Pearl Sizing
By jiang liu

The Ultimate Pearl Size Guide

So you want to buy pearl jewelry. You've pinned down the color and quality. But then you face a question that stumps you — which pearl size should you go for?
It's an important question, especially when buying cultured pearls for the first time. Pearls come in a huge range of different sizes, so it's no wonder that choosing the best pearl size — which means the perfect piece of pearl jewelry — can be daunting.
That's why we're here.
Below, we'll go over some basic facts about pearl sizes that will help you choose the perfect pearl for YOU or your partner.

General Pearl Size Guidelines

Typical pearls can range in size from 2 mm to 12 mm or even larger. The right pearl size for you will vary depending on your style. Here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind:
Larger pearls are the best choice if you're looking to achieve a formal look, or for those high-wattage red carpet events. Big, bold pearl jewelry will make a big, bold statement, and for those occasions when you want to stand out, they can be the perfect choice.
By contrast, smaller or medium-sized pearls are generally favored for casual everyday wear. They can also convey a subtle, understated elegance, or be combined with other sizes to achieve a unique and modern fashion statement.
Age can also be a factor when choosing the right pearl size. Young women and girls will often find that smaller pearls work best for their needs, matching their smaller frames and more delicate features. Meanwhile, mature women may opt for larger statement pearls that convey sophistication and glamor. Time of day and the occasion at which the pearls will be worn are also important to consider.
The bottom line is that if you want to buy the perfect set of pearls that expresses your individual style and personality, you'll have to do a little bit of digging into the various pearl sizes.
But don't worry. In this article we'll help you sort through all of those options so you can find the perfect set of pearls for you.
First things first, though, let's talk about how pearls are measured, and the sizes you are likely to encounter in your research.

Comparing Pearl Sizes

Freshwater Pearls


Akoya Pearls

Tahitian Pearls

Gold South Sea Pearls

Unlike other gems whose sizes are measured by carat weight, all cultured pearls are measured in millimeters across the diameter of the pearl.
Both Akoya pearls, which really are the classic pearls, as well as beautiful Freshwater pearls, are measured in half-millimeter sizes. For necklaces, bracelets, and pendants, pearl jewelry for both types of pearls comes in size ranges such as 6.0 - 6.5 mm, 6.5 - 7.0 mm and so on.
By contrast, exotic pearl types such as Tahitian and South Sea pearls are measured in whole millimeters. For these pearls, all earrings, rings, pendants and necklaces will feature size listings such as 10.0 - 11.0 mm, 11.0 - 12.0 mm, 12.0 - 13.0 mm and so forth.

What Size Pearl Should You Buy?

The best pearl size for most occasions is the timeless classic 7.0 - 8.0 mm size. This classic pearl size, particularly when set in pearl studs, are a staple of every jewelry box, and they are perfectly suited for everyday wear.
The 7.0 - 8.0 size is quite versatile, and can easily take your look from everyday wear to evening elegance. But there are other applications to consider, too.
An elegantly understated 6.5 - 7.0 mm Akoya pearl jewelry can be ideal for office wear, offering class and style without being too showy. Luxury pearl jewelry sizes, on the other hand — such as the eye-catching 11 - 12 mm Tahitian pearl jewelry — are a glamorous choice for an evening out.
You may have entirely other preferences, and that's okay! After all, jewelries create a frame for your look, and every person is different.
Related articles