Mikimoto Pearls at Leeds & Son
Mikimoto Pearls at Leeds & Son

Pearl Quality & Care

How to Judge a Pearl's Quality

Luster- The surface glow, as well as the deep mirror-like reflection of the light, or "inner light" of a pearl, is known as luster. Nacre quality in cultured pearls will improve the overall luster. Many even layers of nacre are required to create a highly defined spectrum of color. All Mikimoto pearls radiate with an exceptional luster.

Surface Perfection- The tiny marks found on the surface of a pearl are part of its natural texture, and, like the rarest silk, part of its intrinsic nature. Generally, the less blemished the pearl the higher its quality and value.

Color- There is a wide spectrum of colors that can be found in pearls, including cream, silver, pink, gold, green, blue and black. The most popular colors are white and pink rose because these hues flatter the widest range of skin tones. Regardless of color preference pearl color should be rich and even, emanating from deep within the pearl.

Shape- Of the many shapes available, perfectly round pearls are truly the rarest and most valuable. Exotic shapes such as teardrop, oval button and baroque are also available and are used to create unique, exotic jewelry designs.

Size- Pearls are measured in diameter increments of millimeters (mm). Larger pearls are more difficult to cultivate as there is a increased likelihood the oyster will reject the larger implanted nucleus. The Akoya pearl ranges from 3.5mm to 10mm in size. South Sea pearls start at 8mm.

How to Care for Your Pearls

With proper care, cultured pearls will last for generations. Organic in nature, cultured pearls should be kept away from chemicals, perspiration, cosmetic and perfumes which may damage their appearance. In order to protect your pearls from harm, they should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off.

To keep your pearls at their most lustrous, we recommend that you gently wipe of any oils and fingerprints with a soft cloth after each wearing. By keeping your pearls in the original pouch or box you can protect them from getting scratched by other gemstones or jewelry. Pearls should not be stored in a security box for long periods of time as this may cause them to dehydrate. We recommend you take pearls out of such boxes frequently. Most pearls are strung with a fine silk thread that is knotted between each pearl. Even if you do not wear your pearls often, we suggest that you restring them annually as the silk may become soiled and weakened.

Over time, pearls do change in appearance. However, if you follow our recommendations, you should enjoy your pearls for many years to come.

-information reprinted from MIKIMOTO.