Originally Posted by dopey
I have two thoughts - while I am supposed to be interested in blue, my judgment is that pink will look better. That said, what are Keshi pink pearls?
In terms of size, I think 8.5 - 9mm are minimum starting points.
Second, as for classic shape, my guess is that the recipient will be more flexible than I will be. I will tolerate something fashionable as long as the quality is good. I am willing to pay for a name if it is a warranty of quality, but I am not interested in anyone's genius.
It sounds like you know something about this. What accounts for the color differences. Are the pearls dyed. Is the color natural. Are the species the same? What about the lustre? Do the colors compare to white? Any thoughts on the golden hue?
Dopey, if you don't mind, I'd like to field this question:
The 8.5-9mm size is getting up toward the upper reaches of the Akoya pearl size range. If you are looking for something 10mm or larger, you are best to start looking at South Sea or Freshwater pearls. We are seeing some amazing things in freshwater pearls right now coming out of China. Large sizes, very round, and beautiful colors (white as well as fancy).
As for a name warranting quality, unfortunately, it isn't quite that easy with pearls. While, of course if you go to Tiffany or Mikimoto, you will come home with a beautiful strand of pearls. But much like a diamond, you will be paying a premium for a name, and nothing else. If you take the clasp off of a Mikimoto strand, there would be no way to differentiate it from any other strand of similar quality. As pearls go, we all source our pearls from the same places (even Mikimoto now, who farms a few pearls, but the vast majority are purchased from other growers).
Getting into color, there are a few things that can affect the color of the pearl. The first and foremost thing is the color of the mother-of-pearl (the color on the inside of the mollusk's shell) of the oyster which is the host of the pearl.
To make the pearl begin formation, a person implants a bead neucleus as well as a bit of tissue from another, donor mollusk. This tissue is believed to affect the color of the final pearl as well.
Pearls can be dyed as well, however, this should be disclosed to you by a jeweler who is selling you dyed pearls. You will be amazed at the colors that are naturally available without dye! But, if someone tries to sell you a brown pearl (which are really hot right now) saying that the color is natural... RUN! Unfortunately, that color is not represented naturally.
The golden hue comes from a specific breed of oyster called the Pinctata Maxima, it is one of the "South-Sea" oysters. The color comes as specified above, naturally, or could be dyed.
The different types of pearls each come from a different species of oyster. Tahitian (aka black pearls) come from the Pinctata Margaritifera (sp?), the south sea pearls (white and golden) come from the Pinctata Maxima.
I hope this gives you a head start in your shopping.
If you would like to see any examples of what I am speaking of, let me know!