A: This is by far the most common question I get, and for good reason. Pearl size is one of the key factors affecting the price and also one of the first things to be noticed. While there is no definitive answer to this question, I believe this guide will help you find the perfect size of pearl for you and your budget.
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The Most Popular Size Pearl Necklaces and Earrings
Before we go any, you should know that the most popular, classic and versatile pearl necklaces are in the 7.0-8.0mm size range. The 7.0-8.0mm size range is widely acknowledged to be the "go-anywhere" size, perfect for nights out, office wear or even a quick trip to the grocery store in a T-shirt and jeans. This size range is also age-appropriate for ladies from 16 years old up through women in their 50's, so these are necklaces that will be worn and enjoyed for many, many years. In this size range you have two options:
For a classic pearl stud earring, the same 7.0-8.0mm size range is also our most popular choice. Elegant and versatile, the 7.0-8.0mm pearl stud sits squarely on the earlobe without falling forward or putting too much weight on the ear. This size range can also accommodate a little higher up without crowding out the next earring, which is a common concern today.
Pearl Necklace Size Comparison
The photo below shows the most popular Akoya pearl necklace sizes from 6.0-6.5mm through 9.0-9.5mm. Each half-millimeter increase in size may not seem like a lot on paper, but keep in mind that pearls have volume as well as diameter. A single half-millimeter increment increase can mean as much as in overall size. Compare the first top two strands (6.0-6.5mm 6.5-7.0mm) to get an idea of how that 0.5mm up in real life.
Pearl sizes from top to bottom are: 6.0-6.5mm (top strand), 6.5-7.0mm, 7.0-7.5mm, 7.5-8.0mm, 8.0-8.5mm, 8.5-9.0mm and 9.0-9.5mm (bottom strand).
Pearl Necklace Sizes on a Model
Quick Note: For your reference, our model below is of thin build, average height and is wearing an 18-Inch, Princess length pearl necklace in all pictures below. For most women, the 18-Inch length necklace will come to rest about 1.5 to 2-Inches below the hollow of the throat.
6-7mm Pearls On Model:
This necklace has a delicate and dainty pearl size; the 6.0-7.0mm size range works best for young ladies as a "first pearls" present, or women with petite builds.
Suggested 7mm Pearl Necklaces
7-8mm Pearls On Model:
As mentioned earlier, the 7.0-8.0mm size range is basically "The Classic Pearl Necklace", you really can't go wrong here. This size is very elegant and looks great whether you're at the office, shopping at the store, going out to dinner, special occasions, basically, this size goes anywhere and everywhere.
8-9mm Pearls On Model:
The 8.0-9.0mm pearl size range is the beginning of luxury pearl territory. These pearls will have a nice "heft" to them, and look a tad larger than average for an elegant and glamorous presentation. It is most commonly worn by women 30 years old and up.
9-10mm Pearls On Model:
The 9.0-9.5mm is the largest size Akoya pearls , and is on the higher end for large Freshwater pearls. The 9.0-10.0mm pearl size range is luxurious in both presentation and feel. A perfectly matched necklace of 9.0-10.0mm pearls is a visually stunning strand of pearls that commands attention, yet can still be worn both day and evening events.
10-11mm Pearls On Model:
The 10.0-11.0mm size range consists of large Freshwater, Tahitian and South Sea Pearls. Freshwater pearls will be fairly uniform in shape and size, graduating from 10.0-11.0mm, while Tahitian and South Sea strands will be (i.e. 10.0-12.0mm, 10.0-14.0mm, etc.). These larger pearl sizes are very luxurious and very glamorous!
Suggested 11mm and Larger Pearl Necklaces
Large "Exotic" Strands: Tahitian and South Sea Pearl Necklaces
This category of necklaces features larger pearls in natural shades of black, white and gold. These pearl types are considered "luxury" pearls, and range in size from 9.0mm to 15.0mm and larger, so think: Big Pearls.
They'll typically be "graduated" in size, so a strand might be labelled as 9.0-12.0mm. What that means is that the pearls progressively get larger from 9.0mm at the clasp to 12.0mm in the center and so on.
Below are pictures of some of our "exotic" strands showing what pearl graduation looks like.
This White South Sea pearl necklace shown above graduates from 10.0-13.0mm approximately.