You’re at the right place if you’re looking for best places to buy pearls online. In this article, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about pearl jewelry and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about them including:
- What are some of the factors to consider when looking for pearl jewelry online?
- Are pearls ideal for engagement rings?
- What are some of the red flags to look out for when shopping for pearl jewelry online?
- How does I know I’m getting a good deal?
What are Pearls?
Pearls are one of the most popular gemstones around the world. For the most part, they are cited in vintage and socialite wear. You’ve probably seen a pearl jewelry growing up.
Pearls are the birthstone for those born in the month off June. A pearl is made by a living creature known as a mollusk. What’s more, there are different types of pearls created by different mollusks. We’ll delve deeper into the details later.
People have different preferences when it comes to pearls. There are some that like a strand of pearls while others prefer mixing up the pearls with other different gemstones. Are pearls the right jewelry for you? Keep scrolling to find out!
Best Places to Buy Pearls Online
If you’re in a rush, here’s a highlight of some of the best places to buy pearls online from reputable dealers online.
Best Places to Buy Pearls Online
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
James Allen offers a wide range of pearl jewelry in different prices ranging from $500 to $6000. The prices are standard for high quality pearls with no middle man or premium. The company has Tahitian pearls, Akoya pearls and South Sea pearls with a variety of freshwater pearl jewelry.
James Allen is hands down the best place to buy your pearls online. When it comes to pearl jewelry James Allen usually gives their customers a range of options to choose from whether they’re looking for large or small pearls.
Luster is one of the most important factors that you need to put into consideration when looking for pearls online. Luster is the reflection of light on the pearl’s surface. James Allen displays the luster in action thanks to their 360 degrees viewing technology unlike its counterparts that only show customers the images of the pearls they have in store.
Look at these beautiful pink pearl earrings and pink sapphire set in 14K and check out the 360 view.
AVAILABLE ON JAMESALLEN
You’ll see the beauty of the light reflection on the earrings and the iridescence when you spin them slowly. James Allen is a transparent company with high quality products and great prices and pearls are no exception.
The best thing about pearl jewelry from James Allen is that they come with a lifetime warranty at no extra cost. The warranty covers metalwork like cleaning, polishing, stone tightening and rhodium. Plus, you get to resize your ring in a year for free.
- They offer free lifetime warranty
- They have a wide selection of pearls
- They have great prices
- Crystal clear 360 degrees view
- There’s no certification of the pearl jewelry
Blue Nile offers a range of pearl jewelry pieces. They sell premium grade pearls but they’re all cultured. When it comes to different types of pearls, this brand carries both white and gold South Sea pearls. Tahitian pearls and Akoya pearls.
The cost of pearl jewelry from Blue Nile starts at $250 thereabout and goes up exponentially. For the most part, relatively cheap freshwater pearls are usually less than $500. However, pearls with unique names fall on the higher side of the pricing spectrum. Take an example of this exquisite strand of pearls with 18K gold clasp.
AVAILABLE ON BLUENILE
Blue Nile is the way to go if you’re looking for unique baroque pearls. However, they are quite expensive for baroque shapes. They have a 30-day return policy, offer free shipping and returns. What’s more, they have a manufacturer’s warranty on all their products.
The best thing about the Blue Nile pearl collection is that they offer unique and rarely seen pearl settings. The brand carries fine high end pearl jewelry pieces. Plus, it’s a reputable online company when it comes to jewelry.
All jewelry from Blue Nile come with manufacturer’s warranty. This means that they fix any issues with the pearl jewelry including the gemstone falling out especially if the problem keeps recuring. They’ll cover the pearl jewelry in case of a design flaw with an exception of wear and tear.
You might have to dig deeper into your pockets for any rhodium plating or repairs for white gold jewelry.
- They have a larger collection
- They carry a wide variety of pearl jewelry
- They have both cultured and natural pearls
- They have a high-quality pearl collection
- Warranty only covers repairs with no room for wear and tear
- Most of their jewelry pieces are costly
Brilliant Earth is a renowned online retailer known to sell a wide range of gemstone jewelry. Their main focus in the diamond industry is to give back to the community and other collections help in the same cause.
Their pearl jewelry collection is perfect especially because they don’t specialize in that line. Brilliant Earth have more than 40 pearl jewelry pieces and half of them are pearl earrings and necklaces. They carry six pearl rings only. However, the rings are more of a fashion statement than it is a typical engagement ring.
In addition, Brilliant Earth carries a number of baroque pearl jewelry. Check out these pearl drop earrings from their collection!
AVAILABLE ON BRILLIANTEARTH
Brilliant Earth carries freshwater cultured pearl jewelry or Akoya pearls. You might want to try out the other companies on our list if you’re looking for Tahitian or South Sea pearls.
In the spirit of giving back to the society, all pearl jewelry from Brilliant Earth are made from recycled materials. This means that they are environment-friendly. Plus, the company also gives you eco-conscious packing materials and a jewelry box made of wood.
The best thing about Brilliant Earth is that they give their customers the paid repair service plan option. The plan lasts up to three years and you can choose whether or not to re-up it. The price depends on the cost of the product you purchased.
The only downside is that this information is not readily available on the site which means you have to go digging for it. You can miss it if you don’t ask around. After making a purchase online, the warranty then has to be called and added on.
- They use recycled metals to make their jewelry
- Their collection is medium-sized
- They have a range of high-quality pearls
- They provide eco-conscious packing materials and wooden jewelry box
- They have few rings
- They only have Akoya and freshwater pearls
You are better off making a purchase online instead of going to the physical store location when buying pearl jewelry from Kay Jewelers. This is because their physical store has a smaller pearls collection.
They used to sell lots of Mikimoto pearls on Valentine’s and Mother’s Day back in the day. Kay’s Jewelers in-store collection features freshwater cultured pearls without a known origin set with cubic zirconia or white sapphires instead of natural diamond.
You might want to try your luck online if you’re looking for Tahitian black pearl jewelry or White South Sea pearls. For instance, you might find chocolate pearls visually appealing.
A chocolate pearl is a Tahitian pearl that has been bleached to give it a velvety and rich brown color. Most companies usually brand these types of pearls like LeVian and Kay’s partner. Here’s an example of a chocolate pearl ring set in 14K rose gold with vanilla diamonds and LeVian’s chocolate.
AVAILABLE ON KAY
However, when you hear a big brand name like LeVian, always know that you’ll have to dig deeper into your pockets. You can find a cheaper chocolate pearl jewelry online. If you prefer unique pieces then LeVian is the way to go.
Kay Jewelers have no warranty for the pearl itself. However, they offer warranty at no extra cost for accompanying side gemstones like diamonds. In this case, you have to get it checked at one of their physical locations every six months and they’ll replace it for you.
However, you’ll need to pay for the metalwork of setting the pearls and stones. The extended service plan will also come in handy if you want your rhodium, chains and prongs covered. The price is determined by a sliding scale for each item.
LeVian pearl jewelry has no ESP. However, the brand warranties their jewelry through the famous Kay Jewelers in a month.
- They have a lot of products online
- Their pearl jewelry collection is quite affordable
- They give their customers an option to get warranty
- Their choices are a bit boring
- LeVian is quite expensive for unique pearls
Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Pearls Online
Are pearls ideal for exquisite engagement rings?
Pearls are among the softest gemstones in the jewelry industry although they’re not best suited for engagement rings.
Pearls rate at 2.5 on Mohs hardness scale out of 10 while diamonds stand at 10 which makes it the hardest mineral on earth. Pearls are softer making them more susceptible to scratch. This means that they require special care and maintenance especially when it comes to ring settings. However, most jewelry stores sit on this valuable information.
Pearls might not be great for engagement rings but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t work. You can wear pearl jewelry as an engagement ring with proper care. Loose pearls either come undrilled or drilled.
Cultured pearls usually have drilled holes. Undrilled pearls, on the other hand, need X-ray to help determine whether they are cultural or natural.
To be on the safe side, always consider every pearl jewelry cultured unless stated otherwise explicitly. Drilled pearls tend to limit jewelry designs and are equally low quality. In this case, ask for their undrilled counterparts.
RECOMMENDED: How to Care for Pearls
Are Pearls Expensive?
The cost of pearls varies depending on a number of factors. For instance, natural pearls are relatively expensive even though cultured pearls can also fall on the higher side of the pricing spectrum as well. The price of most pearls usually depends on accompanying melee stones, the amount of metal in it and the setting.
Cultured freshwater pearl jewelry, on the other hand, are relatively cheap as compared to other pearls with names including Tahitian, South Sea or Akoya. Freshwater pearls fall on the lower side of the pricing spectrum when it comes to jewelry retailers.
What are some of the things you need to look out for when looking for pearl jewelry online?
By now, you have already heard about 4C’s – a diamond grading system that was put in place by the Gemological Institute of America. The same system applies to colored gemstones. Pearls, on the other hand, don’t have an official system of grading.
However, there are some things that differentiate between low- and high-end pearls.
Pearls have a desirable shape even though they’re not cut like faceted gemstones. Finding round pearls is no easy feat especially if you’re going for an entire strand. White round pearl rings are relatively cheaper than a whole strand that consists of about 48 pearls.
The price of the pearls tends to drop if the pearl jewelry are teardrop shaped or oval. Irregular shaped pearls on a strand are even cheaper. Perfectly round pearls, on the other hand, are more valuable although different sizes and shapes of pearls have become mainstream.
Most people prefer other pearl shapes to the round ones like seeds. You might have to dig deeper into your pockets if you want round pearl jewelry.
Colored gemstones are more valuable in the GIA system and are usually graded by their saturation, color tone and hue. Pearl colors are quite different and challenging to dissect.
Pearls have base colors on the body as well as the orient – the color overtone. A brighter light on the pearl jewelry distinguishes the body color of the pearl and overtone color or orient. Check out the images below and notice how light separates the rainbow-like orient on the cultured black pearls.
When it comes to the color of the body, there are other types of more valuable pearl colors. White is one of the most prized pearl colors. South Sea pearls, Akoya pearls and freshwater pearls come in white body colors as well.
Tahitian black pearls are equally coveted type of pearls. These pearls feature greenish to grayish body color. However, there are other different types of pearl colors that are less common but valuable owing to their rarity. Some of these pearl colors include pink, purple, blue, gold and red pearl strands. It’s difficult to obtain natural pearls in these colors.
You can dye the pearls if they’re of the same color. An orient is an iridescent sheen in pearls. An overtone color, on the other hand, is when pearl jewelries show larger blotches of a different color on the body. A white pearl with a pink overtone is considered desirable and rare.
A perfect example of an orient is a Tahitian pearl. In most cases, they usually have purple, pink, rainbow and green orient. There are times when the orient is said to be a peacock-colored orient. Akoya pearls with pinkish overtones are the most valued of pearls on the market while their blue counterparts are rare.
Some treated pearl jewelry can imitate these looks. However, natural pearls are quite expensive. Getting hold of South Sea gold pearls naturally is not a walk in the park but their treated counterparts are a lot easier to find.
South sea gold pearls are rare in the pearl industry that’s why they are worthy investments.
The surface clarity of gemstones refers to the transparency of the stone in question when light reflects through it. You can’t see through pearls since they’re opaque in nature. Gemstones are either transparent, opaque or translucent.
For the most part, the pearls available on the market are opaque. However, translucent pearls are usually more desirable since they occur when nacre consists of thin layers. Freshwater and natural pearls tend to give high translucency.
The thickness of the nacre impacts significantly on the quality and value of the pearl. A thinner nacre, on the other hand, improves translucency. Most of the time, a thin nacre doesn’t cover the pearl perfectly well in a more solid layer.
The pearls tend to appear dull and dirty if the layer is uneven or too thin. The nacre also helps protect pearl jewelry from damage meaning that its durability will be compromised if the layer is too thin. One of the most important factors that you should put into consideration when choosing a pearl ring for everyday wear is the thickness of the nacre.
Pearls also have blemishes, except they’re not inclusions like the ones on faceted gemstones. The imperfections of a pearl are tiny nicks, bumps or dimples that are visible on the surface. The price can go down if the jeweler is unable to conceal the imperfections. Any imperfections on the surface can affect the luster of the pearl, which in turn, lowers the value.
The best pearls available on the market usually have relatively high luster. The pearl’s luster determines the ability of the pearl to reflect light on its surface. Luster is what separates AA grade pearls from AAA grade ones for most brands even though their pearl industry has no standard.
Under normal circumstances, gemstones are talked about in carat weight although sometimes colored stones are referred to in size. All pearls are similar. Small pearls might fall on the lower side of the pricing spectrum while larger ones are relatively expensive. Natural pearls above 8mm drastically increases the price.
Pearls come in different sizes depending on the type. For instance, South Sea pearls grow larger as compared to Akoya pearls. Besides, natural pearls in larger sizes are quite rare. Most affordable pearls that are large are usually cultured.
What are some of the red flags to look out for when shopping for pearls online?
Misrepresentation is one of the most common red flags when looking for pearl jewelry online. Generally, buying pearls online is quite overwhelming since they’re different from other gemstones.
Most people always find trouble differentiating between cultured and natural pearls. Just like their lab created and natural counterparts, the main difference between the natural and cultured pearls is in the forming process.
Natural pearls happen when irritants are introduced to the oyster or mussel in its natural habitat while cultured pearl jewelry come from different pearl farms. The farmers introduce an irritant physically to the mussel or oyster then it starts to cover it with some nacre.
The pearl market is filled with cultured pearls since they are the synthetic or lab created variants of pearls. They are typically the duplicate of pearls because not everything is bound to happen naturally. Cultured pearls cost a few hundreds as compared to the natural ones that are very expensive.
If you’re looking for some of the best natural pearls available on the market, ensure the dealer gives you a lab report with an X-ray of the pearl in question. In this case, GIA comes highly recommended as it’s one of the most reputable sources in the industry.
You can get a pearl report from Gemological Institute of America since pearls don’t have official grading reports. A report is known as the Pearl Identification Report. It lets the customer know the type of mollusk the pearl comes from ( if its determined) whether it’s natural or cultured, freshwater or saltwater, the shape, color, size and any detectable treatments.
The Pearl Identification and Classification Report has details of the above information but goes an extra mile to include the nacre thickness, luster quality, how closer they match, surface quality and whether or not there are different pearls in one piece.
The reports help ensure you buy legitimate pearls on the market especially when buying from dealers that stock cultured pearls and make them look like they’re natural. This is possible with loose and mounted pearls.
How do I Know am getting the best deal when buying pearls online?
Here are some tips that you can use when buying pearls online to avoid being duped.
Always Examine the Pearl
There are a number of factors that make a pearl more valuable but luster plays a significant role as it impacts greatly on its value. However, you can only tell a pearl’s luster by looking at it physically. Fortunately, some online retailers like James Allen use 360 degrees view technology that allows you to see the pearl in different angles.
Be Wary of Branded Pearl Jewelry
Branded pearl jewelry cost an arm and a leg. Mikimoto is one of the most renowned names in the pearl industry since they initiated cultured pearls. Plus, their pearls are very expensive even though they’re not natural.
Bottom line – You don’t need to get your pearls from a big brand because their prices are always high and you can get the same from online retailers at a lower cost.