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Pearl Sizes

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Pearls range from tiny 1mm seed pearls to 20mm South Sea giants (mortgage your house if you want a strand of those). For round pearls, the most common size is 7-7.5mm.

Pearl prices rise sharply after about 7mm. The longer they remain in the water the more chance there is of the mollusc dying of disease or other causes, or of the pearl losing it's shape or developing unsightly blemishes.

Measuring Pearls

pearls are measured through their round diameter Pearls are measured in millimetres through their round diameter - perpendicular to the axis of the drill hole. For example, this 9mm oval pearl is measured along the line of the arrow.

Pearls are described in sizes like 5mm-5.5mm or 8mm-9mm. The pearls on the strand should fall on or between these measurements. Although a half millimetre sounds tiny, the human eye is good at spotting small differences

round pearl sizes
From the top...

5.0 - 6.0mm
6.0 - 7.0mm
7.0 - 8.0mm
8.0 - 9.0mm
9.0 - 10.0mm


The World's Biggest Pearls

the pearl of allah
     pearl of allah

The Pearl of Allah, is the largest known pearl measuring 9.45 inches in diameter and weighing 6.4 kilograms (14.1 lb). In 2006 the appraisal value was US$61,850,000. The pearl was taken from a giant clam off the coast of Palawan in May 1934 by a Filipino diver.

the hope pearl
the hope pearl

Probably the most famous pearl is the 'Hope Pearl' named after it's owner Henry Hope and displayed in the Natural History Museum in London. The pearl was found early in the 19th Century and weighs about 90 grams.

the world's biggest pearls More recently, the silver coloured pearl shown above weighing 170 grams was found on the seabed off an island of Myanmar (Burma). It's understood that the fisherman who found the pearl donated it to the military government, thus avoiding the unpleasantness associated with an involuntary donation.

comparison

6, 7, 8, 9 and 10mm pearls against an 18mm British fivepence piece pearl sizes

south sea pearls

south sea pearls The world's largest, most expensive, and most desirable white and golden South Sea pearls come from the waters of Australia, Indonesia and the Phillipines.

an offer we can refuse

enormous rock
A gentleman from the Phillipines invites The Pearl Market to buy his prized 'pearl' weighing 5.25kg. If anyone's interested we still have his telephone number.

stop press...

pearl from a giant clam
In September 2016 this monster was reported to have been discovered in the Phillipines. Not realising it's value, a fisherman claimed to have been keeping it under his bed as a good luck charm until his shack burned down. Extracted from a giant clam and weighing in at a massive 34kg with an estimated market value of US$100 million, it remains to be seen whether the pearl is verified as genuine.

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