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Your Stylish Go-To Guide to the Most Popular Types of Pearls

Pearls have been treasured ever since first pulled from the sea. From when they were considered an exclusively royal gemstone to their inclusion on the fashion shows and red carpets across the world, pearl popularity has never stopped growing. Today, worn as a “simple” string or combined with silver or gold, pearls are a classic addition to any jewelry collection. Importantly, they are natural, organic, and environmentally-sustaining and come in all shapes and colors. What is more, pearls can be easily matched with practically every outfit women worldwide possess in their wardrobes – from casual to elegant wear and everything in between. Consequently, no wonder the 2020 jewelry trend with playful and colorful gems and oversized statement pieces spotted on the runways has included pearls as a prominent element in many jewelry creations.

With that said, owning pearl jewelry is a must! However, before you decide on your unique pearl set, let us guide you through the most popular pearl types and how you can style them with your outfits to achieve a striking and chic look.

Akoya Pearls

Akoya pearls are the most dominantly famous cultured pearls, praised for their perfectly round shape, abundance, and deep glow, unmatched in the pearl world. They are saltwater cultured pearls from the Akoya oyster (Pinctada fucata martensii). These pearls were first cultured in Japan in the 1920s by Mikimoto Kokichi. Today they are typically cultivated in Japan (particularly if their measurement is over 7 mm), China, Korea, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. When it comes to their size, Akoya pearls are typically small – ranging from 2 mm to about 11 mm. Their natural body colors can vary from light pink to white to pale yellow and green and blue-gray tones. Experts consider them a high-quality alternative to freshwater pearls, which is shown in their higher price. If you wonder how to buy Akoya pearls, consider exploring more information on all aspects of the Akoya pearl – from simple pearl basics to Akoya pearl grading and value.

How to Style Akoya Pearls?

Though Akoya pearls are available in many colors, their uniqueness comes from their shape, size, and luster. The perfectly round shape and subtle reflective shine make them perfect for making the traditional strand of white pearls. Our advice – opt for a 20 to 24 inches long pearl necklace, which is bordering casual and formal, meaning you can pair it with different outfits. You can wear it with formal wear for work or layer it with other types of necklaces and achieve an effortless and cool look for a night out or a brunch with your friends.

Tahitian Pearls

The exotic pearls with dark body colors, commonly known as Tahitian pearls, are grown in French Polynesia. They come from the black-lip mussel Pinctada margaritifera and are the only naturally “black” pearls that exist. Though often referred to as black, these pearls have a striking color range – from light and creamy white to grey, regal greens, iridescent peacock, and deep black. Tahitian pearls are bead nucleated, meaning they do not come only in a round shape, but can also be near round, baroque, or circle. Since mother nature is, in large part, “responsible” for their form, round Tahitian pearls are more valued than baroque pearls.

How to Style Tahitian Pearls?

Tahitian pearls are among the most exquisite pearls that a woman can own and wear. Since they are so unique, you must know how to style them right. If starting small, opt for a pair of simple dangle or stud earrings or a black pearl pendant that can be paired with other bold jewelry pieces. If you prefer a Tahitian pearl necklace, this piece of jewelry can go perfect with elegant dresses for a night at the opera or a fancy dinner out. However, keep in mind that Tahitian pearl necklaces can also look great on a leather black biker style jacket, presenting a cool and rebellious look.

South Sea Pearls

Large, elegant with a silky luster, the South Sea pearls are grown in the warm waters near Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines. Depending on the type of oyster they are cultured, they can be white, silver, or gold, and their average size is around 13 mm, with some pearls growing over 20 mm. When it comes to its shape, South Sea pearls are valued for their roundness, though they also come in baroque shapes. This pearl type is one of the rarest, with a production cycle from 2 to 4 years and an unusual thickness that gives this pearl a unique and magnificent glow.

How to Style South Sea Pearls?

Due to their color (white, cream, or gold), South Sea pearls are frequently designed in well-matched strands, often accompanied by diamonds. They are also perfect for stud earrings and rings. You can easily match these pearls with both casual or formal wear and undoubtedly expect to add a level of sophistication to your look.

Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater cultured pearls are the most famous pearls among shoppers and jewelry designers due to the range of their (natural) colors – lavender, pink, white, and the myriad of dyed options, as well as their remarkable range of sizes and shapes. What is also a contributing factor to their popularity is that Freshwater pearls are commercially available at a lower price. What sets them apart from others is that they are usually cultured in freshwater lakes and ponds, often with many pearls grown in one oyster, making them the only tissue-nucleated cultured pearl in the world. These pearls come mainly from China, generally without a bead nucleus, which makes them very durable. Cultured Freshwater pearls can come in a wide variety of sizes, from 4 mm to 12 mm and even larger. The very best freshwater pearls hold a high retail value and are practically identical to Akoya pearls.

How to style Freshwater Pearls?

Be it a Freshwater pearl necklace, bracelet, or pearl earrings, the options for freshwater pearls are literally endless. We love seeing them styled with jeans and a T-shirt. For example, try wearing darker skinnyjeans with low heels, a cardigan or blazer, and a long, double strand of lavender or pink pearls. They go equally well with pastel-colored clothing of any type.

Partying thoughts

Pearls continue to be the number one loved piece of jewelry around the world. They are an equally popular choice for formal and non-formal occasions, so owning a piece of pearls, whether as a necklace, bracelet, earrings, or even a brooch, is a must! However, before purchasing, learning more about the most popular type of pearls on the market gives you an informed start into the world of pearl ownership.

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