a nuanced art that harmonizes aesthetics with individual attributes.

This exploration navigates the standard pearl necklace lengths spectrum, ranging from the choker's grace to the princess's poise.

Your style and physique play pivotal roles in this decision. 

For a refined and elongated effect, consider longer strands to complement a taller build, while petite frames find grace in shorter lengths.

The interplay between necklace length, neckline, and attire is an artful dance that bestows a distinctive elegance.

Choose wisely to elevate both your ensemble and innate charm.

Discovering Your Pearl Jewelry Style

how to buy pearls

Embarking on the voyage of discovering your pearl jewelry style entails a thoughtful exploration guided by refined sensibilities.

Begin by contemplating the recipient's distinct style and preferences, an essential compass in this artistic journey.

Delve into a realm with options, where pearls gracefully adorn various jewelry styles to complement diverse occasions. 

Whether it be the classic elegance of a single pearl pendant or the sophisticated allure of a pearl-studded bracelet, the options are boundless.

Harmonising with existing treasures is paramount, ensuring a seamless integration that accentuates jewellery and attire.

Let pearls become a radiant reflection of individuality and grace.


how to buy pearls

The journey to acquire pearls is a symphony of discernment and refinement.

Armed with insights on budgeting, pearl types, colours, grading, vendors, sizes, and necklace lengths, you possess the knowledge to make informed choices.

Let your pearl jewelry style testify to your elegance, guided by expertise and personal sentiment.