1. Tahitian South Sea Pearls are also referred to as Black South Sea Pearls tend to be larger than any other pearl. But unlike the name, they come in a huge variety of colors and are known for their gorgeous mirror-like luster. These pearls come from the Pinctada Margaritifera Oyster that is found only in Tahiti and a few parts of the French Polynesian Islands.
2. Freshwater Pearls are pearls that are typically found in lakes and rivers in China and Japan. They are found within mollusks known as mussels. Freshwater Pearls tend to be naturally white or pink in color.
3. There is no industry standard pearl grading system yet, but the two major pearl grading systems are AAA-A system and the A-D system. In the AAA-A system, AAA is the highest rating given to pearls that are considered virtually flawless with very high luster, and at least 95% of a clean surface that is free from defects. AA is the second highest grading in which the pearls still contains very high luster, but is at least 75% free of defects. The last grading is A, in which the pearl contains a lower amount of luster and at least no more than 25% defects shown on the surface.
4. For the A-D system, A has the highest rating in which the pearl has a very high luster and only minor imperfections of over less than 10% of its surface. The next grade is B, which has high or medium luster, and the surface may have some visible imperfections but no more than 30% of its area. C graded pearls have medium luster, with surface imperfections over not more than 60%. The last grading, D, may have many slight defects (but no deep ones) that spread over 60% of its surface. And in terms of luster, a D graded pearl is irrelevant because the surface blemishes are taken more into account. Anything below the standard grading of D cannot be used in jewelry.
5. Another factor to consider for picking pearls is the thickness of the nacre (the crystalline substance that creates the iridescence in pearls), which generally determines pearl durability over time. For instance, thicker nacre would be stronger and longer-lasting than one that is thinner.
6. Pearl luster is the measurement of quality and quantity of light that reflects from the surface and just under the surface of the pearls. Luster is basically the reflective quality or brilliance of the surface of the pearl nacre. Saltwater pearls tend to reflect more than freshwater. And pearls that contain low luster appear to have a chalky and white look.
7. Pearls come in a variety of shapes because they are a natural organic substance. Every pearl has a slightly different shape. The most commonly known are the rounded shaped pearls, but the perfectly rounded pearls are actually quite rare. Pearls shapes are divided into three main categories: Spherical (perfectly or nearly round), Symmetrical (balanced and regular), and Baroque (irregular or abstract). More specifically, the second basic pearl shapes are: Round, Near-Round (extremely rare), Oval, Button (slightly flattened into a disk-like button), Drop (teardrop-shaped), Semi-Baroque, and Baroque.
8. In terms of color, pearls range from an entire selection of black to white. Other natural colors are silver, cream, champagne, gold, green, and blue. However, although two pearls can contain the same color, they may still have different overtones, giving it a much different look.
9. Another thing to consider with pearls is the size. The size has a direct connection to the price of the pearl and its quality. For instance, larger pearls command higher prices (but also considering all the other factors). The size of the pearl is measured by its diameter in millimeters. Most pearls today tend to be sold within the range of 6.5-7.5mm.
10. Lastly, taking all these factors into consideration, when choosing pearls, one must select one based on their own personal preference whether it is the shape, color, size, etc.
Hope these essential basic tips are helpful! To find out more information on pearls or where to purchase some pearl jewelry, feel free to contact or drop by the INTA Gems store.