Pearl Matching

How Matching Affects the Value of Pearl Jewelry

In the case of pearl earrings, pearl necklaces, pearl bracelets and anklets, or any other pearl jewelry involving more than one pearl, the ideal situation is that all the pearls are as close to identical as possible. The factors used are the same as those used to evaluate a pearl’s quality: size, shape, color, luster, surface quality and orientation.

Excellent matching can make a huge increase in the value of a piece of pearl jewelry.  For example, a pair of perfectly matched pearl earrings is worth more than double the price of either individual pearl.  The more perfectly matched pearls there are in a peice of jewelry, the more exponentially valuable it is.  This is because of the enormous quantity of pearls a jeweler must sort through in order to find excellent matches.

In the case that exact matching is not possible, some manner of order or “fitting together” among the pearls is second best.  For example, a graduated pearl necklace (in which the end pearls are smaller and gradually increase in size to the largest pearl that is in the center of the necklace) is more valuable than a strand of pearls that looks random, but less valuable than a strand of pearls where all are nearly perfectly matched.  Similarly, a strand of pearls which alternates colors in a repeated pattern is more valuable than a random mix of colors, but less valuable than a strand of pearls of homogenous color.

Bad matching: These two earrings are not even the same size!  One is significantly smaller than the other.  In addition, the shapes are slightly different.  Points can be awarded for similarity of color, but otherwise, there is no added value of having these pearls in a set together. Mixed Colors: Here the pearls are of more or less the same size, shape and surface quality.  However the seemingly disordered colors make it significantly less valubale than if they were all the same. Graduated Necklace: Here the pearls are well matched in terms of color and luster.  They are also well ordered according to size: the smallest near the clasp, increasing gradually to the large center stone.  The pearls increase in value notably by being matched in this way, though not by as much as if they’d been the same size. Perfect Match:  These pearls are as good as a match can get.  They match in color, luster, surface quality and size.  The value of the two of them together is about double what it would be of the sum of their individual values.