Pearl Guide

A favorite jewel of the ages, from ancient royalty to Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, pearls exhibit color, shape and shine that set them apart in the world of gemstones. Their soft luster and silky feel evoke comfort and elegance, and today these gemstones make their mark from small-town picnics to big-city weddings and everywhere in between.


A treasure born from rivers, lakes and seas, pearls form in the bodies of certain mollusks when an irritant like sand enters their shell. Over time, the mollusk coats the irritant with layers of protein, called nacre, to create a beautiful, lustrous jewel.

What's the difference between natural pearls and cultured pearls?

Natural pearls form entirely without human intervention, making them incredibly rare—and considerably more valuable than cultured pearls. Over the last century, natural pearls have become even more scarce, leading to the fascinating science of pearl cultivation.

Cultured pearls form inside the body of a mollusk. However, technicians help the process along by inserting a man-made irritant to stimulate the creation of nacre. The resulting gemstone is far more affordable and is as authentic and beautiful as a natural pearl. The majority of pearls on the market today are of the cultivated variety.

How to Choose a Pearl

When it’s all boiled down, the best advice we can give you about how to pick a pearl is to choose the one that makes you feel like a million bucks when you’re wearing it. Here are some things to look for when you’re pearl shopping.
  • Size

    When it’s all boiled down, the best advice we can give you about how to pick a pearl is to choose the one that makes you feel like a million bucks when you’re wearing it. Here are some things to look for when you’re pearl shopping.
  • Shape

    Perfectly round pearls are the rarest shape, but pearl-lovers also favor semi-round and baroque pearls for pendants, earrings and accent stones.
  • Color

    Pearls come in a variety of colors, but their comparative value is simply a matter of taste. Try holding different pearl colors against your skin to bring out subtle secondary tones.
  • Luster

    When light enters a pearl, it reflects back through the layers of nacre to produce the rich glow we call luster. The easiest way to assess the luster of a pearl is to look for your reflection in it—a quality luster with many layers of nacre will reflect your face back at you.
  • Surface

    While smooth pearl surfaces are prized by many, even the most valuable pearls may have a few blemishes—these small marks reflect the natural beauty of the growth process.

A Pearl for Every Personality

Prized for centuries, the silvery glow of pearls was associated with the purity and protection of the moon. Today, pearls are cultivated in beautiful hues of white, rose, green and even black.

Although they’re the birthstone for June, we believe pearls are for everyone. Classic white pearls make a traditional finish to a dressy outfit, but if you prefer a bolder statement, slip on a strand of black pearls or a pair of green-pearl pendant earrings.

No matter your personality, there’s a pearl for you—our large selection of freshwater, South Sea, Akoya and Tahitian saltwater pearls ensure it.


Freshwater pearls are slightly smaller than their saltwater counterparts and come in a wide range of natural colors, including subtle tones of white, cream and light pink. Their variety of soft, luminescent shades makes them a stunning choice for delicate pieces like earrings and cluster jewelry.


Formed inside the world’s smallest pearl-bearing saltwater oyster, Akoya pearls were the first type to be successfully cultivated in 1920’s Japan. Today, these high-quality pearls are cultured in countries across the world. Round and symmetrical, Akoya pearls are timeless as strands and earring sets, and they’re adored for their lustrous glow and rich, white hue.


Coveted for their round shape and signature white color, South Sea pearls are the rarest cultivated pearls. These unique gems form inside a super-sensitive oyster called the white-lipped Pinctada maxima, and the resulting pearls are exceptionally large and smooth. Their high luster dazzles the eyes in statement pieces like stud earrings, drops and pendants.


An indie rock star in the world of gems, Tahitian pearls are cultivated inside a black-lipped saltwater oyster to create the only naturally colored black pearls. Their deep shades vary from dark gray to true black, often with exquisite green or purple overtones that make them center stage in strands, bracelets and earrings.
  • Take Inspiration From History

    Fashion icon Coco Chanel made a big splash in the 1930s with her extravagant layering of pearl necklaces. Channel her timeless look with layered strings of white pearls—or give the style a modern twist with bold Tahitian pearls or supersized South Sea pearls.
  • Keep It Casual

    Incorporate pearls into everyday fashion with subtle pieces like pearl studs, classic strands and delicate bracelets that you can wear to work or for a day of shopping.
  • Make A Statement

    Put your pearls on a pedestal at a wedding or out on the dance floor with adventurous pendant necklaces, multi-layered pearl bracelets or eye-catching drop earrings.

How to Take Care of Your Pearls

Pearls are effortlessly elegant and versatile, and if it makes your heart happy, you can wear them every single day. But if you want them to last a lifetime, you’ve got to properly take care of gemstone jewelry.
  • Last on. First Off.

    Put them on last, and take them off first to protect them from body care products.
  • Careful Cleaning

    Wipe your pearls clean with a soft cloth after you wear them. Deep clean them periodically with mild soap and water.
  • Gentle Storage

    Store your pearls inside a soft cloth bag to protect against scratches.
  • Service Regularly

    We offer free cleaning and repair services for all of our pearl and gemstone jewelry.