What Is A Pearl Chain Necklace?
Half Pearl Half Chain Necklace by Sky Austria
Pearl chain necklaces are a variation of a beaded necklace and consist of single or multiple rows of pearls strung together on a piece of string. Depending on the type of pearl chain necklace you have these can come with multiple rows of symmetrical and identical pears of various sizes and colours.
The use of pearl chain necklaces dates back to ancient history when pearl jewellery was considered the ultimate status symbol in Rome. These pearls were so precious that Julius Caesar passed a law that limited the wearing of pearl chains to only the ruling classes.
Unlike other types of beaded necklaces, the pearl comes from a living creature. Pearls are formed inside an oyster when irritants such as a parasite or debris become accidentally lodged into the oyster's inner body, leading to the creation of a pearl. This is quite a rare process which is why naturally occurring pearl chain necklaces often come with an expensive price attached to them. Additionally, their expensive prices also come from the fact they are one of the rarest gems you can get and the supply of pearls is depleting by the minute.
At Sky Austria we have a completely different definition of a pearl chain necklace. Our version of a pearl chain necklace combines both a chain and pearls strung on a string together into one. If you're interested in learning more check out our half pearl half chain necklace.
How Do You Tell If A Pearl Necklace Is Real?
Photo by Pure Pearls
The majority of “real” pearl necklaces out there are produced through human intervention, this is known as culturing. Nowadays it is extremely rare to find pearls that are naturally occurring, with these types of pearls coming with an insane price tag that most won’t be able to afford.
A lot of the time necklaces advertised as pearl chain necklaces will be made from imitation pearls and beads. These are often made from glass, plastic or shells coated in a pearl-like solution. The benefit of these types of chains is that it provides a more affordable and alternative option for people on a budget who still want to look like they are wearing a pearl necklace. Some imitation pearls look extremely similar to real pearl necklaces, which is why it can be difficult to tell the difference at times.
Below are some of the ways you can tell if your pearl chain necklace uses real pearls:
- Irregularities - for real pearls there will always be irregularities or ridges that differ one pearl from another. If your pearls look suspiciously symmetrical and perfectly rounded then you may have imitation pearls. This is not always the case and some more expensive real pearl chain necklaces can come with super symmetrical pearl beads, however, they should still have some irregularity.
- Temperature - a real pearl will be cold to the touch for the first couple of seconds before warming up from your body temperature. Imitation pearls however will be the same temperature as the room and you won’t feel a significant difference in temperature. Some imitation pearls made from glass can mimic the feeling of a real pearl cold to touch feel, however, the way to distinguish them from real pearls is that they take much longer to heat up than real pearls.
- Colour - real pearls will have a slightly translucent colour that surrounds the outer part of the pearl. You should be able to see hints of pink and green over the main pearl. Imitation pearls will often be one uniform colour. This is not a deciding factor as to if a pearl is real or not, and some real pearls have barely any overtones to them.
- Shine - real pearls reflect light differently from fake ones. Real pearls will reflect light much better than imitation pearls and you should be able to see your reflection clearer in a real pearl than in an imitation one. At the same time, imitation pearls will have a noticeably more glassy look and won't reflect light as well.
- Surface - real pearls whether natural or cultured will have a textured and gritty surface. If you rub two real pearls together or rub a real pearl against your front teeth it should feel similar to the texture of sandpaper. Because imitation pearls are more glassy and smooth they won't have this feel.
- Drill holes - bigger drill holes often indicate that the pearl is an imitation pearl. Additionally, you’ll see some sort of flaking and chipping on the coating around this area. Real pearls tend to have smaller holes.
- Nacre - if you look at the hole drilled into the pearl you should see a line between the nacre and the nucleus of the pearl. Real pearls will almost always have a outer layer of nacre, whilst fake ones will have a thinner artificial layer.
- Weight - in general, real pearls will be heavier than fake pearls and the difference can be noticed just by holding them in your hands. Certain imitation pearls however such as glass ones can pass this test as they often feel similar in weight.
None of these tests should be performed in isolation to determine the legitimacy of a pearl. We recommend doing 2-3 of these tests to determine whether your pearl necklace utilises real pearls.
How Much Is A Pearl Necklace?
Because of the decreasing supply of pearls, the natural pearl becomes more scarce thus driving the prices of chains that utilise these pearls to insane heights.
Determining the value of a pearl chain necklace can be tricky and entirely depends on the type of pearls used as well as the grading of the pearl. Grading of pearls takes into account all of the pearl's characteristics including nacre quality, lustre, surface quality, size, shape, origin, colours/overtone and strength. Another factor considered in the price of a pearl necklace is whether it is naturally occurring or cultured. Naturally occurring pearls are significantly more expensive than cultured ones, due to the rarity of pearl formation events. In general, pearls can range from £100 all the way up to £10,000+.
The main types of “real” pearls are Akoya pearls, Freshwater pearls, South sea pearls, Cortex pearls, wild or natural pearls and Tahitian pearls. The most expensive one out of all of these are the South Sea pearls as they are the rarest occurring pearl you can get. Depending on the roundness of these pearls, shine and surface characteristics, they can retail for £80,000 +
The average cost of these pearls:
- South sea pearls - £4,000 - £85,000)
- White south sea pearls - (£3000 - £85,000)
- Black Tahitian pearls (£2500 - £30,000)
- Japanese Akoya Pearls (£800 - £8000)
- Chinese freshwater pearls (£80 - £400)
How Do You Style A Pearl Necklace?
The first consideration when deciding on how to style a pearl necklace is the length of the chain necklace. Shorter pearl necklace ranging from 16-18 inches are great as a statement piece or even layered with other chains or pendants.
The choker pearl necklace is 16 inches and the princess pearl necklace is 18 inches. These are the best types of pendants for layering as they set a good foundation for adding a longer chain or pendant.
The matinee pearl necklace falls between 22-24 inches, these serve best as statement pieces not layered with any other chains or pendants. Similarly, the opera pearl necklace which falls an astounding 30-32 inches is another extremely eye-catching piece and should be worn as a statement.
One way of styling pearl necklaces is by layering multiple pearl necklaces at various lengths. For example, pairing a pearl necklace choker which is 16inch with a prince or matinee length pearl necklace. This is a great styling option if you are looking to create a really cohesive look and make any outfit look put together and well thought out.
Another way of styling pearl necklaces is with a pendant. Layer a short pearl necklace such as the choker or princess pearl necklace with a long pendant necklace to create an outfit that truly stands out. This is the best for outfits that are simple such as monochromatic black and white outfits, shirts and jeans or a single-coloured dress.
Why not think about adding jewellery to other parts of your body too. Adding matching pearl bracelets can also create a super cohesive look. You could even try to layer pearl chain necklaces with other beaded bracelets or with plain chain necklaces such as the rope chain or Cuban chain.
When adding pearls to an outfit, make sure that you wear darker colour clothes. This will keep the focus on your pearls and ensure that your outfit doesn't distract from the main attraction. Brighter-coloured clothes can distract the gaze away from a pearl-shiny and lustre appearance.
The potential for styling pearl necklaces is endless, they match both informal and formal outfits and can be paired with other styles of jewellery to create a super interesting look.
Are Pearl Necklaces In Style?
Pearl necklaces were super popular in the 80s and 90s but faded away from the fashion world for a short time, now they are making a comeback form 2022 - 2023.
The necklaces have always been a classic jewellery piece that represents royalty, wealth and status, The pearl necklace has been seen worn by royalty such as her majesty, including her tripl pearl necklace and pearl and diamond studs that were gifted by her grandather.
These necklaces aren’t only just reserved for royalty! Many celebrities have been seen wearing these types of necklaces including Billie Eilish, Harry Styles and Addison Rae.
Some say the pearl necklace is even beginning to challenge the style of diamond necklaces. As of right now they are a less common piece of jewellery which is why people are starting to take advantage of that on the red carpet to make a statement.
Can Pearl Necklaces Get Wet?
We recommend that you don’t submerge or expose your pearl chain necklaces to any type of water, especially hot soapy water when hand washing or taking a shower. This is just to ensure that there is not chemicals from soap or detergent that land on your pearls.
Additionally soaking them in water can weaken the thread they are strung on which can completely break your pearl necklace.
We also don’t recommend going into the swimming pool with a pearl necklace as the chlorine can discolour the pearls, reducing theri shine and lustre and making them look dull and grey. If you do get your pearl wet, such as being exposed to rainwater we recommend you take off your pearl necklace to avoid stretching and weakening the thread further.