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There Are Many Aspects To Choosing Quality Pearl Jewelry

It seems like every woman has, or wants, a beautiful set of pearls. They're elegant, go with just about everything, and make the woman wearing them feel special. Many women got pearls for graduation, or their sixteenth birthday, or in commemoration of some other special event, and although pretty, they most-likely were not top-shelf quality. If you're ready to surprise that special woman in your life with the best pearl necklace she's ever owned, here are some pointers that can help you choose the best.

Grading pearls is not unlike grading any other precious stone. The particular qualities are slightly different, but what makes them valuable remains the same. Pearls are graded on luster, color, size, shape, number and size of imperfections, and, in the case of a multi-pearl jewelry, how well-matched the set is. Pearls all start out the same way - as a grain of sand stuck in a mollusk. The sand, an irritant, gets coated with a layer of an organic material called nacre, an becomes the start of a pearl.

As pearls are harvested, graders value each pearl based first on its luster. This is the most important quality of a pearl. A pearl with high luster will show light reflecting off of the different layers of nacre within the pearl's structure. The more layers, the more reflected light, and the diffraction of that light from the pearl sets its base value. Pearls with high luster look as though you could reach down deep inside them and touch the center.

Shape, color, and size combine for the next level of a pearl's value. Round pearls tend to be the most valuable, although many collectors look specifically for those with very unusual shapes. Pearls come in a variety of colors from white to black, and include almost every variation of a color in between, including cream, pink, green, gray, blue, and golden. Some pearls actually reflect different colors of light when viewed from different angles. Color is usually a personal preference for the woman more than anything else, but black and white pearls are the most popular.

Last but not least come size and surface quality. Large pearls are obviously more valuable, but only if the surface isn't covered with imperfections and flaws. It's almost impossible to find a flawless pearl, but the closer you get, the more expensive they get. And how well the pearls match when placed together in the jewelry determines the ultimate final price of the set.

Great pearls don't come cheap. A good set can cost over $1000 dollars. But when you consider their timeless beauty, their increasing rarity, and how special they will be to your special woman, they're a bargain-and-a-half.