How Much Are Pearls Worth? Get to Know Their Value

August 11, 2017 by Emma

The value of a pearl can vary dramatically depending on many factors, such as pearl type, size, color, surface quality, and more. A wild pearl will be worth more than a cultured pearl. So, how much are pearls worth? To keep it short, on average, a pearl’s value ranges from $300 to $1500.

How Much Are Pearls Worth? Natural Pearls VS Cultured Pearls

Black Cultured Pearl in Oyster Shell
Black lip oyster shell with black pearl. studio shot isolated on white by rafael ben-ari/chameleons eye

A real pearl’s value is determined using various factors. The most important factor is whether it’s a natural pearl or a cultured pearl:

  • Natural Pearls – Gemstones found in the sea. Oyster divers go to the surface of the ocean to find the natural gems.
  • Cultured Pearls – Created using a pearl farming technique. They are still 100% real pearls, yet less rare than their natural counterparts.

After many, many years of diving for pearls, divers have made natural pearls so rare; some say they are close to becoming extinct. Therefore, they are hard to find on the ocean’s surface these days. Because of this rarity, natural pearls are generally much more expensive than cultured pearls.

Other Factors That Determine the Value of Pearls

For both cultured pearls and natural pearls, there are other factors that help determine the value of a gem. When trying to figure out how much pearls are worth, jewelers use various combinations of these factors:

pearl shapes

  • Pearl Type – South Sea Pearls are the most valuable
  • Pearl Size – Larger pearls are more valuable than smaller ones
  • Pearl Color – These gems come in a variety of colors
  • Pearl Shape – The rounder the pearl, the more value it holds
  • Pearl Luster – It must have a lustrous shine to have value
  • Pearl Surface Quality – The more surface blemishes a pearl has, the less value it holds

So, how much are pearls worth? Well, no one factor can determine that. It takes a combination of multiple factors to determine the worth of a pearl.

How Much Are Pearls Worth? Value by Types of Pearls

South Sea Pearl Value

14K Yellow Gold White South Sea Pearl Isabella Earrings from The Pearl Source

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South Sea pearls are considered the most valuable. They are also the largest pearl variety on the market. A strand of South Sea pearls can range from $1,000 to over $100,000.  Cultured White South Sea Pearls AND Golden South Sea Pearls are the largest gemstones on the cultured market, making them both rare and very valuable.

Tahitian Pearl Value



Tahitian South Sea Drop Multicolor Pearl Tincup Earrings from The Pearl Source

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Tahitian pearls are exotic, with dark colors. Depending on their size and quality, a strand of Tahitian pearls can cost from $500 to more than $25,000. These magnificent beauties come in a variety of qualities and pearl sizes, as well as some of the most stunning pearl colors.

Akoya Pearl Value


Japanese Akoya Pearl Stardust Earrings by The Pearl Source

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Akoya pearls are the classic round, white pearls. They were the first pearls ever to be farmed, and are a little bit smaller. A strand of Akoya pearls can cost from $300 to more than $10,000. Generally, these are the smallest type of cultured pearl on the market. They were the very first to be cultivated on a pearl farm.

Freshwater Pearl Value

14K Gold Freshwater Pearl & Chalcedony Sophia Tincup Earrings from The Pearl Source

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Freshwater pearls come in a huge range of shapes and sizes and colors. Round freshwater pearls look almost identical to Akoya pearls but are less expensive, with a strand ranging from $50 to $2,000. They are versatile gemstones that are cultivated in freshwater, as opposed to sea or saltwater.

How Much Are Pearls Worth? Pearls As an Investment

Pearls tend to hold their value fairly well. The highest quality pearls are quite durable, which is why vintage pearl jewelry continues to be worth a lot of money today. If you invest in pearl jewelry, you will be able to pass it along to future generations in your family, and it can be a beautiful and valuable heirloom piece.

The Pearl Source Grey Pearl Necklace and Ring Set
The Pearl Source Grey Pearl Necklace and Ring Set by Mika Larson Photography

While the prices of pearls can sometimes seem overwhelming, you do not need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to have a piece that you will treasure for decades. The Pearl Source provides pearls at many different price points. Shorter strands of pearls cost less than longer strands – even if they are the same quality.

This means you may be able to afford a beautiful, high-quality pearl choker even if a pearl rope is far out of your budget. You’ll find that your pearls are a great investment, no matter how much you spend on them.

While pearl jewelry is definitely expensive, it’s possible to find genuine pearl pieces at almost any price point. A pearl’s worth depends on a wide range of factors. If you find that you don’t mind having a less “special” variety, or you don’t mind a few unnoticeable blemishes, you may be able to receive a great deal on your pearls.

The Value of Pearls: Are Pearls a Smart Financial Investment?

When given the proper care, pearls can retain their value for a lifetime. The higher the quality, the more durable the gemstone. That means when you buy pearls, you’re investing in jewelry that can become family heirlooms for you to pass down to younger generations.

How much are pearls worth? Pearls are very valuable because they make awesome lifelong family heirlooms.
How much are pearls worth? Pearls are very valuable because they make awesome lifelong family heirlooms. Image Source: Lindsey Larue

You can build your pearl jewelry collection without having to pay thousands of dollars. Some inexpensive starter pieces include stud pearl earrings, pearl pendants, and simple pearl bracelets.

Start off with simple pieces, then work your way up to more expensive pearl jewelry, such as pearl statement pieces, pearl cocktail rings, and bold pearl necklaces. It’s a lifelong investment you won’t regret.

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