How Much Are Pearls Worth?


Pearls have long been seen as a treasure to people across centuries, symbolizing purity, lasting beauty, luxury, and status.

Natural pearls are much more valuable than their fake counterparts; in 2014 alone, a string of 53 natural saltwater pearls that once belonged to Cleopatra was auctioned off for US$2.9 million!

The value of pearls depends on seven criteria: shape, size, color, luster, surface quality, matching, and nacre quality.


Pearls come in various sizes; the larger one is, the higher its worth. But size alone does not determine its value: other factors include luster, surface quality, and color – pearls with smooth surfaces are more valuable than those with noticeable spots or blemishes.

Pearls measuring 5-6mm are small and delicate, often purchased for young teens as gifts to mark academic achievements or coming-of-age celebrations like bat mitzvahs, confirmations, sweet 16 parties, or quinceaeras. Pearls in this size also look elegant when worn around very petite women, as a necklace of this length will enhance her silhouette.

7-8mm pearls are slightly larger and are often purchased by adults as gifts or to add to a pearl collection. As one of the most widely available pearl sizes, 7-8mm pearls make excellent options for mothers looking to add pearls to their pearl collection or sophisticated women wanting something genuinely memorable as presents for themselves or someone special.

9-15mm pearls are among the most giant cultured pearls available, representing some of the highest values on the market. Their price can range from $1,000 to over $100,000 depending on quality and color; one strand could set you back over an entire lifetime!

Tahitian pearls are luxurious and exotic. Available in an assortment of colors, sizes, and qualities ranging from hues of gray and green shades, one strand typically costs anywhere between $500 and $25,000.


Pearl prices depend on their shape. Ideally, round pearls are considered the most sought-after and valuable. In contrast, other conditions, such as semi-round, drop, and circle baroque pearls, may still be equally beautiful but come at lower costs due to being less rare.

Pearls with white hues tend to command higher prices; however, rare shades, such as golden, can also draw high prices. Geography plays a vital role in setting their value; certain regions produce pearls with distinctive characteristics that drive prices up further. Finally, surface quality has an effect; pearls with smoother surfaces tend to command higher costs than those featuring flaws that can be seen directly upon inspection.

The resale value of pearls depends heavily on their unique qualities and history; when buying genuine pearls, they must be honest, as faux or synthetic pearls are generally worthless and may contain harmful substances like lead. When purchasing natural pearls, if investing, it is wise to visit a trusted retailer that uses modern technologies for thorough geological and laboratory analysis, such as x-rays, energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence analysis, laser light, Raman spectroscopy, etc. For safe investing purposes, it is wiser to purchase genuine pearls when buying natural pearls, which is why buying natural pearls from trusted retailers is vital if investing.


Pearls come in various colors, varying in value depending on their rarity and demand. Classic white pearls are most frequently seen, while unusual hues like gold, black, or blue can significantly increase a pearl’s worth. Luster is another critical consideration: One with high luster will shine brighter and more evenly than one with low brightness.

Pearl shape also affects its value; round pearls tend to be considered more valuable than off-round or baroque ones; however, off-round or baroque pearls have become increasingly popular and can look just as beautiful as their more famous counterparts. Furthermore, the thickness of its nacre (the layer that covers its exterior shell) also plays an integral part – pearls with thicker nacre are generally considered more durable and thus more valuable.

Whether it is cultured or natural pearl, the best way is to appraise it by an expert to determine its value. Avoid pawn shops and jewelry stores, which often sell low-quality imitation pearls. Instead, find a jeweler who specializes in pearls; pearls are delicate gems, so it is essential that they remain well cared for; this ensures their value can be passed down through generations, even surpassing diamond value!


Pearl luster is an integral factor in determining its value. When other value factors remain equal, the more lustrous a pearl is, the higher its worth when other variables remain constant. Lustre can be directly tied to nacre quality (i.e., the thickness of outer layers); thicker nacre equals greater reflectiveness and durability for pearls with high luster ratings; these rare gems often command high prices due to limited supply.

Surface quality is also an essential factor when valuing pearls. A pearl with a clean, smooth surface is more desirable than one that is heavily spotted or has flaws; in addition, its luster can be further boosted by a layer of nacre that covers the nucleus (or implanted irritant) covering its heart; one that has thick nacre cover will fetch higher prices than one with a thin body.

Pearls may hold more sentimental value than monetary worth, especially if passed down through families or purchased at particular stores. But before making your purchase, you must understand its actual cost.

Whether searching for rare natural pearls, cultured freshwater, or Tahitian pearl necklaces, always shop with a reliable seller and learn the critical value factors influencing pearl prices. At Pearl-Lang, our experts evaluate each pearl against seven value criteria to guarantee our customers receive only top-quality pieces.

Surface quality

Though flawless pearls are rare and extremely valuable, surface quality does impact value. The number, nature, and location of surface imperfections play a part in establishing its overall value; such faults include organic spots and bumps, abrasions, and wrinkles in the nacre that must also be evenly applied across its thickness to affect matter.

Color can also substantially impact a pearl’s price, with demand for certain hues driving prices higher or lower depending on fashion trends and cultural traditions. When certain dyes become highly sought-after, natural and cultured pearls featuring that color may significantly increase costs due to increasing consumer interest.

Pearl size can also serve as an indicator of value when other value factors remain equal. Larger pearls tend to be more costly because they take longer to form inside a mollusk; the giant pearls are South Sea pearls produced from Pinctada maxima oysters in Australia, Myanmar, Indonesia, and the Philippines – these range in size from 10mm up to 16mm!

As expected, perfectly round pearls are typically the most valuable of all shapes. But if you can accept imperfections in pearls, off-round or baroque (irregularly shaped) pearls may cost less. Domed buttons, teardrops, and flat coins are commonly found off-round types and often cost less than traditional round varieties.


The value of pearls depends on many variables, including size, shape, color, luster, and nacre quality. Natural pearls generally outshone cultured pearls; however, there have been exceptions. The most expensive pearls on the market may not always be natural but comprise high-grade cultured pearls.

Pearls offer jewelry makers diverse colors and shapes, creating an exquisite canvas for jewelry designers. Their natural luster and shimmer make them a symbol of elegance and sophistication; royalty and the elite have long treasured pearls as symbols of wealth and power; indeed, Cleopatra famously used one (now worth approximately 10 million dollars today) to display her wealth and power to Roman rulers.

Perfectly round pearls are scarce and comprise only a tiny portion of each annual harvest, making them more valuable than other pearl shapes. Yet different shapes like Near-Rounds, Tear Drops and buttons, and Baroque pearls remain highly desired and often cost more than their perfectly round counterparts.

Overtone and orient are two additional pearl qualities that can increase its value, both appearing through the nacre to add depth. Their combined effect should create a balanced gem with no random color changes that occur discordant.