How Choose Pearls

Explore NAJO’s essential guide on selecting the perfect pearl jewellery. Learn about pearl types, sizes, shapes, colours, and lustre.

Welcome to the NAJO  comprehensive guide on the enchanting world of pearl jewellery, a realm where elegance and timelessness converge. Pearls, with their subtle iridescence and refined beauty, have long been a cornerstone in the world of contemporary fashion. In this blog post, we delve into the intricacies of choosing the perfect pearl jewellery.

Whether it's your first foray into the lustrous world of pearls or you're looking to expand your collection, this guide is designed to enlighten you on the various types, sizes, and styles of pearls. We aim to provide you with valuable insights to help you select pearl pieces that not only enhance your personal style but also stand the test of time in both quality and design.

A Short History of Pearls in the World of Jewellery

Pearls have been revered as symbols of wealth and sophistication for thousands of years, transcending cultures and continents. The history of these lustrous gems dates back to ancient civilizations, where they were discovered in the Persian Gulf, waters of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and the coastal areas of Japan.

In ancient Rome, pearls were considered the ultimate status symbol, while in mediaeval Europe, they were adorned by royalty and the nobility. The allure of pearls reached its zenith during the Renaissance, a period marked by the lavish use of these gems in jewellery and fashion.

The Turning Point

The 20th century witnessed a significant turning point in the world of pearl jewellery with the advent of cultured pearls. Pioneered by Kokichi Mikimoto in Japan, the technique of pearl culturing revolutionised the industry, making pearls more accessible to a broader audience.

This democratisation of pearls led to an explosion in their popularity, cementing their status as a staple in jewellery collections worldwide.

Understanding Different Types of Pearls

Each pearl type has its distinctive appeal. Here is some more information on each type of pearl:


Akoya Pearls

Originating primarily from Japan and China, Akoya pearls are renowned for their perfect round shapes and mirror-like lustre. They are often considered the epitome of classic pearl elegance, typically ranging in size from 6 to 9 millimetres.


South Sea Pearls

These are among the largest and most valuable pearls available. Sourced mainly from Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, South Sea pearls are celebrated for their impressive size (often 10mm and larger), satiny lustre, and rich, natural white and golden hues.


Tahitian Pearls

Unique for their exotic dark colours, Tahitian pearls are cultivated in French Polynesia. Their colours can range from graphite to green, with overtones of purple, blue, and even silver. These pearls are usually 8 to 14 millimetres in size.


Freshwater Pearls

Primarily cultivated in China, Freshwater pearls come in a wide array of shapes and sizes and are known for their incredible variety of colours and affordable prices. Unlike other types, they often have a softer, more satiny lustre.

The Importance of Luster in Pearl Quality When Choosing Good Quality Pearls

Understanding the significance of lustre in pearl quality is essential for making informed choices when it comes to these precious gems. Luster, as the measure of light quality reflected from a pearl's surface, plays a pivotal role in determining both the beauty and value of a pearl. Here are a few things to look out for: 


High-quality pearls have consistent lustre across the entire surface. Inspect the pearl under different lighting conditions to ensure that the lustre remains constant.

Mirror Test

Hold the pearl close to a mirror and observe if it reflects the image with sharp clarity. A pearl with excellent lustre will reflect a well-defined image.

Comparative Assessment

Compare pearls side by side to get a better sense of their relative lustre. This can help you identify the pearl with superior shine and sheen.

Angle of Reflection

Rotate the pearl and observe how the lustre changes at different angles. High-quality pearls will maintain their shine regardless of the viewing angle.

Light Source

Evaluate pearls under various light sources, including natural daylight, incandescent, and fluorescent lighting. Different lighting conditions can reveal unique aspects of a pearl's lustre.

Ask for Certification

When purchasing valuable or high-end pearls, ask for a certification from a reputable gemological laboratory. This certification should include information on the pearl's lustre, among other quality factors.

Trust Your Eye

Ultimately, trust your own perception and instincts. If a pearl's lustre impresses you and aligns with your preferences, it may be the right choice for you, regardless of technical specifications.

Guidance on How To Choose Pearls for Different Occasions and Styles

When selecting pearl sizes for various occasions and styles, it's important to consider the impact they can have on your overall look. Smaller pearls, typically measuring under 8mm, offer a touch of subtle elegance, making them perfect for professional settings or casual outings.

On the other hand, larger pearls, typically 10mm and above, make a bold statement and bring a sense of luxury and presence to any special occasion. The choice of pearl size can enhance your style and complement the mood of the moment, allowing you to curate the perfect accessory for any event.

Understanding the Impact of Pearl Shapes

Pearl shapes play a pivotal role in the world of jewellery design, each offering its distinct charm and versatility.

Round pearls, characterised by their timeless appeal, are perfect for crafting classic pieces such as stud earrings and single-strand necklaces.

Oval pearls bring an elegant twist to the conventional with their elongated form, while teardrop pearls infuse a touch of sophistication, ideal for pendants and earrings.

The irregular and unique shapes of baroque pearls invite creativity, making them an excellent choice for crafting artistic and unconventional jewellery designs. Whether you seek tradition or innovation, pearl shapes offer endless possibilities to elevate your jewellery collection.

Colour Range in Pearls and How to Choose the Right One

Pearls boast a dazzling variety of colours, spanning from the classic white, cream, golden, silver, black, to an array of pastel shades, with the specific hue of each pearl influenced by the mollusc that produced it, its environment, and the cultivation process.

When it comes to selecting the right pearl colour, it's a matter of personal preference, skin tone, and wardrobe compatibility. Classic white pearls offer versatility and are suitable for most occasions, whereas coloured pearls provide a distinctive flair to your appearance.

It's important to consider the events at which you'll be wearing the pearls, as well as the colours that best complement your clothing and skin tone, ensuring a harmonious and appealing look.

Assessing Pearl Quality and Authenticity

To make an informed choice when purchasing pearls, it's essential to know how to assess their quality. Here are a few valuable tips on evaluating pearls based on their surface, nacre thickness, and overall blemishes. 

Surface Inspection

The surface of a high-quality pearl should be smooth and lustrous. Minor surface flaws are natural, but a high-quality pearl will have minimal blemishes. Examine the pearl under a light source, rotating it to view it from all angles.

Nacre Quality

The thickness of the nacre, the layer that forms the pearl, is crucial. Thick nacre results in a deeper lustre and ensures the pearl's durability. Thin nacre may cause the pearl to lose its lustre quickly and even peel or chip.

Checking for Blemishes

While no pearl is without imperfections, excessive blemishes can affect its value. Look for pearls with the fewest visible spots, pits, or cracks. A well-formed pearl with minimal blemishes is a sign of quality.

Infusing Personal Style with Pearl Jewellery

Pearls possess an inherent versatility that allows them to complement a wide range of styles, from the timeless elegance of classic fashion to the bold statements of contemporary trends.

When integrating pearl jewellery into your wardrobe, it's beneficial to reflect on the types of outfits you gravitate towards most frequently.

Whether your daily attire leans more towards business formal, casual chic, or avant-garde, there is pearl jewellery that can enhance your everyday style, adding a layer of sophistication or a hint of glamour.

When it comes to occasion-based selection, the choice of pearl jewellery should be tailored to the nature of the event. For formal gatherings, such as gala dinners, weddings, or important business meetings, opting for elegant and bold pieces can make a statement.

Think of large pearl necklaces, dramatic drop earrings, or pearl-encrusted bracelets that draw attention and add a touch of opulence to your ensemble. On the other hand, for daily wear or more casual occasions, smaller, more understated pearls are preferable.

Simple pearl stud earrings, a delicate pearl pendant, or a thin pearl bracelet can add a touch of elegance to your look without overpowering it.

These subtle pieces serve as the perfect complement to a variety of outfits, enhancing your appearance with a refined touch that is suitable for both the office and casual outings. By thoughtfully selecting pearl jewellery that aligns with the occasion and your personal style, you can elevate your wardrobe and showcase your unique fashion sense.

Discover Elegance with NAJO's Exquisite Pearl Jewellery

Begin an adventure of grace and refinement with NAJO's stunning collection of pearl jewellery. With the versatile charm of Freshwater pearls, our collection of pearl necklaces, pearl earrings, bridal pearl jewellery and pearl rings is a testament to both tradition and contemporary design. Discover the perfect pearl to complement your style and add a touch of luxury to your everyday.


How can you tell if a pearl is high quality?

To determine if a pearl is of high quality, focus on a few key aspects. First, assess the lustre; high-quality pearls should have a bright, reflective surface with a deep glow. Next, examine the surface quality; fewer blemishes indicate a higher quality. The shape is also important; perfectly round pearls are rare and highly valued.

Additionally, check for even and natural colour distribution. Size matters too, as larger pearls are generally more valuable. Finally, consider the nacre thickness, as thicker nacre means better lustre and durability. High-quality pearl jewellery should have consistent matching in size, shape, and colour. Authenticity certificates can also provide assurance of quality.

Do pearl earrings suit everyone?

Pearl earrings are a versatile accessory that suits everyone, thanks to their timeless elegance. They come in various sizes, shapes, and colours, catering to different skin tones, face shapes, and styles.

From classic white studs to modern coloured designs, there's a pearl earring style for every preference. These earrings are adaptable for any occasion, effortlessly enhancing both casual and formal looks with their subtle sophistication. In essence, pearl earrings are a universally flattering choice for adding a touch of elegance to any ensemble.

What size pearl is best for earrings?

The ideal size for pearl earrings depends on personal preference, style, and occasion. Small pearls (4mm - 7mm) are great for a subtle, everyday look, suitable for casual or professional settings.

Medium-sized pearls (8mm - 10mm) offer versatility, perfect for both daytime and evening wear, striking a balance between elegance and prominence.

Large pearls (11mm and larger) are statement pieces, ideal for special events where you want your earrings to stand out. It's important to also consider comfort and the earlobe's ability to support the weight, especially with larger pearls. Ultimately, the best pearl size for earrings is one that aligns with your personal taste and the style you wish to convey.

It's also crucial to consider the occasion and your face shape when selecting pieces; minimalist jewellery suits professional settings, whereas bolder pieces shine in social scenarios. Earrings, especially, should complement the contours of your face. Lastly, remember the timeless advice: less is often more. Sometimes, a single, standout piece can speak volumes, making you feel both confident and effortlessly chic.


Jo Tory

Born in Australia, Jo Tory is proud to be one of the country’s pioneering female jewellery founders. She has been our Creative Director since NAJO’s formation, steering the company to be one of Australia’s most successful fine jewellery brands today. Jo also sits on the Jewellers Association of Australia’s Board of Directors, where she actively promotes the highest standards and ethics within the Australian jewellery industry.