How much are pearls worth?

Pearls are the most unique type of organic gem. They are the only gemstone which comes from a living creature. Their value depends on many factors, like size of the pearl, luster, shape and if it's surface is clean or not. The oyster that it has come from has a great impact on the final price of the pearl.

Pearls, unlike diamonds, don´t have a standardized system for grading them and estimate their value. An expert should appraise them by following these quality factors:

Pearl Quality Factors

Size. The bigger, the better.


Shape. Round Pearls are more valuable than teardrop or baroque drop shapes, although there are precious pieces of Jewelry created with these pearls.


Color. Depends on each type pearl. On Golden South Sea Pearls, the deeper, the better. They should be golden, not Yellow. In the case of White South Sea Pearls, the color should be “paper“ white.


Luster The market values more the metallic luster, in the pearls with a high luster, you can see the reflection of the person in them.


Surface The cleaner, the better. Pearls usually have birthmarks, which may impact on their value.


Nacre The thicker, the better.


Matching The Jeweler who created the Necklace or Pair of Earrings should pick pearls which match on Color.

Although there are many kinds of pearls, those are the most common four:

  • South Sea Pearls: They come from Pinctada Maxima Oyster, and they are the larger pearls, its size goes from 9 mm to 18 mm. They are considered the most valuable type of pearls, a South Sea Pearl Necklace can range from 1.000$ to 80.000$. It´s color can be White or Golden, and their nacre is extremely thick, from 2 - 4 mm. In contrast with Hyriopsis cumingi, which produces many pearls per oyster, Pinctada Maxima only produces one pearl per oyster, and that makes South Sea Pearls much rarer than other types of pearls.
  • Akoya Pearls: They come from Pinctada Fucata Oyster. First pearls to be cultivated by Mikimoto Kōkichi. They grow on smaller sizes than South Sea Pearls. A Good Necklace of Akoya Pearls could go from 1300 $ to 10000 $.
  • Tahitian Pearls: They are mainly cultivated on Tahiti, French Polynesia. They come on a wide range of dark colors, being these more diverse in Mangareva pearls. A Black Pearl Necklace of Tahiti Pearls could go for 2000$-5000$. 
  • Freshwater Pearls: They are mainly produced on China, Hyriopsis cumingi (the best), Cristaria plicata and Anodonta woodiana. They are the most cultivated pearls in the world, and their value could go from 300 - 1500 $.
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