Pearls are undoubtedly one of the most enigmatic gemstones in the world. Pearls grow inside sea shell from time to time, and become one of the most classic and timeless jewelry. It is an exceptional jewelry for investment that do not depreciate along time. But how much are pearls worth? How many types of pearls are there existing? And what is the most expensive pearl in the world ever found?

4 Common Types of Pearls

MIKIMOTO is the brand most famous for Pearl jewelry. And there are 4 main types of pearls: Akoya, freshwater pearls, Tahitian pearls, and South Sea pearls.

Akoya Pearls

Akoya pearls have been grown in Japan for over a century now. Akoya pearls are considered the classic type of pearls – the kind that you see Hollywood use in its movies for decades.

Akoya pearls are strikingly white and almost perfectly round, and their value only increases in time. White remains the crowd favourite for Akoya pearls, although other colours exist.

These other colours are not as valuable as white Akoya pearls. The sharp and lustrous features of Akoya pearls have made it a hallmark and yardstick for the quality of other pearls, especially cultured pearls that are grown in freshwater conditions.

Freshwater Pearls

Fresh water pearls are more affordable, and they have become a crowd favourite because they are luxuriant while being still affordable.

You can buy freshwater pearl necklaces for a fraction of the cost of more expensive types of pearl, like the Akoya or even Tahitian pearls. Freshwater pearls offer the most comprehensive array of possibilities for jewellery.

Apart from pearls that are circular or round, there are also teardrop-shaped and freeform freshwater pearls in the market. Freshwater pearls measure anywhere from five millimetres to twelve millimetres. Some baroque freshwater pearls have achieved as much as twenty millimetres in freshwater culture conditions. The research continues as to how to maximize the size of beads in freshwater pearl culture farms.

Tahitian black pearl

Only Tahitian pearls can be found naturally black in color.

Tahitian Pearls

Harking back to the pearl farms of French Polynesia, Tahitian pearls are striking for the deep, dark colour. While the black pearls are the most popular, Tahitian beads come in every imaginable color, and Tahitian pearls are perfect for jewelry collectors who have an electric taste in pearls and jewelry. The average size of Tahitian pearls is eight to fifteen millimeters. This type of pearl is ideal for people who don’t like round white pearls but would still love to have genuine pearls as part of their repertoire of jewelry at home.

South Sea Pearls

Also known as the Lamborghini of pearls, the South Sea Pearls are mostly harvested from the Republic of the Philippines and the subcontinent of Australia, the Land Down Under.

South Sea pearls can be massive, and the largest South Sea pearl that was harvested by a Filipino fisherman some years ago is now valued at $100 million.

South Sea pearls come in a variety of shapes, from the classic perfectly round ones to baroque and drop. The average size of South Sea pearls is eight to twelve millimeters, while others measure in at ten to fourteen millimeters. If you are looking for jewellery that was designed to wow and blow away the competition, we highly recommend getting South Sea pearls.

Where Are They Found?

French Polynesia Pearl

Islands around Micronesia, Fiji and French Polynesia are famous for pearl farming.

Currently, pearls are harvested from different parts of the world: the United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Vietnam, China, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Fiji, Cook Islands, and French Polynesia. Young or juvenile pearl oysters are either harvested in the wild or are grown in pearl farms as well, in separate hatcheries that have independent breeding programs.

The current call is for sustainability in culturing oysters because oysters die upon harvest. If they are not bred in captivity, we would efficiently run out of oysters in the wild. A spat collection of Pinctada Margarifitera oysters is done in French Polynesia.

In places like Australia, some pearl farms collect adult oysters in the wild, but they have a strict system that puts a quota on how much a pearl farm can harvest or capture in the wild. Again, this is in line with environmental sustainability efforts.

How much do Pearls worth?

The value of a pearl is determined by evaluating 6 different factors: the type of pearl in question, the size of the pearls, the colour of the pearls, the shape, the luster, and the surface quality of the pearl.

1. Type of Pearls

Depending on the harvesting method of the pearl, the value may differ a lot. Usually sea cultivated pearls are more valuable than freshwater pearls. And Pearls harvested South Sea are the most valuable across the globe.

2. Size does matter

Size does matter of course! The larger and heavier the pearls, the more valuable they are.

3. The whiter, the more expensive

In terms of color, conventional white pearls can be categorised by 3 main colors: cream, ivory and white. The whiter the pearls, the pricer it is. Silvery grey is somehow regarded as white pearls category. The above is true for conventional pearls Only. There is a variety of black colored pearls, with a tint of purple, green, chocolate colors. And their prices are not only calculated by their colors, but the rareness and quality.

4. Shapes of Pearls

Rounder and perfectly spherical pearls are more valuable. Still, in individual cases, when a pearl is more significant than usual, the perceived value of the said pearl increases, as is the case of the 26-inch pearl found by a Filipino fisherman. In this case, the size precedes all other factors for the valuation of the pearl.

5. Lustre

Pearls should also express natural lustre. Dull pearls or those that have poor surface lustre will have a lower value.

6. Surface Quality

And finally, jewelers also take a look at the surface quality of the pearls. What we are looking at here is how perfect the pearls’ surfaces look like. If there are plenty of blemishes, the pearls are downgraded.

Pearl necklace

South Sea pearls are the most expensive pearls.

What are their average prices ranges?

• South Sea pearls – $1,000 to $100,000
• Tahitian pearls – $500 – $25,000
• Akoya pearls – $300 – $10,000
• Freshwater pearls – $50 – $2,000

Pearls, like high-quality gemstones, rarely lose their value over time. As long as the pearls are taken care of properly, they will still be valuable after several decades.

Vintage pearl jewellery can easily fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auctions and sales. People love pearls because they can be kept for generations and passed on to each succeeding generation as an heirloom piece.

Don’t worry if you can’t buy the most expensive pieces of pearl right now. But we do recommend investing wisely if you want to reap the dividends later on as the price of your investment steadily increases over time.

RELATED READING: How to Tell if a Pearl is Real by Touch and Visual Test?

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How much are pearls worth

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