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The Seven Factors that Determine the Value of Pearls

The seven factors that determine the value of your pearl earrings, brooches, bracelets and strands of pearls are:
  • "Size
  • Shape
  • Color
  • Luster
  • Surface Quality
  • Nacre Quality
  • Orient"
as described by the Gemological Institute of America. Pearl Size Pearls are measured in millimeter (mm) size and equals one measure of value. Rarity is a major factor in value as well. For instance, the standard size of an akoya pearls is 6 – 7 mm but a larger 15mm akoya is considered more valuable because of its size and rarity. Other shapes of pearls, such as baroque pearls are measured by length and width. "Pearl Shape - There are seven pearl shapes but are grouped in three  categories. Spherical – Appears round or near round Symmetrical - Shape that would be considered round if pearl was divided in half.
  • Oval:  Shape that would be considered round if pearl was divided in half
  • Button:  Rounded with flat or domed top
  • Drop:  Teardrop
  • Baroque:  Pearls that have an irregular shape
  • Semi-baroque -Shape is slightly irregular
  • Baroque - Shape of irregularity is more noticeable"
also as described by the Gemological Institute of America. Shape The round pearl is considered more valuable because it is more difficult to culture. It makes the perfect pearl ring. The most valuable pearl for strands of pearls are the akoya because of their uniformity of size and shape.   Symmetrical pearls are considers the next most valuable and baroque are considered the least valuable. Color of Pearls Pearls come in a variety and saturation of color from white to silver black, cream and brown as well as fancy colors such as pink, yellow, orange, green, blue and violet. Pearls may have overall body color, one or more colors or an incandescent play of color.  Factors such as skin tone, fashions of the time as well as supply and demand determine value. Pearl Luster Luster is probably the most important component as it relates to value. Cooler colored pearls have more luster and are considered more valuable. Surface Quality of Pearls Pearls that have a blemish free surface are considered more valuable than pearls that are heavily blemished. Nacre Quality A valuable pearl would have high quality nacre, the secretion that form around an irritant in a mollusk and it would have high luster. The thin layers of nacre one on top of another permit better passage of light and reflection. Orient Orient determines value because of its beauty, thickness of nacre, and its rarity and desirability.        

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