White pearl collar necklaces have been around for centuries. This style reached its peak during the Victorian era, where women of high birth wore them to accentuate their necks or over their high-collars to accessorize their clothes. White pearl collar necklaces have recently been making a comeback and enjoying a new popularity with stylish women of all ages.

White pearls are a favorite of women in the U.S. In Asia, women prefer silver-colored pearls. White has always been the color associated with pearls, even though they do come in a variety of shades and tones. White has remained a favorite over the years because of their simple and understated elegance.

Choosing pearl quality

One of the rarer pearls and the more expensive are natural pearls, produced 'by accident' when underwater irritants enter the shell of an oyster. Cultured pearls are the more common, since they are created using artificially planted 'nuclei'. They are in no way inferior to natural pearls and in fact are quite valuable; they are just produced differently.

When choosing fine white pearls, remember several factors that contribute to its beauty and value: the nacre thickness, luster, surface texture, size and shape.

Nacre thickness is probably the most important factor to consider when buying white pearls. Nacre is the crystalline/organic substance that is excreted by the oyster or mollusk when an irritant or nucleus enters its shell. This substance coats the irritant in layers, until it becomes thick. This coated irritant or nuclei becomes the pearl.

Nacre thickness differentiates a high-quality pearl from a low-grade one. The thicker the nacre coating, the more durable and long-lasting the pearl is. Pearls with thinner nacres usually do not maintain their luster over the years and may in fact chip off.

Luster refers to the reflective quality of the pearl. The pearl has a mirror-like surface and the quality of its luster is directly affected by the thickness of the nacre. The thicker it is, the deeper the shine. High-quality white pearls reflect light and the surrounding objects best.

Surface texture refers to the clearness and smoothness of the pearl. It is the near absence of imperfection on the surface. No pearl has the perfect surface, but minimum and nearly imperceptible flaws affect its overall look and value. Pearls are graded depending on its imperfections, like spots, bumps, discolorations and other irregularities that show on its surface.

The size of the pearl is determined by its diameter and is measured in millimeters. Tiny pearls measure from 1mm and under while bigger pearls can reach a diameter of as much as 20mm, just below an inch. With all things being equal, size can mean a huge difference in the value of a pearl. The bigger ones, of course, fetch the higher price.

Pearls are never perfect. If one such is found, it is probably the rarest and the most expensive. Because pearls follow the general shape of its irritant or nucleus, it can come in a variety of shapes, from the spherical to the symmetrical to the baroque. Which one you pick for your pearl collar will depend on your preference.

Color and overtone

White pearls are white, right? Well, not quite. Aside from the similar silver color, there are also white pearls whose main body color is affected by its overtone. Overtones are hints of color that lie on top of the main body color of the pearl. Think of a pearl as a tiny white sphere and its overtone like a slightly colored clear plastic that is wrapped tightly and smoothly over it and you can imagine how slightly different the white would appear.

White pearls could have one or more overtones. These can enhance the beauty of white pearls and provide a unique glow to its iridescent quality. Some white pearls, for example can have pink or yellow overtones. Which one you choose is really just a matter of personal taste.

Why collar necklaces?

Collar necklaces have an old-time charm. If you look at paintings and illustrations that date back some centuries ago, you will find collar necklaces adorning the necks of women, even queens and princesses.

Collar necklaces are about 12 to 13 inches long and may be composed of three or more strands of pearls. These are worn to fit the middle of the neck snugly. They are best worn during semi-formal to formal occasions when they can accentuate a slender neck and draw a stop to a pointed chin.

Topics: necklace
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