A Glossary of Professional Terms
Cultured pearls are a joy to own and wear. Beautiful and versatile, they go as well with a simple black dress as they do with jeans and a blazer. Whether you are planning to purchase a strand of pearls as a gift or as an important piece of jewelry for yourself, it is a good idea to understand how cultured (and natural) pearls are evaluated. The following is a glossary of terms the professionals use to determine pearl’s value.
Orient is the deep inner glow of a natural or cultured pearl. A deep luster and iridescence increase the value of pearl.
Size is an important determinant of pearl’s value. Larger pearls are rarer, as it is difficult for mussels to grow larger pearls and it takes a longer time. Size is one factor only, however. Two pearls of identical size will differ in value depending on other quality characteristics.
In the case of pearls, the more symmetrical, the more valuable. Desirable shapes are round, pear shape and tear shape. Irregular and asymmetrical pearls are called baroque.
• Surface Perfection
A satiny smooth surface is most desirable and valuable. Disfiguring blemishes that are visible to the unaided eye detract from pearl’s value.
Cultured pearls (those farmed and harvested by man) are relatively rare despite man’s intervention. There are a limited number of areas that pearls grow well on earth and even in ideal conditions, pearls take years to grow.