Strands You Won’t Choke Over: Pearls To Fit Your Budget

August 12, 2007 • Magazine

Strands You Won't Choke Over: Pearls To Fit Your Budget

Strands You Won't Choke Over: Pearls To Fit Your Budget

Sun, 2007-08-12 12:00

Rachel Yeomans

They are the standard gift on your “sweet 16thâ€? or for your college graduation; they add class and elegance to any fashion ensemble; and in 1917, they were used to purchase the landmark Cartier store on New York’s Fifth Avenue along with $100 in cash. A woman’s first strand of pearls is usually one of her most prized possessions; but why stop at one? That question naturally turns to, who can afford more than one? Luckily these prized possessions can be purchased at costume costs.

By definition, a pearl is a rounded object produced primarily by types of mollusks, such as sea oysters. By fashion, a strand of pearls is a beautiful — and costly — addition to the little black dress. However, buying bona fide doesn’t mean you have match a four-digit price tag. It means you have to shop smart.

For starters, get to know your pearls. Pearls are differentiated by freshwater or saltwater, and natural or cultured — meaning created with human aid. Most freshwater cultured pearls come from China. Saltwater pearls come from the ocean, usually in protected lagoons. Akoya, South Sea and Tahitian are the three main types of saltwater pearls.

Talking cost, a pearl’s value is determined by its luster, color, size, lack of surface flaw and symmetry. Among these, luster is considered to be the most important differentiator of pearl quality. Yet down to the strand, the larger the pearl the more valuable it is — albeit the more expensive, especially if it is round. However if you can’t budget a whole strand of real pearls, just buy one. A single pearl pendant can emanate just as much class and beauty as a whole strand, and for much less the cost.

Now here’s the final pearl towards your wisdom — if you’re looking for a deal, you don’t have to run to the costume jewelry counter. Instead look small, look oval, look cultured, look freshwater, and above all, look fabulous.

Finds on a Dime

1. Freshwater multicolor oval pearl strand $50

2. Majorica Triple-Strand Organic Man-Made Pearl Necklace $335

3. Cultured freshwater white near round pearl pendant in sterling silver on leather cord $100

4. Cultured freshwater white oval pearl necklace with turquoise medallion in 14kt gold $140

5. Alexis Bittar Pearl Pendant Necklace — Keishi pearls/Biwa pearls/citrine/Lucite®/18k gold vermeil metal $198

6. Majorica Pearl Pendanton Tricolor Chain Necklace
Man-made organic pearls/sterling silver/18k gold vermeil/rose gold

7. Slane & Slane Bee Pendant $210

8. Cultured Freshwater Pearl Multistrand Necklace Reg. $200.00, Was $119.00, Sale $101.15

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