Buying Pearls

I don’t know anything about pearls, but I need to buy a fairly large (8-10 mm) nice, half drilled pearl. Can anyone tell me what to look for and where to look? Thanks…Rob

Rob, I always go through Rio Grande for my pearls. I feel like they are a trusted source. I’m sure there are other good sources.

As @ kreder9277 said, Rio Grande is a trustworthy source. I buy pearls from Stachura: Wholesale Gemstones Supplier - Stachura Wholesale ( and they are, too. They are an Orchid advertiser. It is worth a look to see if they have what you want.

Neil A


I also buy my pearls and other stones from Stachura.

Rob, It’s my understanding that larger (8mm-10mm) Akoya pearls are rare. Akoya pearls are what most people consider the classic pearl. You might consider freshwater pearls, in my experience, they will most often have better luster and are prettier, and you can find them in larger sizes, although they might not be perfectly round. Looking at Rio Grande’s pearl page, the largest Akoya in the typical pinkish white, is only 7.5mm. I’ll stick my neck out here and say that most of the inexpensive pearls are enhanced.

I have bought some beautiful freshwater pearls from Columbia Gem House. They also carry the Cortez pearls, which are beautiful. Cortez Pearls® are rare saltwater cultured pearls from the rainbow-lipped Pteria sterna oyster, native to Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. They run into your larger sizes (8mm to 10.5mm). They have a shimmering iridescent natural color. The cultured Cortez Pearls® are not enhanced in any way. After they are removed from the shell, Cortez Pearls® are washed in water, soaked in mineral oil for six hours, and then dried. Granted, they aren’t cheap.


For high quality pearls I always go to Maurice Goldman.

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Hi, Rob!

Where to begin? What type of pearl do you want? And what color, natural or dyed?

Independent of the source, e.g., saltwater or freshwater, the guidelines which determine a pretty pearl are the same. It should be spherical. The pearl itself should be clean, no blemishes. The nacre/lustre should be high and almost metallic. If the pearl is a white Japanese pearl, the body color should be white (as opposed to cream); the overtone most popular is rosé. In Akoya pearls, 8mm is large, but we do have Japanese pearls up to 9.5mm in stock. BTW, all the pearls discussed here are cultured.

I would be happy to help you further. Contact me off-line, if interested.


Thanks, I will…Rob

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J Frank Golden and apply for free membership to Facebook group jewelers helping jewelers/Aleah Arundale is admin look for her name

Hi Rob: not sure of where you are located geographically, so if you’re in MA I’d make a trip to Stachura in Uxbridge. Or if you’re inclined to leave it up to someone else - Rio. They’ve both been in business for a long time and I’ve done business with both. Stachura is not as huge as Rio and for my buck, they may give really good customer service and assistance when you’re looking for something specific.

Thanks for the suggestions. I have been making jewelry for 50 years and have done business with Rio for many of them. My dad did business with Stachura and always spoke well of them. After looking at their website, I may too. My customer and I are still in conversation about pearls, but we will make a decision soon. Thanks…Rob

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YK Trading here in Seattle, WA. Yoshi: (206) 953-8866.

Ellen Lyons

If this is a client who wants the very best and isn’t afraid to pay for it King’s Ransom has some of the best high quality pearls around. Betty Sue King is the owner. She really knows her pearls.

Here’s the link to her site

The customer is my wife and the occasion is our 52nd anniversary. With the help of all of you, we have learned a lot about pearls and have ordered one. Thanks for all the help…Rob