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)

This comprehensive guide gives you the knowledge and expertise to make well-informed decisions when selecting a pearl necklace.

Immerse yourself in the captivating realm of pearls as we explore the diverse array of types, sizes, colours, and qualities available. 

Additionally, we will navigate the intricacies of necklace styles and clasps, empowering you to consider every aspect with discernment.

how to buy pearl necklace

Gain a deep understanding of pearl grading systems and differentiate between natural and cultured pearls. 

This blog aims to ensure that your purchase becomes an enduring investment and much easier with detailed insights into pearl necklaces.

Types of pearls

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Pearls are known for their luminous beauty and value.

Let's dive deep into the different types of pearls, each with its unique characteristics.

Saltwater pearls

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Saltwater pearls, born in the pristine waters of oceans and seas, are renowned for their exceptional quality and exquisite lustre.

Discover the allure and distinctive features of these natural treasures.

1. Akoya pearls are cultivated in the pristine coastal waters of Japan and are synonymous with timeless elegance and sophistication.

People prefer these pearls for their exquisite beauty and refined appeal in pearl jewellery.

2. South Sea pearls are formed in the South Seas' warm waters and are known for their exceptional size, smoothness, and luxurious radiance.

These pearls are meticulously created by the Pinctada maxima oyster, resulting in a rare and treasured gem of unparalleled beauty.

3. Tahitian pearls are produced in the enchanting lagoons of French Polynesia and are known for their dark, iridescent hues and remarkable size.

These pearls undergo a fascinating and intricate process, resulting in their unique beauty and coveted rarity.

Freshwater pearls

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Freshwater pearls, a marvel of nature, are formed within freshwater mussels.

Unlike saltwater pearls, their formation occurs in rivers, lakes, and ponds.

The formation process begins when an irritant enters the mussel, stimulating it to secrete layers of nacre, creating these lustrous gems with various shapes, sizes, and colours.

Pearl quality factors

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When assessing the quality of pearls, several factors come into play.

These include size, shape, lustre, surface quality, and colour.

A pearl's lustre, or its reflective quality, is often considered essential in determining its overall quality and value. 

When considering pearls, several quality factors play a significant role in determining their desirability and value.

Taking care of these things can help you choose the perfect pearl. Here are the critical quality factors to consider:


The size of a pearl is measured in millimetres and typically ranges from 2mm to 20mm.

Larger pearls are generally more valuable, as they are rarer and command attention with their elegant presence.


Pearls come in various shapes, from round to baroque and circled.

Round pearls are the most sought-after and highly valued due to their symmetrical perfection.

Other shapes can also possess unique charm and character, often making them more affordable options.


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Pearls exhibit a stunning array of colours, from white and cream to pink, silver, gold, and black.

The colour should be consistent and evenly distributed throughout the pearl's surface.

The choice of colour is subjective and depends on personal preference and skin tone compatibility.


It refers to the mirror-like shine and brilliance that pearls emit.

High-quality pearls exhibit a deep, reflective lustre, with layers of nacre enhancing their iridescence.

The lustre is a crucial indicator of a pearl's value, as it signifies its overall beauty and radiance.

Surface Quality

The surface of a pearl should ideally be smooth and free from blemishes, such as spots, pits, or cracks.

Higher-quality pearls have fewer imperfections, while lower-grade pearls may display slight surface irregularities that can affect their value.

Nacre Thickness 

Nacre forms the pearl's layers and contributes to its durability and longevity.

Pearls with thicker layers of nacre are generally better quality and more resilient, ensuring they retain their beauty over time.

Understanding pearl grading

how to buy pearl necklace

It is essential to Understand pearl grading when selecting the perfect pearl.

Grading considers the size, shape, colour, lustre, surface quality, and nacre thickness.

This system ensures that pearls are evaluated consistently and allows buyers to make informed choices based on their preferences and budget.

AAA, AA+, and A+

Pearl grading provides valuable insights into a pearl's quality.

AAA signifies the highest grade, featuring exceptional lustre, minimal blemishes, and symmetrical shapes.

AA+ denotes high-quality pearls with good lustre and few blemishes.

A+ represents pearls with noticeable lustre and some surface imperfections.

Factors affecting grading

Several factors influence the grading of pearls, determining their quality and value.

These factors include size, shape, colour, lustre, surface quality, nacre thickness, and matching within a strand.

Larger, round pearls with high lustre, minimal blemishes, and thick nacre are generally considered higher grades. 

Uniformity in size, shape, colour, and surface quality across a strand contributes to a pearl's grading.

Understanding these factors helps assess and compare pearls for their quality and desirability.

Types of pearl necklace

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Pearl necklaces come in various styles, each offering its allure and sophistication.

The classic and timeless strand necklace features single or multiple rows of pearls, while a pendant necklace showcases a pearl suspended from a chain. 

A choker necklace sits snugly around the neck, while a princess necklace falls slightly below the collarbone.

Matinee and opera necklaces offer longer lengths, allowing for versatility in styling.


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The Collar necklace sits snugly around the neck, typically consisting of multiple strands of pearls.

It adds a touch of sophistication and complements low-cut or off-the-shoulder outfits with its graceful appearance.


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The Choker necklace is slightly longer than the Collar, resting just at the base of the neck.

It exudes a classic and chic vibe, making it a popular choice for formal and casual occasions.

You can wear chockers with various necklines.


how to buy pearl necklace

The Princess necklace is a traditional and popular style that falls just below the collarbone.

It is known for its versatility and ability to enhance both high and low necklines.

This timeless design is suitable for everyday wear or formal events.


how to buy pearl necklace

The Matinee necklace is longer than the Princess, usually reaching the middle of the chest.

It is an ideal choice for adding a touch of elegance to business attire or evening wear.

The Matinee necklace offers a graceful and refined look.


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The Opera necklace is longer still, typically falling below the bust.

This length allows for versatility in styling, as it can be worn as a single long strand or doubled up for a layered effect.

The Opera necklace adds drama and sophistication to any outfit.


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The Rope necklace is the longest pearl necklace, extending beyond the waistline.

Its length offers endless possibilities for styling, such as knotting, layering, or wrapping multiple times around the neck.

You can wear this versatile necklace for both formal and casual occasions.

Choosing the right length

how to buy pearl necklace

When choosing the correct length for your necklace, consider several factors to ensure a perfect fit and enhance your overall look. 

Firstly, consider the necklace length's compatibility with your outfit's neckline.

For example, a choker style complements high-necked or off-the-shoulder garments. 

Secondly, take into account your body type.

Petite individuals may opt for shorter lengths to avoid overwhelming their frame, while longer necklaces can elongate the torso for taller individuals. 

Ultimately, finding the right necklace length balances personal style, outfit coordination, and flattering proportions for your body type.

Necklace style and designs

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Discover the world of exquisite necklace styles, from classic pearls to contemporary pendants, each offering a unique statement.

Explore the diverse types that await you in the following sections.


how to buy pearl necklace

A classic and versatile style, the single-strand necklace features a single row of beads or pearls, lending an elegant and understated charm to any ensemble.


how to buy pearl necklace

For a bolder and more dramatic look, the multi-strand necklace intertwines two or more strands of beads or chains, creating a stunning visual impact and adding depth to your attire.

Tin cup

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This style incorporates evenly spaced beads or pearls along a delicate chain, creating a delicate and feminine aesthetic.

The beads or pearls appear to "float" on the chain, offering a subtle yet alluring design.


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Along a chain, station necklaces showcase evenly spaced decorative elements, such as gemstones or charms.

This style adds elegance, as you can adjust the stations for different lengths.


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The graduated necklace features beads or pearls that increase in size from the centre to the ends, creating a graceful and eye-catching tapering effect that enhances the neckline.


how to buy pearl necklace

A pendant necklace features a central focal point—a pendant—suspended from a chain.

Pendants can range from simple and elegant designs to elaborate and ornate pieces, allowing personal expression and style.

Pearls necklace clasps

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Regarding pearl necklaces, the choice of clasp plays a crucial role in functionality and aesthetics.

Different clasps offer varying levels of security and ease of wear. Let's explore some popular options:

Spring Ring Clasp

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This classic clasp features a small metal ring that opens and closes with spring action.

It's commonly used in lightweight pearl necklaces and provides a secure closure.

Lobster Clasp

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The lobster clasp looks like like a lobster's claw.

It has a hinged mechanism that opens and closes smoothly, offering a stronghold.

Fishhook Clasp

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This clasp offers a simple and secure closure.

It is easy to handle and often used for delicate pearl necklaces.

Box Clasp

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The box clasp provides a secure and elegant closure.

It typically includes a metal tab that fits into a groove for a snug fit.

Slide Lock Clasp

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This clasp consists of two pieces that interlock when slid together.

It offers a sleek and seamless look, ensuring security and aesthetic appeal.

Magnetic Clasp

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This clasp offers convenience and ease of use.

However, it may not be suitable for heavier pearl necklaces due to the strength of the magnets.

Shopping for pearl necklaces

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Conducting thorough research on reputable sellers is crucial when shopping for pearl necklaces.

Look for well-established jewellers or certified online retailers with positive customer reviews and a trusted reputation. 

When considering online purchases, consider product descriptions, images, and customer feedback.

Look for clear return and exchange policies, secure payment options, and authentic certifications. 

For in-person buying, examine the pearls for lustre, surface quality, colour consistency, and size.

Assess the necklace's craftsmanship, clasp functionality, and overall design.

With this knowledge, you can confidently explore the various pearl necklaces available.

how to buy pearl necklace

Setting a budget

It is essential to look after the factors that affect the price of pearl jewellery.

Quality, brand reputation, features, and materials can significantly impact costs. 

Exploring cost-saving options, such as discounts, promotions, or purchasing second-hand items, can help maximise your budget's efficiency.

Understanding these factors and cost-saving strategies will enable you to make the right decisions.

Certificate and appraisals

Authenticity certificates hold immense importance when it comes to valuable items like jewellery.

They assure genuineness and help establish the item's value.

Additionally, obtaining professional appraisals from qualified experts offers a comprehensive assessment of an item's quality, rarity, and market value, facilitating informed decisions.

Customisation and Personalisation options

When it comes to customisation and personalisation options for your jewellery, the possibilities are endless.

You can add a perfect touch to your jewellery, from engraving and monogramming to birthstone accents. 

Custom length and design also allow you to create jewellery that perfectly suits your style and preferences.

Let's explore customisation and personalisation options to elevate your jewellery game.

Understanding return and exchange policy

Understanding Return and Exchange Policies is crucial when making a purchase.

Consider the warranty coverage provided, including the duration and specific items covered.

Please familiarise yourself with the return windows and conditions, such as whether the item must be unused and in its original packaging.

Additionally, inquire about available exchange options to ensure a seamless shopping experience.

Summary and key takeaways

When it comes to buying pearl necklaces, always consider the essential things.

These include understanding the different types, sizes, colours, and qualities of pearls available. 

It is also crucial to consider necklace styles and clasps, grasp the concept of pearl grading systems, and distinguish between natural and cultured pearls.

This knowledge can help buyers make informed decisions.


how to buy pearl necklace

What is the most valuable type of pearl?

The most valuable type of pearl is the natural pearl, which is extremely rare and formed without human intervention.

Its scarcity and unique beauty contribute to its high value in the market.

How can I tell if a pearl necklace is genuine?

To determine if a pearl necklace is genuine, you can assess its lustre, surface quality, weight, and temperature.

Genuine pearls have a radiant lustre, slight imperfections on the surface, are cool to the touch, and have a substantial weight.

Can I wear a pearl necklace with a strapless dress? 

Absolutely! Wearing a pearl necklace with a strapless dress is a classic and elegant choice.

The pearls will add a touch of glamour and complement the neckline beautifully.

How often should I clean my pearl necklace?

Clean the pearl necklaces using a soft cloth to remove oils or debris after each wear.

It's essential to handle them gently and avoid exposing them to harsh chemicals or abrasive materials.

Are freshwater pearls inferior to saltwater pearls?

Freshwater pearls are not inherently inferior to saltwater pearls.

While saltwater pearls are typically more expensive and prized for their rarity, they offer a more comprehensive range of shapes, colours, and sizes at more affordable prices.