Pearl earrings are a timeless beauty. They bestow elegance and refinement upon the wearer and make them shine with class. But since they come in several types and designs, you might need some help deciding which suits you.
To help you in your search, we’ve curated a list of 10 quality pearl earrings you can wear for any occasion. You’ll find what you need in this list–whether you’re looking for the best pearl earrings for a wedding, a little child, or a specific face shape. But first, let’s consider what questions to ask when buying pearls.
What to ask when buying pearls
Here are some essential questions to ask when you’re shopping for pearls.
What type of pearls are they?
The first question you should ask your jeweler is the type of pearls they have. Pearls can be either natural, cultured, or imitations. Natural pearls are the original type formed in the shells of wild living mollusks.
Mollusks produce pearls to defend themselves when irritants enter their shells. They create pearls by secreting layers of a substance called nacre. These natural pearls are worth a lot because they’re rare to find.
The second type is cultured pearls. Pearl farmers grow cultured pearls by artificially stimulating pearl formation in mollusks by introducing the irritants themselves. Cultured pearls dominate the pearl market since natural pearls are so rare. So most pearls sold in shops are cultured pearls.
The third type you’ll find is imitation pearls. Imitation pearls are not genuine pearls. Jewelers make them with glass beads and coat them to resemble a pearl. They usually have a different texture from natural pearls and a perfect shape uncharacteristic of genuine pearls.
A simple test to know if a pearl is real or fake is to rub two pearls against each other. If they slide over each other smoothly, they’re likely not genuine. Natural pearls have a gritty feeling because of their layered structure.
Are they saltwater or freshwater pearls?
Freshwater pearls form in a different type of mollusk than saltwater pearls. These pearls grow in mussels in ponds or rivers, while saltwater pearls grow in oysters in the sea.
While freshwater pearls are more abundant in the market because they exist in large volumes, saltwater pearls are rare. They’re more expensive because saltwater pearls are harder to farm and usually have more desirable quality, color, and size.
What type of saltwater pearl is it?
The most common saltwater pearls are Akoya, Tahitian, and South Sea. Among these three, South Sea pearls are the most valuable.
What’s the quality grading of the pearls?
Unlike diamonds and other gemstones, there’s no specific grading system for pearls. So, if you come across product descriptions that grade pearls as AAAA or AA+, beware. Such gradings have no real meaning (so yes, it’s a trick question).
Is it a dyed pearl?
Some jewelers dye pearls to disguise poor quality. So before you make your choice, ask your retailer if the pearls are color treated. Another way of knowing if pearl jewelry is dyed is by checking if the color is uniform throughout the piece. If the color is uniform, the jewelry is probably dyed.
What’s the luster of the pearl like?
Luster refers to the sharpness and intensity of the reflections on the pearl’s surface. It’s an essential characteristic for determining genuine pearls. Pearls with sharper, shinier, and mirror-like surfaces are highly valued. Whereas dull or opaque lusters are an indication of a poor-quality pearl.
💡 Pro Tip: When shopping for pearls, always go for those with the best luster, as they complement your skin tone beautifully.
10 best pearl earrings for every occasion
Whether you’re looking for the best affordable pearls, luxury pearls, or pearls for any occasion, we’ve got you. Here’s a list of 10 unique pearl earrings that’ll make you look gorgeous.
Best pearl earrings for wedding
We chose these vintage-inspired freshwater pearls from Blue Nile. They’re perfect bridal jewelry because they’re elegant with a delicate sparkle that complements a bride’s blush.
Made of beautiful white cultured freshwater pearls with a halo of white topaz gems and finished with a sterling silver setting, this pair of earrings is heirloom quality. They’re ageless and can be a family heirloom.
Best pearl earrings for sensitive ears
If you have sensitive ears, these white pearl stud earrings from Amazon are perfect. They’re nickel-free with gold-plated posts; since the seller sterilizes them before packaging, they’re safe to wear straight from the box.
Simple and comfortable enough for daily use, they’re a much better option for your sensitive ears than regular gold-plated earrings that may have nickel. But if you prefer bolder designs, these earrings may not be your taste.
Best pearl earrings for little girls
These white gold freshwater cultured pearl studs from Amazon are probably the best pearl earrings you can get a little girl. They’re not gold-plated, so they’re likely to last long.
They’re also screw-back earrings which means they’ll stay on her ear comfortably without falling off or interfering with her activities. Different sizes are available, so these earrings are suitable for all ages.
Best pearl earrings for daily wear
We recommend these precious Baroque freshwater cultured pearls from Brilliant Earth for your everyday pearl earrings. They’re genuine, uniquely shaped pearls with stunning reflections.
Their simple design makes them suitable for daily wear. At the same time, the pearl drop design gives off the right flair to make it stylish enough for any occasion.
Best luxury pearl earrings
We went for the Akoya cultured pearl and diamond drop earrings from Blue Nile. This pair features three diamonds complementing a luminous Akoya pearl set in the finest 18K white gold with a pushback. They have a hefty price tag, but the luxury is worth it.
Best affordable pearl earrings
There are many affordable pearl earrings, but we chose these for their unique design. This pair has a shiny cultured freshwater pearl attached to a four-prong basket setting in rhodium-plated sterling silver. It’s simple and beautiful, yet suitable for any occasion.
Sterling silver is free from nickel and lead, making it excellent for sensitive ears. The best part is this pair of earrings is affordable for anyone. The only disadvantage is the plating may wear off after heavy or long-term use.
Best pearl earrings for round faces
Jewelry experts recommend that people with round faces wear earrings that elongate their faces, making them look slim. That’s why these sterling silver pearl tassel earrings are perfect.
They have a bold and classy design that makes them fashionable for most occasions yet simple enough for daily wear. They’re also made with sterling silver and plated with 18K gold, which is long-lasting and hypoallergenic. The only downside is that they’re imitation pearls, making them vulnerable to chipping and peeling.
Best pearl drop earrings
These brilliant freshwater pearl and diamond drop earrings from Ritani won our hearts with their delicate, elegant, and dazzling look. Made with brilliant rows of fine diamonds and 18K yellow gold, they exude luxury and sophistication. They’re also likely to last for a long time.
Best Mikimoto pearl earrings
We found these gorgeous cluster earrings from Mikimoto. They stole our hearts with their brilliance, luster, beauty, and uniqueness. From the 18K white gold finishing to the diamonds and lustrous Akoya cultured pearls, they’re a pair fit for a queen. The only downside is they’re quite pricey.
Best South Sea pearl earrings
These white South Sea pearl and diamond drop earrings on James Allen were the best we could find. Two lustrous white pearls dangle from a sparking graduated diamond setting finished with 14K yellow gold, giving them a shiny, sophisticated and attractive look.
So, if you’re looking for earrings that’ll give you a poised, delicate appearance, they’re the ones for you.
How to shop for pearl earrings
If you want to get the best out of your pearl shopping, consider these factors.
The price of a pearl will tell you if it’s genuine or not. Knowing the average retail prices will also help you make the best of your shopping experience since you’ll know if jewelers are cheating you, and you’ll get what you want. You can use this price guide:
- Tahitian pearls: Prices range from $200 for the lowest quality pearls to over $36,000 for the highest quality. Average prices are between $200-$700.
- Akoya pearls: The lowest quality pearls can go for $100. Finer qualities can be up to $6000. But on average, you could get them for $150-$400.
- South Sea pearls: They’re the most expensive saltwater pearls. You can get a low-quality pearl for $200, but finer, quality pearls cost as much as $140,000. The average price range is $250-$500.
- Freshwater pearls: They’re widely available and more affordable than the others. A freshwater pearl costs as low as $20. However, higher-quality pearls can go for $5000.
- Natural pearls: They’re highly valued and rare, so it’s no surprise that the cheapest natural pearls can cost $500.
Although there’s a lot of competition among retailers, some brands consistently come out as the best in selling luxury pearl jewelry. These are some of the exceptional brands:
- Tiffany and Co.
- Pure Pearls
- James Allen
- Blue Nile
- The Pearl Source
When shopping, the type of pearl you buy depends on your preference and budget. Natural pearls are the most valuable and expensive. Saltwater pearls follow closely behind, while freshwater pearls are relatively affordable. Imitation pearls are usually cheap, but you should take care when shopping so you don’t get sold a lesser quality pearl for a high amount.
Aim for the best
There’s a wide range of options, but we’ve listed only the best pearl earrings. The ultimate decision lies in choosing what fits your style and budget.
However, we recommend you choose only genuine pearls, even if they come at a higher cost. They’re more likely to last longer, giving you the luxury and satisfaction you desire.
💎 You should know: We use affiliate links throughout our site. This means we may earn a cent or two when you make a purchase on our site. Thanks for adding to our shine.