Pearl Size

How Size Affects the Value of a Pearl

Pearls are measured in millimeters.  Non-spherical pearls are described in 2 dimensions.  As would be expected, larger pearls are more valuable and more expensive than small pearls.  Typical pearl sizes range from 4mm to 15mm.  Larger pearls are more expensive (all other factors being equal) because it takes longer to produce them. The largest cultured pearls can take as long as twelve years, whereas many smaller pearls can be harvested after 18 months.  Using resources for 12 years on one batch of pearls is very costly.  In addition, since it is usually more profitable for pearl growers to sell more small pearls than fewer large pearls, large pearls are produced less and are therefore rarer.

The difference in price of pearls of various sizes increases as the pearls get larger.  For example, a 9 mm pearl might be $300 more than a 7mm pearl of similar quality.  However a 15 mm pearl might be $2000 more than a 13 mm pearl.

Very Small: The pearls in this brooch are very very small (about 2mm to 4mm).  They are known as keshi pearls or seed pearls.  Pearls of this size are common (especially among freshwater pearls).  They are never considered precious gems like the larger pearls. Average: This pearl is 7 mm wide: an average to large size for pearls in fine jewelry. Large: This pearl is exceptionally large at 9 mm.  A pearl of this size and similar quality to the 7 mm pearl may be double the price Very Large:  Pearls this large are exceptionally rare.  It is12.5 mm and consequently, worth about 4 times the value of the previous pearl.