Pearl Necklace Buying Guide

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Pearl Necklace Buying Guide

Pearl necklaces have always stood for elegance and grace. From vintage pearls to modern day styles, pearl necklaces are the perfect finishing touch to any outfit. Because of the wide variety of colours, shapes, and sizes of pearls, it is easy to find a pearl necklace for any style. There are three types of pearls used for necklaces: real pearls, cultured pearls, and imitation pearls. Real pearls are very rare and valuable because they are produced naturally from a living sea mollusc. Cultured pearls are tiny pearls that are placed inside shell of a mussel or oyster.

The growth process of cultured pearls gives the pearl a natural look, similar to real pearls. Imitation pearls are made with glass or plastic beads that are covered in pearl essence. Although imitation pearls are a more affordable jewellery piece, they do not contain the lustre or shine of real or cultured pearls. Pearl necklaces make a great gift for any occasion. Because of their timeless elegance, pearl necklaces are popular with people of all ages. Before purchasing a pearl necklace, it is important to understand the types of pearl necklaces and  the considerations for choosing a pearl.

Types of Pearl Necklaces

There are six different types of pearl necklaces: collar, choker, princess, matinee, opera, and rope. The difference between the six types is the necklace length. The type of pearl necklace one decidedly purchases, depends on personal preference and style. It is important to understand the different types of pearl necklaces, the length, and the style of each prior to purchase.

Type of Pearl Necklace




25cm to 30cm

Casual or evening


40cm to 45cm

Casual, business, evening or formal


43cm to 48cm

Evening, business or formal


50cm to 60cm

Casual or Business


71cm to 86cm

Evening or formal


Over 114cm


Before purchasing a pearl necklace, take into consideration when it is going to be worn and choose accordingly. While some people prefer the versatility of a choker style pearl necklace, others may prefer the elegant style of a rope necklace. Some people choose to wrap longer necklaces multiple times around their neck, while others choose to stack multiple necklaces at one time. Regardless of personal style, pearl necklaces can be the perfect addition to any jewellery collection.

Pearl Necklace Chain Options

When choosing a pearl necklace, it is also important to determine the base metal of the necklace. Many people prefer to choose precious metals, such as goldsilver, or platinum to ensure that the chain lasts as long as the pearl. Other options include necklaces with gold, silver, or platinum plating, which is more affordable since the precious metal plating is set over a base metal. The downside to plating is that the plating eventually rubs off of the necklace and expose the base metal underneath. Another affordable option is choosing a non-precious chain metal, which also do not last as long as precious metal chains.

Pearl Necklace Purchase Considerations

Aside from length, there are other considerations to purchasing a pearl necklace. Most people choose to go with cultured pearls. When choosing cultured or real pearls, there are seven main considerations to take into account.

Pearl Lustre

When choosing a pearl, the most important consideration is the pearl's lustre. Lustre is what sets real and cultured pearls apart from imitation pearls. A pearl's lustre is the reflection of light from the pearl's surface. A highly lustrous pearl shows the reflection of images onto the pearl's surface very clearly, while pearls with low lustre merely reflect blobs of colours. Luminous pearls also seem to glow because of the light's reflection off the surface, while imitation or low-grade pearls tend to look more flat.

Pearl Shape

Most cultured and imitation pearls have a more rounded shape than real pearls. Most people purchase semi-spherical or button-shaped pearls, since round pearls can be rare and expensive. Pearl shape should be uniform across the necklace, so there should not be a visible difference in pearl shapes.

Pearl Smoothness

Pearls are made up of layered calcium carbonate in minute form. Pearl smoothness depends on how evenly the layers set when the pearl was being produced inside the oyster. Uneven layers can cause blemishes within the pearl. Blemishes include scratches, dots, bubbles or wrinkles that form during the pearl's growth causing it to have an uneven surface. Pearls without any blemishes are the most expensive, and price goes down as quality decreases.

Pearl Colour

Pearls come in a wide array of different colours, which makes it easy to match with any style. The most common pearls are white or off-white, but also come in colours such as yellow, pink, silver, cream, and black. Some colours may be more expensive than others, especially if the colour is more rare, such as black. When choosing a colour for a pearl necklace, it is important to take into consideration the recipient's personal style and taste.

Pearl Size

Pearls come in many different shapes and sizes, and should be purchased based on aesthetics as well as budget. Larger pearls tend to be more expensive, so purchasing long-length with large pearls may get a bit pricey. Many people prefer large pearls despite their cost, since large pearls appear much more lustrous than small pearls. Pearls from 7.5 mm to 9.5 mm are large enough to highlight the pearl's shine.

Different types of pearls come in different shapes and sizes. Freshwater pearl necklaces are one of the most popular types of pearls, and have a size of 3.0mm to 7.0mm. Akoya pearls have a size from 6.0mm to 8.5mm. Larger pearls include South Sea and Tahitian pearls with a size of over 13mm.

Pearl Similarity

When choosing a pearl necklace, it is important to make sure all the pearls are closely matched on the necklace. Each pearl is born an individual, so no two pearls are exactly the same. However, quality pearl necklaces have similar matched pearls to create a consistent look. Any differences in shape, colour, or finish is noticeable, so it is important to look for pieces with closely matched pearls. However, the closer the pearl similarity, the more expensive the necklace.

Pearl Grade

To determine the quality of the pearl, pearls are graded based on lustre, shape, and surface quality. The highest quality pearls receive a AAA grading because of their high lustre, round shape, and little to no blemishes. Because AAA pearls are the most rare, they are the most expensive. AA are the middle grade for pearls, and A grades are the lowest.

The Tahitian grading system is based on the same properties, except the grades range from A-D instead of AAA-A. A is the highest graded pearls, and D is the lowest, with B and C in the middle range. Imitation pearls are not graded, since they are man-made and do not have the same qualities as real or cultured pearls.

How to Purchase a Pearl Necklace on eBay

eBay is the perfect place to search for a pearl necklaces, because of their large selection and prices that are often below retail. After understanding the different types of pearl necklaces, as well as the considerations for purchasing a pearl, you can make an informed decision on which type of pearl necklace fits within your taste and budget.

To begin your search for a pearl necklace, you can start by searching specific keywords on the eBay home page. If you have already decided on a specific type of pearl necklace, you can start by searching a specific phrase, such as 'choker pearl necklace'. To browse different types of necklaces and compare the different prices of each, you can search a broader term such as 'pearl necklace'. Because purchasing a pearl necklace is based on the buyer's preferences and personal style, taking the time to look through many pearl necklace options can help ensure that you make the right decision and find the perfect necklace.

Choosing the Right Seller on eBay

Since pearl necklaces can often be an expensive purchase, you can feel confident about your purchase by reading the Detailed Seller Ratings on eBay. The seller rating is based on previous eBay business transactions, and is written by eBay users who have had previous transactions with the seller. eBay Top-Rated Sellers have the highest seller ratings, ensuring the seller is someone you can trust with an expensive purchase such as a pearl necklace. 


Pearl necklaces are modest, classic pieces of jewellery that are great for people of all ages. Unlike many modern styles, pearl necklaces have withstood the test of time, and have never gone out of style. Pearl necklaces make the perfect gift for birthdays, anniversaries, mother's day, graduation, or other holidays. When purchasing the necklace as a gift, it is important to take into account the recipient's age and style, as well as when the necklace is worn. Collar necklaces fit well with people of all ages, including adolescents, because of their grace and innocence. Princess necklaces are among the most popular style of necklace because of the versatile length that they provide. Other people choose rope necklaces to tie or wrap for an elegant look. Pearl necklaces should always be purchased based on style and budget, but no matter the type, pearl necklaces are one type of necklace that is always treasured.

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