J ewellery is often such an emotional purchase, particularly when you find a piece to fall in love with or are buying a gift for someone special. It is still always worth doing a little research beforehand to understand its quality, how and where the jewellery has been designed and made. One of the most eye-catching and classic gemstones is still unquestionably the pearl and is a favourite of women around the world for its timeless qualities. Even this beautiful organic gem, created in a living mollusc is not well understood. With so much diversity in the quality of pearls used for making luxury jewellery, a little knowledge can go a long way.

So, what questions should you ask before purchasing a gift of pearls for a loved one? Let’s take a look at some of the main questions that will be beneficial when buying pearl gifts:

Choosing a Pearl:


O ne of the first things to realise with pearls is that there are many different types of pearl, colours shapes and qualities to choose from. Although the classic white pearl necklace or earrings is still a favourite item in our jewellery collections, each pearl type is unique and lends itself to a different style of jewellery.

There are many factors that determine a pearl’s quality, but perhaps the most important is the pearl’s lustre. Choose a pearl that has a sharp reflective shine that will catch the light and you will be truly treated to a beautiful piece of jewellery.

The Size and Shape of the Pearl:


M ost pearls are cultured in the Far East and South Pacific and their size can vary quite significantly, depending on the type of pearl and how long they are cultured for. Smaller Freshwater and Akoya pearls (tend to be reach a maximum size of 10mm), whilst larger pearls cultured in the French Polynesia, Indonesia, the South Sea Pacific and Australia can reach up to 18mm in diameter. When buying pearls as a gift, the size that you purchase will change the look and price of the jewellery. In general a 7-8.5mm pearl is a popular and easy to wear size.

Which Colour to Choose:


P eople are amazed when they discover the many different natural colours of pearls and this diversity is one of the qualities which makes pearl jewellery so sought after.

White pearls are, of course, the most classic colour of pearls, but with a little work you can also buy pearls in a multitude of other less conventional colours including aubergine, orange, pink, silver and black pearls. One of the most striking, and luxurious colours of pearl, however, is gold and these will typically have been cultured in saltwater oysters in the Philippines and Indonesia.

Classic Beauty:


F or those buying gifts this autumn and winter, there are so many great reasons to think about pearl jewellery. Wedding anniversary gifts for a 30th pearl anniversary, birthdays, Christmas or just as a surprise for a loved one, the popularity of this subtle and understated gem is as high as ever. As well as classic earrings and necklaces, designers are also creating jewellery with pearls in more contemporary and fashionable designs.

The first and foremost thing to remember when choosing your pearls is to find a retailer who is experienced in pearl grading and understands how the beauty of this gemstone can be shown off to its fullest.

All images are used with permission of Winterson Jewellery.