A pearl necklace is an asset, something beautiful that’s handed down from generation and generation to be worn on only the most special occasions. If you’re considering investing in one, you’re most likely wondering: How much does a real pearl necklace cost?

The answer is that a real pearl necklace can cost as little as $100 and as much as $100,000. You enjoy options when looking for a real pearl necklace, and that’s a good thing. Just be sure you know what you want (and how much you want to spend) before you make your investment in a real pearl necklace.

Here’s a look at everything you need to know about how much a real pearl necklace costs.

Yes, it’s important to do lots of research before you buy a real pearl necklace. But one of the best things you can do is develop a relationship with someone who works at a shop that specializes in pearls. As you’ll see below, your everyday jeweler won’t know nearly enough about pearls to be of service to you. Find a shop that focuses on pearls, and you’ll reap the rewards of talking to a true professional who can give you expert guidance.


The 4 Types of Pearls (And How Much They Cost)

All pearls sold as jewelry are known as “cultured” pearls. That simply means the pearls were farmed in a controlled environment so that they could be used for jewelry. Cultured pearls fall into four categories:

  • Akoya Pearls: Akoya pearls are round pearls that offer the traditional white coloring, though you might notice hints of cream, rose or silver. In some cases, you can find Akoya pearls that have been treated to appear black in color. A strand of Akoya pearls will cost anywhere between $100 and $10,000.
  • Freshwater Pearls: You can find Freshwater pearls that are the traditional white, but they are also available in a wide range of other colors — including lavender, pink and dyed colors. Freshwater pearls are also available in a number of different shapes, including round, near round, button and baroque. Freshwater pearls are the least expensive of these four types. Expect to pay between $50 and $2,000 for a strand of Freshwater pearls.
  • South Sea Pearls: South Sea pearls are the most expensive, ranging between $400 and $30,000. Yes, that’s right: You can pay up to $30,000 for South Sea Pearls. They are typically gold or silver in color, and you can find them in round, near round and baroque shapes. They are the most expensive type of pearl because of how rare they are. A strand of South Sea pearls will run from $1,000 to more than $100,000.
  • Tahitian Pearls: Tahitian pearls are the only type of pearl that is naturally dark. You can find them in a near black, dark green and even silver on the lighter end of things. They are also available in different shapes, including baroque, round, near round. You’ll pay $500 to $25,000 for a strand of Tahitian pearls.


Why Do Pearl Prices Vary So Much?

What influences the cost of pearls? For example, why do Tahitian pearls swing so wildly from $500 on the low end to $25,000 on the high end? Well, the price of pearls is influenced by four key factors:

  1. Size: The larger the pearls, the most they will cost. South Sea pearls tend to be the largest, which is just one of the many reasons why they are more expensive.
  2. Shape: The rounder the pearls, the more they will cost. Pearls often come in button, near round and baroque shapes, too, but round is the most highly valued.
  3. Luster: The most expensive pearls are the ones that have that traditional pearl luster and shine to them. In fact, pearls that are lustrous enough aren’t used in jewelry — instead they are used to make pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and other products.
  4. Blemishes: The fewer blemishes a pearl has, the more expensive it will be. Blemishes can include tips, dents, knobs, divots, bulleting, pin pricks, circles, score marks and more.

When you see a final price for a pearl or a strand of pearls, that number represents a blend of these four factors, plus a few others that aren’t quite as significant.


4 Tips for Shopping for Pearls

Are you ready to go shopping? Here are four things to keep in mind as you search for the perfect pearls:

  1. Scams: Don’t get scammed by fake pearls. There’s a simple test you can use to ensure what you’re buying is authentic. Simply pass a pearl over the front of a tooth. It should feel rough. If it feels smooth, the pearl is fake.
  2. Brands: Brands don’t matter in pearls. You can find quality pearls from providers you’ve never heard of, and no one will ever know the difference. Don’t spend more than you need to just to get a strand at Tiffany’s.
  3. Returns: Always make sure your seller has a return policy, and make sure you understand what the return policy includes.
  4. Specialization: Don’t just run to the jewelry store down the street. Find a provider that specializes in pearls. Not only will you get better service and advice, you’ll also avoid getting scammed.


How to Care for a Pearl Necklace

You want to pass your pearl necklace down to your daughter or granddaughter someday, right? Here are several things you can do to care for your pearl necklace:

  • Cleaning: Always wipe down your pearls with a lint-free cloth after wearing them. Warm water and a non-detergent soap will work just fine for cleaning them. Just make sure you stay away from cleaners that include bleach, chlorine, vinegar and ammonia, and never use a brush to clean your pearls.
  • Storage: Keep your pearls in a soft storage bag. You can’t store pearls with other jewelry, as the other items might scratch and devalue your pearls.
  • Use: You should wear your pearls as often as possible, as wearing them helps improve their luster. Just make sure you put them on last. You don’t want perfume, hair spray or other products getting on your pearls.


Final Thoughts on How Much a Real Pearl Necklace Costs

Stay true to two things when shopping for pearls: 1) your budget, and 2) your style.

The last thing you want to do is spend so much that you never feel like wearing them. Splurging on pearls may leave you feeling like they are too valuable to show off, which is a shame.

And, today, you enjoy so many different color and shape options when shopping for pearls. Find something that matches your style — a strand of pearls that you find simply irresistible. There’s certainly nothing wrong with getting the traditional strand of round, white pearls. But just make sure what you get reflects who you are — and not what someone else thinks or wants for you.

How much did you invest in your real pearl necklace? Or, how much would you be willing to spend on one? Let us know in the comments section, or send a message via our contact form.