Pearls are a must-have for anyone who is into elegant and sophisticated fashion, which is why everything that is about classic styles always features pearls in one form or the other. Pearl necklaces are without a doubt the ultimate definition of elegance, and if you’re looking for an accessory that says elegance in the simplest of ways, we’d recommend pearls.
But how are you able to tell if the pearl necklace you are considering is valuable? And more importantly, what makes valuable pearl necklaces?
Anyone interested in pearl jewelry should only wear the very best of this kind of jewelry, which we believe is made of the best quality pearls.
In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about the most valuable pearls and what the tell-tale signs of these pearls are. So, keep reading to learn all about the valuable pearl necklaces.
How to tell if a pearl necklace is valuable
There are several elements that determine the value of pearls and pearl necklaces, but we’ll first note that the value of your pearl necklace will be, above all other elements, be determined by the type of the pearls, whether cultured or natural.
This will be followed by the color, shape, size, surface, luster, and the nacre quality of the pearls.
Generally, the price of the classic while pearls strand will range from $100 for the freshwater cultured pearls to at least $10,000 for the South Sea and Akoya pearls. What this means is that if you come across pearl necklaces that are sold too cheaply, it would mean that the necklaces are made of faux or fake pearls made of cheap materials like glass or plastic, among other materials. Beyond the type or the source of the pearls, you also need to lay focus on the size and the shape of the pearls. This is important because some types of pearls are priced much higher than others because of their sizes, which is why the extra-large pearls, specifically the South Sea pearl necklaces, can cost or be valued at $100,000.
In other words, you can tell if the pearls are valuable or not by taking the following considerations into mind:
Type – as mentioned above, the most valuable pearls are the South Sea pearls
Size – the larger natural/ organic pearls are much more valuable than, the smaller pearls.
Color – while pearls come in a large variety of colors, the most expensive pearls on the market today are the South Sea pearls, which are naturally occurring pearls that are naturally the color of gold or available in some shades of white. The gold pearls of the South Sea, for example, are generally larger than the mollusks that make the cultured Japanese pearls, and with the unique color of the pearls, you are left with the most valuable pearls and necklace. Generally, the cultured and natural pearls are available in a wide range of hues ranging from pink, green and violet, to yellow, orange, and blue. The tones of these colors will not be specific, and they often range from light-colored to darker ones. But in most cases, the most valuable pearls come in rather muted, soft, and subtle colors.
Also, regarding the color of the pearls, there are three components to keep in mind – the dominant color of the pearls, the overtone that is often one or even more translucent colors over the color of the pearl’s body; and the orient. Orient is considered the shimmer of various iridescent rainbow colors that are seen either on the pearl or just below the surface of the pearls.
Shape – the most valuable pearls are the ones that are most rounded
Luster – if the pearls have the most lustrous shine with a green or pink overtone, they will be quite valuable. The luster can be excellent (bright and sharp reflections), very good (near sharp and bright reflections), good (bright but not sharp reflections with a slight haze), fair (blurred and weak), or poor (diffused and dim)
Surface Quality – pearls with many blemishes have a lower value than the ones that are almost perfect. Like the lack of perfection in the colors of gemstones, pearls are also never perfect, and you may notice some abrasions or surfaces. This is seen in natural and cultured pearls often. But despite pointing to the source of the pearls, some of the imperfections on the surface may leave ridges and creases that are just too severe, affecting the overall durability of the pearls, subsequently lowering the value of the pearls. So what do you look for invaluable pearls? Well, the valuable pearls will have few imperfections on the surface.
Nacre quality – The nacre quality is a factor that is closely related to the luster of the pearls. In terms of the nacre quality, you need to look at whether the pearl’s nucleus is visible under the nacre or not – meaning it has more of a chalky and a dull nacre on the pearl, which translates to a thin nacre and loss of luster. High nacre quality – which means a thicker nacre translates to more durable and valuable pearls.
Essentially, the most valuable pearls are often the ones that are very rare. The rarest pearls are the larger pearls, the white and gold pearls, or the ones with pink and green overtones, as well as the perfectly round pearls.
The good news is that yours can still be a valuable pearl necklace, even with imperfectly rounded pearls, because this is what is often expected of genuine pearls, whether natural or cultured.
Essentially, the fake pearls that are made by machines are the only ones that will always be perfectly rounded, and they will also be affordable.
The pearl necklaces made of real natural pearls are never perfectly round, and they may only have a few pieces that are perfectly round, which is what makes them valuable and highly-priced.
Are old pearl necklaces worth anything?
The adage ‘Old is Gold’ makes us believe that anything old/ ancient is worth something, but this is not always true. It might be the case when it comes to solid gold, platinum, or solid sterling silver jewelry, but even these have to be verified because they could be plated. Unfortunately, this applies to pearls as well. Though cherished, with sentimental value, and you hope that you might get something off them, most of the old and inherited pearls often end up to be imitation pearls.
It’s sad, yes. But the truth is that that a look at the finances of folks from one or two generations ago will tell you that these people could not afford the price tag on the real pearls. And with the glamor associated with pearls, they wore fake pearls. These pearls also come without certifications, which only points to the fact that they are certainly not genuine.
To make sense of things, let’s look at the Pearl Age and Provenance. Essentially, the fact that your great-grandmother, who was born before the 1879 Rorke’s Drift battle left pearls means that the pearls were not even hers. This is because the genuine pearls (cultured) were brought to the US, Europe, and the rest of the world by servicemen from Australia and the Far East.
Still, think the pearls are genuine? Take a look at the following elements:
- Color of the pearls– most fake pearls have a yellow tinge (but then, real pearls turn yellowish and become dry if kept in the dark boxes for too long). This isn’t conclusive.
- Thread and clasp– Genuine old pearls have decently-fitted clasps made of solid gold or platinum and not cheap or plated filigree clasps. The real pearls are also knotted or silk threaded between the pearls to prevent the pearls from rubbing against each other. Cotton or twine point to imitation pearls.
If you still think the pearls are real and worth something, have a professional assess them. You also need to bear in mind the fact that advances in technology mean the development of pearls whose quality beats the quality of your grandma’s pearls.
Value of 50-year-old pearl necklace?
If you want to know if the 50-year old pearls are genuine and valuable, the first thing you need to check is the size of the pearls. The natural (cultured) pearls from the 50s, 60s, and 70s were between 4mm and 6mm in size, not bigger.
The style of the pearl necklace is equally important. Pearl necklaces that are 50+ years old would be designed or featured in the graduated necklace style, which would mean a bigger 7mm central pearl and 3mm pearls on the ends.
A 50-year old pearl necklace would be valuable. The necklace would cost anything from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The price will depend on the quality of the pearls and if the pearls were cultured or harvested from the ocean.
You can tell a lot about the value of a pearl necklace by looking at its nacre quality, surface quality, color, luster, shape, and size. Follow the guideline above to determine if the pearls on your necklace are worth anything.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.