Pearls 101 - Varieties & Color
Pearls 101: Varieties & Colors
Happy Friday, friends! We’re excited to bring you along for the journey as we learn all about pearls together. As we’ve often mentioned, continued education is of high value at Stall & Kessler’s. It’s important to us that we stay up to date on all things that are jewelry-related so we can serve YOU better. We’re really thankful that the Gemological Institute of America offers many courses to accomplish this very goal. This week, Brianna is sharing some of her favorite tidbits of information from a beginner course she’s taken on the subject of pearls. We hope you enjoy!
Did you know? Pearls come in many varieties! Here’s a brief overview of a few varieties of pearl that you may come across.
Freshwater: Freshwater pearls are the most common and least expensive. They are cultured in freshwater lakes and ponds, hence the name, and are generally easy to find. Freshwater pearls come in the widest range of shapes and colors of all the pearl types. While perfectly round freshwater pearls do exist, off-round shapes are more common and look beautiful and unique in jewelry. Pink, white, and other pastel colors are the most common occurring naturally, but they can be dyed any color for optimal jewelry making.
Akoya: Deemed the classic pearl, these come to mind when you think about the perfect pearl. They are considered an upgrade from freshwater pearls in quality and roundness. Akoya pearls also come in a variety of neutral colors, but tend to be white. They are small and round, typically ranging from 5-9mm, and take one to two years to develop. Akoya pearls are the most common among jewelry buyers and make beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.
Tahitian: Although called black, Tahitian black pearls actually come in a range of dark, natural colors. Most common are greens, blues, browns, and greys. No color is considered better than another; they are all equal in value. The most popular color amongst buyers is known as green peacock. Tahitian black pearls are much bigger and more expensive than Akoya pearls. The price is partly due to the difficulty in creating a perfect strand because of the color range.
South Sea: There are really two types of South Sea pearls: white and golden. They are the biggest and most valuable of all pearl types. It is typical for a South Sea pearl to be up to 17mm, but much bigger white South Sea pearls have been found. Golden South Sea pearls are considered the most valuable among all pearls. The value increases with natural golden color; the deeper the gold, the more valuable.
Did you know? Pearls come in many colors/hues! Here are a few descriptions for the various kinds you may see.
Apricot – describes a pearl that is light pinkish/orange
Tahitian – describes cultured pearls with dark grayish, purple bodycolor
Golden – describes strong greenish yellow to orangey yellow, South Sea, cultured pearls
Lavender – describes a light pinkish color of Chinese, freshwater, cultured pearls
Peacock – describes a Tahitian pearl that has a dark green, blueish gray, or pinkish purple bodycolor
Pistachio – describes a Tahitian pearl that has a yellow or green bodycolor