What to Look for in an Antique Pearl Necklace

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What to Look for in an Antique Pearl Necklace

Pearls are a naturally occurring gem that ooze elegance, luxury, and style. An antique pearl necklace is a wonderful piece of jewellery to have as part of a jewellery collection. Many different types of pearl necklaces are available, all ranging in value, quality, and price. Antique pearl necklaces may feature freshwater or saltwater pearls, natural or cultured pearls, and use pearls of varying sizes, colours, and quality.

 

Freshwater or Saltwater Antique Pearl Necklaces

Antique pearl necklaces come from either freshwater or saltwater molluscs. Freshwater pearl necklaces come from molluscs in lakes, ponds, and other bodies of fresh water. Able to be harvested many times, freshwater pearls are less expensive than saltwater pearls. Saltwater pearl necklaces are more expensive and highly sought after as they are rarer, tend to be more perfectly round in shape, and have greater lustre to them.

 

Natural or Cultured Antique Pearl Necklaces

Antique pearl necklaces may use either natural pearls or cultured pearls. An antique natural pearl necklace is generally more valuable than an antique cultured pearl necklace. The culturing of pearls, where human intervention occurs in the creating of pearls, began in around 1916. Prior to this date, pearls were only found naturally. An antique necklace dating to before 1916 will feature natural pearls, an antique necklace made after 1916 may use natural or cultured pearls. Today, the majority of pearls harvested are from cultured stocks. Although they look virtually the same, a natural pearl necklace is valuable than a cultured pearl necklace.

 

Consider the Quality of an Antique Pearl Necklace

Pearls range significantly in quality and their quality directly affects their value and price. When looking at the quality of an antique pearl necklace, one considers the size, colour, lustre, and surface of each pearl. As with other gemstones, the larger the pearl, the more valuable it is. Most pearls are either white or black. However, pearls come in a range of colours, although these other colours are quite rare, and it is uncommon to find an antique pearl necklace of a unique colour. Black antique pearl necklaces and white antique pearl necklaces are the most common types available. However, pearls may be pink, blue, orange, green, or purple in colour. A pearl's lustre is an important factor in identifying its value. The greater the lustre, or shine, the more expensive it is. A pearl with a smooth, blemish-free surface is more valuable than a blemished or non-smooth pearl surface.

 

Antique Pearl Necklace Shapes

Pearl necklaces may feature pearls of varying shapes. Pearls may be spherical, symmetrical, like a teardrop, oval, button, or pear shape, or Baroque. Baroque pearls are neither spherical nor symmetrical. A spherical, perfectly round pearl is more valuable than a symmetrical or Baroque shape pearl. Antique pearl necklaces usually feature spherical pearls, but may also feature Baroque pearl shapes.

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