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The Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Perfect Luxurious Pearl Necklace

In this article, we will discuss all the different traits that make such a piece a must-have and help you select the best one.

The pearl necklace has been an embodiment of luxury and glamour for millennia. The jewellery market offers a lot of varied product options nowadays, which means that luxury is now at your fingertips. In this article, we will discuss all the different traits that make such a piece a must-have and help you select the best one.

How Much Is a Single Luxurious Pearl Worth?

The story of a gem has as much to do with its price as its quality and characteristics. For example, actor Richard Burton purchased the famous La Peregrina pearl for his equally famous wife Elizabeth Taylor for 37,000 dollars at a Sotheby’s auction. In 2011, the pearl sold for the record price of 11 million dollars due to its rich history.

Of course, this is only the case for collector’s items. In the case of regular single pearls from luxurious varieties such as South Sea or Akoya, prices range between 40 and 200 dollars, depending on the quality of the jewel. When bought in the form of a necklace, you are getting a much better bang for your buck.

Types of Rare Pearls and Their Value

The most valuable types of pearls in the world are priced according to their uncommonness first and foremost. The rarer the pearl, the higher the worth. Other factors such as size, shape, color, luster, nacre density, and potential flaws are also taken into consideration. Thus, prices may range from a couple hundred to as much as 100,000 dollars.

South Sea pearls

 Aptly nicknamed the Rolls Royce of pearls, South Sea pearls are the most valuable variety on the market today. They can be found in Indonesia, Myanmar, Australia, and the Philippines, and their average size is of 10 to 15 millimeters. The two most popular assortments are white South Sea pearls and golden South Sea pearls. Depending on their size and quality, the price of one strand ranges from 1,000 dollars to 100,000 dollars or more.

Tahitian black pearls

Tahitian black pearls are what we most likely think of when we think of a black pearl, as they are the most common type that comes in this color. What makes them so valuable is the fact that their unique hues aren’t obtained with chemical treatments. The dark iridescence of Tahitian pearls forms naturally during the growth process. One single gem has a size of 8 to 14 millimeters, and a strand can cost anywhere between 500 and 25,000 dollars.

Akoya pearls

The first kind of pearl to ever be farmed, the Akoya has a unique luster and a perfectly round shape. This makes it the perfect material for jewelry creation. Its dimensions are also more modest, varying from 6 to 9 millimeters. You will find pieces made with it that are as affordable as 300 dollars, or go up to 10,000 dollars in price.

Freshwater pearls

These versatile gems are the ideal more affordable alternative to Akoya pearls that comes at a lower cost without sacrificing appearance or quality. This is why we have included them on this list in the first place. They look strikingly similar to their more premium counterpart, but cost as little as 50 dollars per strand, while an expensive piece goes for 2,000 dollars a pop.

The World’s Most Famous Pearl Necklaces

Monroe pearl

Pearls have had a longstanding history in our society, as they were and still are considered the ultimate symbol of grace, femininity, wealth, and power. Thus, many famous necklaces exist today, and they are considered pieces fit for a museum. For our list, we have selected the top five items of jewelry with a story that suits their beauty. Here they are, in no particular order.

Bosses’ string of pearls

Renowned pearlmaker Mikimoto Kōkichi gathered the pearls for this necklace himself over a period of 10 years. The piece consists of 49 cultured pearls with one large 14-millimeter gem in the center. It can be seen today in Toba, Japan, at the Mikimoto Memorial Hall on Pearl Island.

Dodge pearls

Previously belonging to Russian monarch Catherine the Great, the Dodge pearls were a worldwide sensation in the 1920s. It was then that motorcar tycoon Horace Dodge bought the three-strand necklace for his wife Anna for the astounding price of 825,000 dollars. In 2008, Bonham’s sold the piece for 600,000 dollars.

Latendresse’s labor of love

John Latendresse is considered the father of the American cultured pearl, and his labor of love is represented by his Tennessee cultured pearl necklace that took 25 years to assemble. It has a total weight of 128.29 carats.

Marilyn Monroe’s Mikimoto necklace

Another Mikimoto addition to our top five is the necklace silver screen starlet Marilyn Monroe received on her honeymoon from husband Joe DiMaggio. The adored, yet mysterious actress was known for her love of fine jewelry, and this elegant piece is the ideal embodiment of that.

Conch pearl necklace

Esteemed Tiffany & Co. gemologist George F. Kunz designed the necklace using a rare conch pearl in the early 1900s for Charles Walters, a Baltimore patron. The pearl weighs 4.7 grams. The ornamental accessory is on display at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.

Pearl Necklace Recommendations

The ideal luxurious pearl necklace doesn’t have to be bought in an auction, and you don’t have to spend millions of dollars on it (unless you really want to). Our recommendation for a piece the bridges the gap between luxury and functionality is a gold South Sea pearl necklace, which retails for under 20,000 dollars.

If you want to switch things up and achieve a unique look that maintains the element of luxury, look for a rainbow Tahitian black pearl necklace. The dark iridescence of the gem glimmers with all the colors of the rainbow, creating a unique effect that will surely make you stand out from the crowd due to your innovative sense of style. This piece retails for around 8,000 dollars.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to adorning your neck with the loveliest piece out there, you can’t go wrong with a golden South Sea pearl necklace. The Rolls Royce of pearls earned its name for a solid reason. If you’re feeling more adventurous, then black rainbow Tahitian pearls might be a better choice for you. At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of personal taste.

WTM Africa 2020