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Are Colored Pearls Less Valueable?

By Tara Andrews
December 31st, 2009

Dyed Red Freshwater PearlsI am often asked whether the colored pearls I use in my jewelry designs are naturally occuring. Pearls naturally occur in white, ivory, shades of pink or peach, and Tahitian black pearls. All the other colors of pearls are dyed. So does that mean that the pearls are less valuable because they are dyed? Not necessarily.

Often, the pearls that are dyed are ones that lack a certain quality in its natural form. For example, it may be lacking some luster or may have some slight color variances. By dyeing the pearls it can create a uniform color and increase the pearls luster to make the pearls more valuable than they were in their natural condition.

Dyed pearls can allow you to obtain pearls in colors that you may not be able to  afford as natural pearls. The black Tahitian pearl can cost anywhere from $1,800.00 and up for one pearl!  Freshwater pearls dyed black can be purchased for a small fraction of that price and you can purchase a beautiful hand-knotted necklace, bracelet, and earrings for a small fraction of the price of one Tahitian pearl. Black freshwater pearls are some of my favorites.

So how are pearls dyed? Well, I leave that to the experts but the basic idea is that they are put in a solution to coat the outer layers of nacre on the pearl to change the pearl’s color. Every batch of pearls dyed can be a slightly different color which makes it hard to match pieces of jewelry later.  This can be due to variances in the pearls or variances in the solution used to dye them. I recommend that if you are interested in buying dyed pearls that you buy all your colored pearl jewelry at once to ensure that the colors match.

Is the dye permanent? Yes, the dye is permanent. Although the pearl’s color may fade over time; however, they sometimes look even better once the colors fade a little. Fading takes several years so if you are purchasing pearls for a special occasion like a wedding, you can be sure that they won’t fade before your big day.

By dyeing freshwater pearls, you can get pearls in every color of the rainbow – from blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and even metallic colors like gold, silver, and bronze.

So which color pearls are on your wish list?

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I'm the author of this blog, a writer and independent jewelry artist from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

I love writing and sharing ideas and information about weddings while introducing readers to my new designs.

Vendors and products mentioned in posts did not pay me to be featured on this blog. I share wedding vendors and products that I believe my readers would like to know about.

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