The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) bases the value and beauty of pearls on their rating of seven factors: size, shape, color, luster, surface quality, nacre quality, and matching.
Today, freshwater pearls range from 3 mm to 11 mm and saltwater pearls range from 2 mm to 13 mm in diameter. Pearls are the birthstone for the month of June.
James Avery only uses pearls with a strong balance of shape, surface perfection and luster. All of our pearl necklaces are strung by hand to ensure a more durable strand. Pearls come in various hues of white as well as tones of cream, green, pink, gray, and black. Due to demand for perfectly matched white pearl strands, cultured fresh and saltwater pearls are often bleached to achieve a uniform color. They may also be polished in tumblers to clean and improve their luster. Dyes, heat treatment, and irradiation are sometimes applied to produce a wide range of hues such as yellow, green, blue, purple, gray, and black in freshwater and Akoya cultured pearls. Some South Sea cultured pearls are bleached to lighten their hue, but most South Sea and Tahitian cultured pearls are not subjected to enhancements to create or improve their color.
We take care to closely match the pearls in our ear posts as well as each pearl in our strands with the color ranges available from the current harvest.
An occasional spot, blemish, or tiny pit is expected on something that comes from nature. Small blemishes are acceptable if they don’t detract from the beauty of the pearl. Since large, unsightly blemishes substantially reduce the value, we do not use pearls with large blemishes.
Pearls need special care. To ensure a long life, keep them away from cosmetics, hairspray and household chemicals. Use these products first, and then put on your pearls. When you take them off, wipe the pearls with a soft cloth. Store them separately from other jewelry to avoid scratches. Also, avoid strong blows or knocks. Have your pearl necklaces checked yearly for worn or broken strands or clasps. Ultrasonic cleaners or harsh chemical dips can damage your pearls; we do not recommend that you use them. Use only those cleaners made specifically for delicate pearls. When in doubt, allow a professional jeweler to clean your pearl jewelry.