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The Basics of Buying Pearls

Pearls can be purchased as natural or cultured, with the latter having several distinct advantages. Cultured pearls come from pearl farms, where mollusks are implanted with a foreign object which can vary in size depending on the desired outcome of the pearl dimensions. Both natural and cultured pearls are products of nature, though cutured pearls are subject to far fewer environmental factors that can produce a less than ideal pearl. Cultured pearls are therefore often more round and contain less flaws that natural pearls.


The size of the pearl is most responsible for the price attached to it, though other factors apply as well. The larger the pearl, the higher it will be, in most cases. Pearls can and should also be judged on the thickness of the nacre, which is the coating applied to the foreign body by the mollusk, the layering of the nacre and the surface blemishes of the pearl. For round pearls, the roundness of the pearl is also a major determining factor of price. Finally, the pearls should have a high luster as well as a considerable 'orient', or iridescence, which determines the reflection of light from the pearl and is part of it's natural beauty and value.


Buyers need to be aware of the different types of settings available for pearls and how they can affect the price of the finished piece of jewelry. Necklaces, for instance, are available in single and double strand, with larger and smaller pearls respectively. Though single strand necklaces are more expensive as a rule (because of the larger pearls they contain), many find double strand necklaces to be more appropriate with certain fashions.


The best value in pearls typically comes from jewelers expressly devoted to dealing with pearls, as places such as these often manufacture their own settings and purchase the pears directly from cultivation farms. Stores who do not manufacture their own pearl jewelry must pay a jeweler to do so, after which they will add a mark up to cover the cost of the third party.


One final note on buying pearls concerns the number of fake, or costume perals available on the market. While there are several ways to determine a real pearl from a fake, the best way to avoid getting a fake is by always purchasing from an online jewelry retailer or jewelry store which is a member of the Better Business Bureau. Never buy pearls or any type of jewelry from street vendors or secondhand stores.

About The Author To purchase Freshwater Pearls or Pearl Cufflinks visit our jewelry store for other pearls
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