What is the one piece of jewellery that has always defined grace and elegance? Can you think of Rajmata Gayatri Devi without her signature floral chiffon sarees and the string of pearls around her neck or Coco Chanel or Jackie Kennedy without their pearls? For generations, pearl jewellery has epitomised elegance, royalty and majesty and no wonder they are so popular even now.
We all know that pearls are found inside oysters but do you know how pearls are formed? Natural pearls are formed when a parasite enters the oyster. If the parasite embeds itself into the oyster’s soft mantle, it will cover the parasite with a sac and begin to form layers of nacre around the irritant. Nacre is the smooth, shiny substance that makes up the interior of the oyster and over time, the layers formed around the parasite will form a pearl. Natural pearls are nowadays very rare to find and are extremely expensive so majority of the pearls that are available are cultured pearls. Cultured pearls are split into two basic categories – freshwater and saltwater. Freshwater pearls are cheaper but can be found in a number of shapes and colors. Saltwater pearls are further broken down into various categories based on their origin. These are Akoya, Tahitian and South Sea pearls.
Now, coming to the value of pearls. How much are they worth and what are the factors that determine their worth? The value of a pearl is determined by several factors – type, size, shape, luster, color and surface. Natural pearls are worth much more than cultured pearls and cultured seawater pearls are worth more than cultured freshwater pearls.
In India, there are a quite a few online shopping sites that sell natural and cultured pearls and their price varies. The price of natural pearls is very high because of their rarity. Depending on the size of the natural pearl, the price can be within the range of Rs 15,000 – Rs 40,000 per carat. And if it is a large pearl, it can go up to even Rs 100,000 per carat for a single pearl!
Cultured pearls are much more affordable and 90% of pearl jewellery is made with cultured pearls. For single pearls, the price can range from Rs 100 per carat to Rs 4000 depending on the size. Pearl jewellery price in India is varied. If you are looking for pearl earrings, you can get them for as low as Rs 1000. Pearl bracelets are available for around Rs 1300-1500 depending again on the size and type and jewellery sets with earrings and pendants are easily available within the range of Rs 600 – Rs 1500. There are endless options with pearl jewellery and there is something available to fit every budget. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself some pearls because as Jackie Kennedy once said “Pearls are always appropriate”.