Pearls are a timeless component of many beautiful pieces of jewelry. From rings to necklaces to bracelets, these natural wonders add shine and elegance to whatever jewelry you want to design.
While many pearls look alike to the untrained eye, they actually vary in a number of ways. To help you choose just the right pearls for your statement piece, here's a short guide to the factors to look for.
As with any gem, the size of the pearl affects its value. A larger pearl is going to be worth more by itself. However, for those creating a jewelry piece, the importance of size is that you get the right one for your goals — no matter whether it's smaller or larger. If you want to create a gradual effect of a strand getting larger, for instance, you'll be looking for more than one size.
Most people automatically think of pearls as a perfectly round shape. In actuality, though, that perfect sphere is hard to find due to the natural factors that create pearls. You can find pearls that come very close, though, depending on how much you want to spend on your pearls.
Round and teardrop-shaped pearls are the most highly sought after. A variety of fun shapes also exist and can create a unique piece of ornamentation. Baroque pearls, for example, are irregular and never come in the same shape twice — making for a truly one-of-a-kind gem!
If you're creating a piece of jewelry with more than one pearl, you'll want to focus on getting gems that match other. Matching is a combination factor made up of how well each individual pearl fits in with the rest of the strand under the categories of the other elements, such as size, shape, etc.
The color of pearls varies depending on several factors, including the oyster that made the pearl, the locating in which it grew, and the environment around it. Certain areas and species of oysters are known for particular shades — such as the stunning Tahitian black pearls or lustrous gold varieties from the South Sea Pinctada Maxima oysters.
The colors on a pearl can be hard to parse, as they are generally made up of an overall appearance as well as secondary shades that come out upon inspection. For your jewelry design, decide on a basic color scheme, then examine individual pearls in detail to see how they fit into or add to the overall color plan.
How does the pearl look upon close inspection of its surface? Higher-quality pearls will have fewer blemishes — including things like scratches, dents, pits, spotting, chips, or cracks. Not only can serious blemishes make the pearl appear less attractive, but they can also make it more prone to damage or even complete failure. Look for the lowest amount of flaws within your price range.
Luster is basically the shine of the pearl. The higher the luster, the more sought-after the pearl is. Aim for the best luster your budget can include. If you have a limited budget, place higher-luster pearls where they will be the most prominent in the jewelry piece (the front of a necklace, for example, or the drop part of a pearl earring). Use less lustrous ones in more hidden areas.
Nacre is highly related to luster, and it refers to the iridescent portion of the outside of the pearl, which gives it that great visual effect. You want a nacre that's strong enough to hide the nucleus of the pearl and that isn't dull or "chalky" in appearance.
Are you ready to shop for the right pearls for your custom jewelry design? At Lang's C & L Jewelry, Inc., we carry a wide inventory of gems and jewelry materials to help you create whatever you desire. Stop by today to learn more about gem selection and design.