Frequently asked questions
Pearl Knowledge - How are pearls valued/graded?
There are seven qualities that determine the overall value of a pearl: size, shape, colour, luster, surface quality, nacre quality, and—for jewellery with two or more pearls—matching.
1. Pearl Size
When other value factors are equal, larger pearls are rarer and more valuable than smaller pearls of the same type. The largest pearl ever found was over 34 kg (about 75 pounds), and pearls as small as 4 millimeters are used in jewellery.
2. Pearl Shape
‘Perfectly’ round is the most difficult shape to form, making it the rarest pearl shape and—if all other factors are equal—also generally the most valuable. Shapes such as well-formed pears, ovals, and baroque (irregularly shaped) pearls are also prized by pearl lovers and can fetch high prices.
3. Pearl Colour
Natural and cultured pearls occur in a broad range of hues. There are warm hues like yellow, orange, and pink, and cool hues like blue, green, and violet.
Pearl colour can have three components:
1. Bodycolour is a pearl’s dominant overall colour;
2. Overtone is one or more translucent colours that lie over a pearl’s bodycolor;
orient is a shimmer of iridescent rainbow colours on or just below a pearls' surface.
All pearls display bodycolor, but only some show overtone, orient, or both. Currently, the most expensive pearls that are commonly found on the market are the South Sea variety, which occurs primarily in white and gold colors.
4. Pearl Luster
Luster is the measure of quantity and quality of light that is reflected from the surface of a pearl. Of the seven pearl value factors, luster is often considered the most important. Luster is what gives a pearl its unique beauty. A pearl’s luster can be described using four different levels of quality.
Excellent – Reflections appear bright and sharp
Very Good – Reflections appear bright and near sharp
Good – Reflections are bright but not sharp, and slightly hazy around the edges
Fair – Reflections are weak and blurred
Within a pearl type, when other value factors are equal, the higher the luster, the more valuable the pearl.
5. Pearl Surface Quality
Generally speaking the fewer blemishes the surface of a pearl has, the more valuable it is. Like other gems, the aspiration of ‘perfection’ is virtually impossible to achieve because of the natural formation process. A pearls' ‘cleanliness’ is impacted by blemishes which can include spots, bumps or cracks on the surface of a pearl.
6. Pearl Nacre Quality
Luster and nacre quality are closely related. A thin layer of nacre often leads to a pearl having a dull, chalky appearance, and this affects the luster as well as the durability of the pearl. The ideal nacre thickness for a pearl would be above 0.45mm.
7. Pearl Matching
Jewellery designers sometimes deliberately mix colours, shapes, and sizes for unique effects, but for most pearl jewellery, the pearls should match in all the quality factors.
To learn more about the value factors from the world’s foremost authority for diamonds, colored stones and pearls, the Gemological Institute of America, visit GIA’s page on pearl value factors.
Care Instructions - How do I care for my pearls?
Quality pearls are very durable, but proper care and maintenance go a long way in caring for them. By following the below tips you can keep your pearls looking beautiful and lustrous for decades (and generations) to come.
There are three basic rules:
1. Avoid tough chemicals: Pearls are delicate gemstones so it is best for them to be treated gently. Pearls have a luster that can be damaged easily by chemicals, so as a general rule of thumb it is best to ‘put them on last’ — after you've finished spraying perfume or hairspray and putting on makeup. In the event your pearls need to be cleaned, it is best to gently wipe your pearls with a soft, damp cloth. Cleaning agents and soaps will harm your pearls and should never be used. If you have any doubts or want help to clean your pearls, take your jewellery to a professional rather than trying to do it yourself.
The silver chain should be stored with the anti-tarnish tab (the white square tab supplied with your starter necklace) to limit the silver tarnishing. If the silver does tarnish over time (which is a natural thing for silver to do), rub the silver chain (not the pearls!) gently with the jewellery polishing cloth (also provided) until the tarnish comes off.
2. Avoid water and sweat: Even though pearls are created under water, they should not be immersed in water once they become jewellery. Because moisture can find its way into a pearl through the holes that are drilled for stringing, do not shower, take baths or swim with your Pixie Pearls necklace. Remove pearls before exercising to keep them away from sweat and grime -- or simply leave them at home when outdoor sporting activities are planned for the day.
3. Storage: Pearls need to be able to breathe. You should not store pearls in airtight containers such as plastic Ziploc bags or other non-breathable materials. It is best to store them inside the soft Pixie Pearls jewellery box and separate them from other objects/jewellery to avoid scratching the pearls.
Inspection: Caring for a full strand of pearls threaded on silk (as opposed to the Pixie chain sterling silver necklaces) involves an additional step. The silk threads at the core of the necklace stretches over time with wear, so to ensure the integrity and safety of pearls it is usually advised to inspect the necklace once a year to determine if there is a need for it to be restrung. It is best to restring a pearl necklace if you’re able to move the pearl along the strand at all. Depending on wear and care this may be necessary every couple of years -- although it’s not unheard of for a string to last multiple decades or more.
Pixie Pearls Quality - Where does Pixie source its pearls?
Each pearl used in a Pixie Pearls necklace is of the finest gem quality, individually hand picked by our Pixie experts for its optimum combination of luster, roundness and lack of blemishes.
Pearl type: Freshwater pearls
Pearl sizes: 7-8mm
Pearl shape: Near round
The white and pink pearls are sourced from farms in the Asia region that satisfy the quality requirements of Pixie Pearls, and each pearl must pass stringent quality checks by our experts before becoming part of the Pixie family of pearls. Freshwater pearls of the 7-8mm size are usually from the Asia region. A Certificate of Authenticity will come with your purchase.
Our Tahitian saltwater pearls are sourced from the French Polynesian islands. They are baroque tear drop shaped with unique circled details. Their fascinating bodycolors and overtones range from blue, purple, green, chocolate, silver and greys.
Pixie Pearls Quality -Why are there slight differences between pearls?
Pearls are the only precious gems that are produced by a living creature. Pearls formed without human intervention are known as ‘natural’ (or ‘wild’) and are quite rare and expensive. Most of the pearls sold in the modern retail market are ‘cultured’ pearls, which means they are cultivated in pearl farms using human intervention alongside the natural process.
At the pearl farm, a small piece of shell is inserted into an oyster. The oyster then secretes a silky coating (called nacre) around the irritant - layer by layer - until a pearl is formed. Each layer of nacre are fractions of a millimeter in measurements and what is considered a thick nacre of 0.5-0.6mm takes on average of atleast 18 months to form.
A pearl’s development can be monitored by periodically (and carefully!) peeking inside an oyster, but because oysters are living organisms there is a limit to the level of control humans have on the speed and quality of growth. An oyster’s environment as well as the unique characteristics of each oyster determine the quality and thickness of the nacre layers that coat the pearl, and therefore every pearl is precious in its own way.
No two pearls are exactly the same, and because of this the Pixie Pearls team does a lot of work collecting and grouping pearls that are similar to form high quality strands.
Pixie Necklace Journey - Can I buy a full necklace?
If you are interested in purchasing a full strand Pixie pearl necklace, please write to us at email@example.com
Pixie Necklace Journey - Am I restricted to gift three or five pearls at a time?
The Pixie Pearls team are happy to customise your experience as we recognise that sometimes, your gifting situation might be unique. Please write your ideal gifting scenario to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll try our very best to work with you to customise a tailored experience.
Shipping - Does Pixie Pearls cover taxes, duty, etc. for international customers?
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Pixie Necklace Journey - How do I add pearls onto my necklace or bracelet?
Once you have collected the desired number of pearls for either a Pixie bracelet or necklace, email us to confirm details and instructions (also good to check that you have the right amount of pearls) before sending the batch of pearls to us. Once we receive all your pearls, we’ll get onto making it your new piece of jewellery!
The bracelet/necklace will be strung using finest quality double knotted silk thread with each pearl separated by a hand tied double knot. This double knot ensures that no two pearls can ever rub, touch or damage another next to them.
Depending on where you are, allow approximately 2-3 weeks for the bracelet / necklace to complete and get back to you.
Ofcourse, you can always choose to take your pearls to a trusted jeweller who might be located closer to your home to string the bracelet or necklace for you. It is important to us that you get to enjoy your Pixie Pearls the way that works best for you.
I can't find the answer I'm looking for...
Haven't found the right answer yet? No problems. Email your question to us at email@example.com or write us via our contact form. We'll respond to you as soon as possible!
Pixie Necklace Journey - Can I add each additional pearl to the necklace as I receive them? Can I add them myself?
We do not recommend you trying to add the pearls yourself. In these gem quality pearls the drill hole is small so special wiring is used to fit through the pearl and used to position them on the necklace. This wire work is done by our pearl specialists with specific tools and expertise, ensuring the best aesthetic position of each individual pearl on the necklace.
The Pixie Pearls collection process, by design, encourages accumulation of the pearls either on its gift card or inside the Pixie jewellery box. Research has shown that a period of collecting by the recipient fosters appreciation, anticipation and a strong emotional bond forms with the gift.
You can choose to add each incremental pearl batches onto the necklace/bracelet if you prefer. When you are ready, email us to confirm details and instructions before sending the chain and pearls via registered post. Once we receive your package, we’ll get onto adding the pearls onto your jewellery piece.
Allow approximately 2-3 weeks for the bracelet/necklace to complete and get back to you.
Pixie Necklace Journey - Will the necklace get longer as I add pearls or will the chain be cut to maintain the original length?
We recommend cutting the chain as pearls are added to maintain the original length (16”). This is standard practice for all Pixie Pearls necklaces. If you do not want us to cut the chain down please add a note when you send the pearls in to be added. If you choose to keep the chain, note that the necklace will become longer as pearls are added. For example, if you add 2 inches of pearls to the 16” chain, the total necklace will become 18” long.
Shipping - I want to ship to multiple addresses, what do I do?
If you need to ship to different addresses, one option is to do a separate check out process for each address.
Otherwise, email your order details to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange everything for you.
Shipping - Internationally bulk shipping to one address
If you are bulk shipping multiple gifts to ONE address, a shipping discount/refund might apply but not guaranteed. If you've already processed the order online, we will email you to confirm this if a discount/refund is possible.
Otherwise email us if you want to ship more than two items together and we will respond with the appropriate shipping rates for your order specifics.
What is the Pixie Pearls Journey and how is it unique?
Pixie Pearls aims to provide a unique gifting experience. This is centered around creating treasured moments with loved ones, removing the stress from gift hunting and inspiring a sustainable approach by gifting a ‘forever item’. To learn more, Pixie Pearls Journey Page.
Pixie Necklace Journey - How long is a pearl bracelet / full strand pearl necklace? How many pearls are needed?
Pearl bracelets and necklaces can be made for a variety of lengths and tailored to your preference. They can be made longer at any time by adding more pearls.
Bracelets - Adult pearl bracelets will require approximately 14-16 x 7.5mm pearls with a clasp of your choosing.
Necklaces- The full strand Pixie Pearls classic pearl neckace is 16-17 inches, consisting of approximately 51 x 7.5mm Pixie pearls with a clasp of your choosing.