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The No-Nonsense Guide to Akoya Pearl Sizes

Let us begin with a frank confession about pearl sizes – there is no such thing as the perfect size for a pearl. The size of a pearl is a matter of subjective choice. You may like a small pearl or a large one – it doesn’t really matter. The size that fits your style and gives the look that you are aiming for, is the right pearl for your purpose.

However, a large pearl may fit your style but may not fit in your budget. Generally speaking, the price of a pearl is directly proportional to its size. In other words, the larger the pearl is, the costlier it would be. And Akoya pearls are no exception.

All said and done, some conventions do exist in regard to the ‘right’ size to be worn by the user. The decision about what the right size is depends largely on the age and appearance of the person using it. Of course, one is free to break the mould and use a pearl size that is usually worn by women of a different age group but still, if you are a conformist at heart and would like to go with popular taste, it is safe to go by the list below.

Akoya pearls are among the most popular kind of cultured pearls in the world today. While they are rarely of a large size, there are many small to medium sizes to choose from. As such, they are suited for various kinds of jewelry, from the simple pearl drop earrings to long strands or thick bracelets.

Another feature of Akoya pearls that makes them especially suitable for jewelry creations is the fact that they are of a round or near-round shape, as well as of the same size more or less.  Their sizes range from 5.5 mm to 11 mm in diameter, with the higher limits a lot rarer than the lower ones. Here’s a rough guide to the different sizes and their typical usage:

  • 5.5 mm – 6 mm: Women with a small frame or young girls aged between 12 – 16 years look best with these small pearls.
  • 6.0 – 6.5 mm: Young ladies in their late teens or early twenties prefer pearls of these sizes. They make for the perfect gift for graduations or 16th birthdays.
  • 6.5 mm – 7.0 mm: This is the standard “starter” size range and a traditional favorite for a birthday, Christmas and Valentine’s Day gift. Best suited for women in their mid-20s or up.
  • 7.5 mm – 8.0 mm: The traditional favorite for women aged 30 or up, and ideal for making a classy and stylish statement without being too flashy.
  • 8.0 mm – 8.5 mm: Sporting a steeper price tag, pearls of these sizes are worn by women in their late 30’s or early 40’s. They signify financial success of the user.
  • 8.5 mm – 9.0 mm: Jacqueline Kennedy’s famous pearls were of this size and they spell class and wealth.
  • 9.0 mm – 9.5 mm: Somewhat rare, these high-end pearls are traditionally worn by women in their later years.
  • 9.5 mm – 10.0 mm: Quite rare, these large pearls are very expensive and have a  very distinctive appearance.