Tips For Buying Pearls
Buying pearls should be a very tactile experience as well as visual. The nacre IS the pearl and that is what you will be judging. Of course, the design of the piece is part of your decision, but that is personal. I want you to get the best pearls and here are a few suggestions to help you make that decision.
Pick up the strand of pearls or earrings and run your fingers over the surface. It should be smooth as well as a glowing surface. High end pearls, such as Akoya Pearls and South Sea Pearls should have a shiny-lustrous surface, without blemishes. Avoid chalky dull pearls that are poor quality with thinner nacre. If it is a strand of pearls that you are judging, lay it out in a line and roll it back and forth with your palms. Does the light from the pearls "blink"? This shows that the nacre is uneven and the dark and light that you see are an uneven surface.
Where were these pearls cultured? A smart designer or pearl salesman will know where their pearls originated.
What color do you like best? There are the bright whites to the pinkish Akoyas and silvery Tahitians to the Goldens of some South Sea Pearls.
Round pearls are the most rare and expensive, but Baroque shapes are the most interesting.