Tahitian Pearls Part II

While there is so much that we could write and teach you about Tahitian Pearls – if you read our last blog you probably have a decent basic knowledge of what they are, and what makes them so unique. In this second part, we are going to elaborate a bit more on what types of shapes they come in – as well as what to look for when making a purchase.

Many people assume that all saltwater pearls are round. A common thought is that if it has an unusual shape – then it is most likely a freshwater or natural pearl. This misconception could not be further from the truth. Freshwater pearls can also have a round like appearance, but typically are irregular in shape but also can look more oval. We have mentioned this before, but some jewelry stores will try to highlight how a pearl is “natural” – therefore more desirable and deserving of a higher price tag. Tuck this in the back of your mind, but if anyone ever tried to sell you a natural pearl – run. The harvesting of wild oysters is illegal and as a result 99.999% of all pearls on the market have been harvested in pearl farms. – So chances are if someone ever tries to sell you a “natural pearl” at best they are misleading you.

Because saltwater pearls are not cultivated in a lab and are a naturally evolving process, they can have gorgeous unique and beautiful shapes. Obviously, many people are familiar with round pearls. Since Tahitian Pearls are a larger pearl variety, they come in incredible shapes such as teardrop, oval, drop, baroque, semi round, and button. You can imagine with the incredible colors and overtones that Tahitians are famous for how these unique shapes would only accentuate their beauty.

unnamed (1)One of the things to keep in mind when selecting a pearl shape is that it is important to select the shape that appeals most to you. Generally speaking, true round pearls that are larger in size tend to be slightly more expensive, but many people find themselves preferring the unique more irregular shapes. The choice is solely yours – and you can’t make a wrong decision.

It can be very exciting to purchase your first real piece of Tahitian Pearl jewelry – but it can also be a bit overwhelming once you start to look at how pearls are graded. The good thing is that you don’t need to have full knowledge of how pearls are graded – just a basic one so that you can make an educated decision of what you are looking at. Pearls today are graded in a very similar fashion to diamonds – if you have ever heard of the 4 C’s of diamond grading then you know what we are talking about. Pearls have two types of grading systems. The most common is the AAA-A grading system – since that is the system we use, that is the one we will discuss here.

The main takeaway points for what to look for when purchasing a piece of pearl jewelry is to 1.) know that pearls all have different levels of quality and 2.) it is important to balance out each category of grading so that the piece as a whole is beautiful. You might be asking what we are referring to in our second point – well, we will tell you!

When it comes to pearls, there are three main aspects that need to be taken into account: The surface clarity, the luster and the nacre. Typically jewelers will categorize a pearl as whole, which can make it challenging to determine just what type of quality you are receiving. At Seven Seas Pearls, we grade each pearl on each individual characteristic. When you view pearls on our website you will see that each are graded individually on their clarity, luster and nacre. At Seven Seas Pearls, we have an additional rating category that describes the very few pearls that exceed the standard AAA-A grading system. You will see that these pearls are described as AAA Flawless for their clarity and AAA Gem for their luster.

Below is a detailed chart that will give a very simple and straightforward illustration as to what the main difference is between each of the gradings. As always, if you ever have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to let us know.

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Tahitian Pearls Part I

Pearls are all the same – right? Actually it surprises many people to discover that of the saltwater pearl variety, that there are three different types of pearls. If you have been staying up on our blog, then you are probably familiar with these three kinds of pearls. For those of you who are newer to the world of pearls – we will give you a crash course!

Pearls can mainly be broken into two very distinct and different categories. The first is fresh water pearls. These are pearls that are farmed in – yes, fresh water and include lakes, streams, rivers, ponds etc. The second category is saltwater pearls – these are pearls that are formed in – you guessed it; oceans. Of these two categories, saltwater pearls are considered to be more desirable, valuable and of higher quality.

At Seven Seas Pearls, we only work with saltwater pearls. Of the saltwater pearl variety, there are three types: South Sea Pearls, Akoya Pearls and Tahitian Pearls. In this blog we are going to discuss more in depth just what Tahitian Pearls are, where they are from, what makes them unique, why women love them and what to look for when making a Tahitian Pearl purchase.

As could be implied, Tahitian Pearls are called such because they are farmed in the gorgeous aqua and nutrient rich waters around the islands of Tahiti (or the French Polynesia). These stunning pearls are often referred to as “Black Pearls” and are a much sought after commodity for those who have traveled to Tahiti or have seen their incredible beauty.

Of the three types of pearls, the Tahitian Pearls are the second largest in average range of size. Typically they range from 9mm to 18mm in size. South Sea Pearls do tend to be consistently larger, and Akoya’s consistently smaller. What sets Tahitian Pearls apart from either Akoya’s or South Sea Pearls is the gorgeous metallic overtones they come in. As a general rule, Tahitian Pearls tend to have a gray or black base color. Even these tones by themselves are truly stunning. But what makes them magnificent is the overtone. For example, a Tahitian Pearl can have a gray base color – but a beautiful eggplant overtone. The combination of these two colors along with the metallic shimmer is simply stunning.

Here is a gorgeous example of some of the rich metallic colors that Tahitian Pearls are famous for:

unnamedEven though Tahitian Pearls are referred to as “Black Pearls” very few Tahitian Pearls are truly black. At Seven Seas Pearls, we are proud to showcase some of the blackest black pearls on the market today. When people come into our showroom looking for “black pearls” we enjoy showing them our black Tahitian Pearl strands – they are always amazed at how every time we pull out another strand that they become blacker – and blacker. To the point where even the original strand that our customer thought was black suddenly take on a more gray appearance.

Here is a great example of the variations of “black” Tahitian Pearls. It’s easy to see how even in a photograph that they have distinct differences in the depth and “blackness” of their color.

unnamed (2)We hope that you will join us for our next blog that will discuss the shapes of Tahitian Pearls as well as what to look for when making a purchase. If you are near the Los Angeles area, we would love for you to stop by our showroom where we can show you in person some of the amazing colors and shapes Tahitian Pearls come in. No matter how amazing the photography, it simply cannot do justice to these amazing gems of the sea.

What to Look for When Buying a Strand of Pearls

Most women dream of owning a pearl strand. If you are starting the process of trying to determine what type of pearl, what type of strand is a good fit for you – then you have come to the right place. In this blog, we are going to explore a few of the things that you should consider when making your first pearl strand purchase!

What type of pearl is right for you?

There are three types of saltwater pearls: Tahitian, Akoya, and South Sea. Each of these pearls are unique and have vastly different features. If you are looking for the “classic pearl strand” then Akoya Pearls would most likely be the best fit for you. If something a bit more bold and dramatic is what you have in mind, then Tahitian Pearls would be perfect. If you love larger pieces of pearl jewelry then we would recommend beautiful South Sea Pearls.

Here is a beautiful visual illustration of the differences upon first glance for these different types of pearl strands.

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Choosing the shape of your pearl

After selecting the type of pearl you like most, the next step is to identify the type of shape you want. Many people think that all pearls are round. While pearls are round, they also come in gorgeous drop shapes, near round, button, oval and baroque. When selecting the type of pearl shape, it’s important to simply pick the shape that you enjoy most.

Here are just a few of the beautiful types of pearl shapes you will come across in your search for a pearl strand:

unnamedSelecting the quality of your pearl strand

Now that you have selected the type of pearl you want as well as the shape – most of the choices should be done – right? The last aspect to consider when making your first pearl strand purchase is evaluating the type of quality that is important to you. As can be expected, the higher the quality, the more valuable and therefore the price of the piece is higher. Depending on your budget, we recommend selecting a higher quality pearl over a larger pearl or a specific shape. For example, perfectly round highly rated Akoya’s will fetch a higher price than near round highly rated Akoya’s. In that particular scenario, we would recommend selecting the near round pearls so the quality could be higher for a similar price.

Here is an illustration that will highlight how we at Seven Seas Pearls grade and rate pearls.

ScreenHunter_1923 Sep. 18 22.36Buying your first pearl strand is very exciting! We would love to help you find the perfect piece that suits your needs, style and budget. We invite you to explore our selection of hundreds of strands on our website and welcome any questions. If you don’t see exactly what you are looking for, please let us know. Our website holds only a small percentage of the literally thousands of pearl pieces that we have. If you are near the Los Angeles area, we would love to welcome you to our showroom. No appointment is ever needed. We look forward to meeting you soon!

Sizes of Saltwater Pearls

When it comes to diamonds, most people understand something about their size and how that size is determined. While pearls are graded in a very similar fashion to diamonds – most don’t understand what the different sizes of pearls mean. While this is a pretty in-depth topic we will do our best to give you a basic understanding of pearl sizes and how they compare to each other.

Akoya Pearls

Akoya Pearls come from the pearl farming waters of Japan and of the three saltwater varieties are the smallest in size. These pearls tend to range from 2mm all the way to the more rare size of 10mm. The average size of Akoya Pearls are between 7mm and 8mm. Many times strands will have a slight variance in order to create a perfectly matched strand. Unless it is a graduated pearl strand, this slight difference in sizes is not noticeable.

Here is a great visual of a 2mm Akoya Pearl, a 5mm, 7mm and 10mm. You can see in comparison to the penny how these vary in size.

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Tahitian Pearls

Tahitian Pearls are the second largest in size of saltwater pearls. Tahitian Pearls are farmed in the waters of the French Polynesia. These pearls range in size from 9mm to 18mm with the average size being 13mm. These gorgeous pearls come in a wide variety of unique shapes and like Akoya and South Sea Pearls they are also measured at their widest point.

Below you will see a great visual in comparison to the penny as to just how big Tahitian Pearls can be. Here you see a 9mm, a 13mm (the most common size), a 15mm and an 18mm.

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South Sea Pearls

Of saltwater pearls, South Sea Pearls are the largest in size. These incredible pieces range from 8mm all the way to our museum quality 27mm South Sea Pearl. South Sea Pearls can be smaller than 8mm in size, and if they are, they tend to be Keshi South Sea Pearls. The average size of a South Sea Pearl is between 10mm and 15mm.

Here is a great visual example of a 5mm South Sea Keshi Pearl, a 10mm, a 15mm and a 20mm South Sea Pearl. In comparison to the penny, it’s easy to see just how much bigger these beautiful pearls are.

unnamed (4)We hope that this gave a bit of perspective as to what common and more rare sizes of saltwater pearls are. If you are local to the Los Angeles area, we would love to invite you to tour our showroom. No appointment is ever needed and you are welcome at any time.

Pearl Shapes and Colors

While many people are aware that pearls come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, most assume that a pearl is a pearl. Seven Seas Pearls at this time only works with saltwater pearls. When it comes to saltwater pearls, there are three types of pearls: Akoya Pearls, South Sea Pearls and Tahitian Pearls. Each of these types of pearls come from a different oyster and are farmed in different parts of the world. When people traditionally think of pearls, many people assume that pearls are all round. While many pearls are round, they also come in gorgeous shapes such as baroque, semi-round, button, teardrop, and oval. One shape is not necessarily better than another – it is strictly preference.

In this blog we are going to give you an overview of each type of pearl and would encourage you to read other parts of our blogs for more details about each type of pearl.

Akoya Pearls

Akoya Pearls are farmed in the waters off the coast of Japan. The temperature, tide and nutrients make this the perfect farming ground for these beauties. Akoya Pearls range in color from white, ivory, blue, silver – and have a multitude of overtones that pair with these base colors. Akoya Pearls are the smallest in size of all the saltwater pearl varieties; typically they range from 2mm in size all the way up to 10mm in size. The most common size of Akoya Pearl is around 7mm. Akoya pearls are considered the “classic” type of pearls. Many women have at least one strand of Akoya pearls in their collection. Akoya pearls can be dressed up – or down depending on the occasion. Because of their size, Akoya Pearls typically are less exaggerated in the more unusual shapes in comparison to South Sea and Tahitian Pearls. Akoya Pearls are typically found in round, semi-round and baroque shapes.

unnamedTahitian Pearls

Tahitian Pearls are farmed in the waters of the French Polynesia (think Tahiti). Tahitian Pearls are found in the black lipped oyster and grow best in the shallow nutrient rich beds called atolls. Tahitian Pearls have magnificent spectrum of colors ranging from black, gray, green, purple, peacock, chocolate and eggplant. For each one of these base colors are dozens of overtones that give Tahitian Pearls a very complex color palette. Tahitian Pearls typically range in size from 8mm (on the small side) and can be found as large as 20mm. Any Tahitian Pearl that is less than 9mm in size tends to be classified as small Tahitian Pearls whereas anything larger than 13mm is considered large and rarer. Typically, Tahitian Pearl necklaces range from 10mm to 13mm in size. Because of the incredible size and color range, Tahitian Pearls have incredible shapes ranging from round, semi-round, baroque, button and teardrop.

South Sea Pearls

Of the saltwater pearl variety South Sea Pearls are by far the largest. South Sea Pearls as their name would suggest are farmed in the South Sea (near Australia). South Sea Pearls come in a beautiful range of white, ivory, cream, champagne, gold, and blue. As with other types of saltwater pearls, South Sea Pearls also have stunning overtones that when paired with the base color creates absolutely stunning shades. South Sea Pearls range in size from 8mm (the smallest) all the way up to 25mm– which are incredibly rare. The average size of South Sea Pearls is 15mm. Because these pearls are so large in size, they come in gorgeous abstract and exaggerated baroque, teardrop, round and semi round shapes.

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What are Keshi Pearls

Even for someone who is incredibly familiar with pearls may have taken a second look at the title of this blog… Keshi Pearls? In the past, we have reviewed how there are only three types of saltwater pearls – so to throw out the term Keshi Pearl can be very confusing. In this blog we will explore what Keshi Pearls are and give you a pretty solid understanding of what sets them apart. – Hang in there, we will clear things up shortly!

When it comes to saltwater pearls, there are three different types: South Sea Pearls, Tahitian Pearls, and Akoya Pearls. While each of these pearls are entirely unique on their own, there is a unifying term that can be used to describe them: Keshi. Each of these subtypes of saltwater pearls can and will have a “Keshi” variety. The term Keshi refers more to the actual process of how the pearl is developed – which is why there are Akoya Keshi Pearls, Tahitian Keshi Pearls and South Sea Keshi Pearls.

The process of culturing a pearl is a very interesting one. Pearl farms in the regions of Japan, Tahiti and Australia cultivate their pearls by a process known as nucleation. A small bead known as a nucleus is inserted into the host oyster with a piece of donor mantle tissue. The mantle tissue is what is responsible for the overall color and tone of the developing pearl. At the center of every pearl (no matter if it is South Sea, Tahitian or an Akoya Pearl) is the nucleus. The nucleus is a small bead that is made from Mother of Pearl. This small bead is inserted into the host oyster and as a result, layers of nacre develop around the nucleus. As the pearl matures, more and more layers of nacre develop around the nucleus. On occasion, the oyster will reject the nucleus. Even though the nucleus has been rejected, layers of nacre will still continue to develop – thus resulting in a Keshi Pearl. As a result of this process, there are Tahitian Keshi Pearls, Akoya Keshi Pearls and South Sea Keshi Pearls. The term “Keshi” is not necessarily a type of pearl, but describes more of the process of it’s development.

Keshi Pearls are thought to be very desirable because they are 100% nacre and do not have a nucleus. Keshi Pearls are becoming more and more rare because of the efforts pearl farmers are taking to make sure that the nucleation process is effective. After the oysters have been properly nucleated, pearl farmers scan each oyster with an x-ray to make sure that a pearl is properly developing. If a pearl is not forming, a new nucleus is inserted and the process is started over again.  As a result, Keshi Pearls are a bit of a rarity. Because Keshi Pearls do not have a nucleus, they tend to be smaller in size than most of their counterparts. A Keshi Pearl is not a natural pearl; a Keshi Pearl will only develop as a result of a failed insertion of a nucleus.

Here is a beautiful visual example of the beauty that Akoya, Tahitian and South Sea Pearls
Keshi Pearls have:

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At Seven Seas Pearls, we have one of the largest collections of Keshi Pearls – anywhere. Here is just a small idea as to the beautiful colors, sizes and shapes they come in. We invite you to tour our extensive collection of Keshi Pearls on our website. If you are local to the Los Angeles area, we would love for you to come in and explore our collection of Keshi Pearls in person.

Bridal Pearl Jewelry

Finding the right dress, the perfect reception site, and selecting the flowers for a wedding can all be very stressful. One thing that many brides save until closer to the wedding date is finding the perfect piece of jewelry to accent their gown. While it’s obvious that we love pearls, we think that pearls are almost always the perfect piece to accentuate a bride on her big day. In this blog, we are going to give you a few tips and tricks to consider if you are looking for the perfect pearl jewelry piece to wear on your big day!

FotoFlexer_PhotoType of Pearl

Akoya Pearls are commonly thought to be the traditional “go to pearl” for most brides. These gorgeous little gems are delicate and sophisticated. Their wide range of colors will accommodate any skin tone and styles can be selected to accentuate any type of wedding gown. If you consider yourself a traditional bride – chances are that you will fall in love with the beauty of Akoya Pearls.

Depending on the type of gown, setting and personality of the bride, Tahitian Pearls can also be a stunning accent for a bride. Tahitian Pearls are a more bold choice for brides who want their bridal jewelry to make a statement. Personally, if you are having a beach wedding – we absolutely love the choice of Tahitian Pearls.

South Sea Pearls are also a very common selection for brides. Larger than Akoyas, South Sea Pearls give the drama that Tahitians give – with a very similar color spectrum to Akoya Pearls. If you are looking for a larger piece of pearl jewelry that is more subtle in overall color – then South Sea Pearls are just what you are looking for.

The perfect shade…

As any bride knows, there are literally dozens of shades of “white” when it comes to bridalgowns. We recommend when shopping for bridal jewelry to either have your wedding dress with you, or a similar swatch of fabric in the same color tone. This will allow us to help you select the color and tone of pearl that will best accentuate your skin tone and dress.

The ideal length…

When looking for a piece of pearl jewelry, it is crucial to consider the length of the necklace you are considering. No doubt much thought on your part has been put into the neckline of your bridal gown – so it is essential that a necklace with the proper length is selected. When shopping for your pearl strand, we recommend wearing a top with a very similar neckline to your bridal gown. This will help you determine the length that will help you achieve the look you are striving for.

At Seven Seas Pearls we find true joy in helping brides find the perfect piece of pearl jewelry. We would love to invite you to tour our website, or stop by our showroom at any time. We look forward to helping you find the perfect pearl jewelry piece!