With the tremendous variety of pearls on the market today, pearls are considered the least understood of all gemstones. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the different type of pearls, pearl grading, their history and care.
At Somerton Jewelers we offer a variety of Freshwater, South Sea, and Tahitian cultured pearls. Our pearl jewelry is available in a variety of different styles including studs, fashion earrings, strands, necklaces, pendants and bracelets. In addition, we offer our pearls in varying price ranges so that you can find the perfect pearl for your style and budget.
For nearly 100 years, akoya pearls grown off the coast of Japan have been the classic pearl of choice. When one pictures a round strand of white pearls, they are usually thinking of akoya.
Although rare baroque shapes and natural colors like silver-blue and gold do exist, akoya pearls are best known for their perfectly round shape and sharp, reflective luster.
While exceptions do exist, most akoya pearls produced today range in sizes from 4 to 10 mm.
If you are looking for a classic strand of round, white pearls, you are probably looking for a strand of akoya pearls.
The most affordable pearls sold today, freshwater pearls are known for baroque shapes, white and pastel body colors and softer luster than akoya.
With natural pastel colors and shapes that range from perfectly round to free-form baroque, freshwater pearls offer a widest range of options.
Common sizes range from 5 mm to 12 mm, but recent advances have led to the development of round and baroque pearls as large as 20 mm.
If you are looking for an affordable piece or something more fashion-forward with unique combinations of colors and shapes, shop freshwater pearls.
Tahitian pearls grown in French Polynesia are the only naturally dark pearls. Although often referred to as black, Tahitian pearls come in a rainbow of exotic colors.
Round Tahitian pearls are quite rare but other fun shapes like drops, baroques and ovals are highly-sought and still considered very valuable.
When measured perpendicular to the drill hole, most Tahitians range in size from 8 mm to 15 mm regardless of shape.
If you are looking for a naturally dark pearls that go well with almost any style, Tahitian pearls may be your best choice.
Grown primarily in Australia the Philippines and Indonesia and ranging in color from white to gold, South Sea pearls are the largest saltwater pearls grown today.
Because of their tremendous size, perfectly round South Sea pearls are quite rare. Other more common shapes are drops, baroques and ovals. All are considered very valuable.
While South Sea pearls range in size from 8 mm to 18 mm, the most common sizes range from 10 mm to 14 mm.
If you looking for the statement piece of jewelry with large pearls, South Sea may be the way to go.
The general color of a pearl is also called the body color. Typical pearl colors are white, cream, yellow, pink, silver, or black. A pearl can also have a hint of secondary color, or overtone, which is seen when light reflects off the pearl surface. For example, a pearl strand may appear white, but when examined more closely, a pink overtone may become apparent. Pearls produce an intense, deep shine called luster. This effect is created when light reflects off the many layers of tiny calcium carbonate crystals that compose the pearl. This substance is called nacre. When selecting a pearl, consider that the larger the pearl, the more nacre it has, so it will also exhibit even more luster. Compare a 5mm Freshwater cultured pearl with a 10mm South Sea cultured pearl and the difference in the amount of nacre is obvious. The difference in luster is as clearly visible as the difference in the pearl sizes.
At Somerton Jewelers, we offer the highest quality, rarest pearl shape: round. Shapes that are not spherical or even symmetrical are considered lower quality. Akoya, Tahitian, and South Sea pearls found in jewelry have a tendency to be the roundest, while Freshwater pearls can be oval or slightly off round.
The size of the pearl greatly depends on the type of pearl. Freshwater pearls range in size from about 3.0-7.0 mm, Akoya pearls range from about 6.0-8.5 mm, and South Sea and Tahitian pearls can reach sizes as large as 13 mm.
When cared for properly, pearls can last a lifetime. The best way to care for pearls is to wear them often as the body's natural oils keep pearls lustrous. However, it's important to keep them away from household chemicals including perfume, makeup and hairspray. Chemicals found in these common products can dull the luster of your pearls. It is recommended that you put your pearls on last when getting ready and make them the first thing you take off when you come home. Before putting your pearls away, wipe them with a soft cloth and store them separate from other jewelry to avoid scratching their tender surfaces.