Pearl Colors

How Color Affects the Value of a Pearl

A pearl’s color is defined by three factors:

1) Body Color: This is the base color of a pearl.  Possible base colors include black, grey, white, silver, cream, rose, gold, etc.  The base color is the one that is used in the “label” of the pearl.  The body color affects the value of the pearl in that the rarer the color, the more valuable the pearl.  In South Sea pearls, the most expensive color is usually white with rose overtones and deep gold.

2)Overtones: Overtone colors are very subtle: they describe the kind of overlay or colored glow that a pearl shows. Not all pearls have an overtone.

3)Orient: Orient describes the rainbow of colors that can exist in the shine of a pearl.  Not all pearls have orient colors.  Good orient will add value to a pearl.

Pearl colors are best evaluated under direct sunlight. If you own pearls of good color, you can take them into the shop with you to compare them to the pearls for sale to avoid being manipulated by fancy lighting.

Here is an illustration of how color can affect the value of pearls:

Orient: Here is a Tahitian Black Pearl displaying very nice orient.  You can see how there is a ranbow of shine from green to pink to almost purple. Rich Color: This South Sea Pearls will be valuable for their intense natural golden color. Overtones:  These white South Sea pearls display a slight rose overtones.  You can see it near the shadows.  This color is very valuable.