Okay, you want to buy an important piece of jewelry. Should you, in your excitement, run straight to the jewelry store? NO!
There are a few things to consider before diving right in. Some of these things are researching settings and stones you’re interested in, as well as the budget associated with each. A little bit of planning time used on the front end of the decision making process can make it a lot smoother and quicker to get the desired result!
In short- there are a few key differences between diamonds and pearls. Diamonds in pearls differ in intended use, rarity, durability, and price. These are important things to keep in mind before making big decisions about pieces for things like engagements or inheritance items to be passed down through generations.
This is a comprehensive guide to the differences between pearls and diamonds. We’ll cover everything from pricing, to when to use each setting, and what each is best for. We want to help you make the most informed decision as possible so that you can end up as happy as can be with your new piece of jewelry, for whatever occasion you may need or want it for.
Let’s dig in!
- Pearls vs. Diamonds (Pricing, When To Use and More)
- The Basics of Pearls
- The Basics of Diamonds
- Key Differences Between Pearls and Diamonds
- Price Ranges of Pearls
- Price Ranges of Diamonds
- Best Settings for Pearls vs Diamonds
- Related Guides
- Can Men Wear Pearls (If So, Which Ones)
- Pearl Earring Sizes (Which One Should You Get)
- 4 of the World’s Most Expensive Pearls (Are They Worth It?)
Pearls vs. Diamonds (Pricing, When To Use and More)
We’ll begin with journey with a sky line view to serve as a general overview of the differences between pearls and diamonds. Both items are extraordinarily valuable, beautiful, and timeless. Each of them, however, have different aspects that make them best for different people, situations, and settings.
Diamonds are a traditional choice for an engagement ring because they are durable, long lasting and can be used in any setting. Diamonds are a ten on the MOHS hardness scale. Most knives, for context, end up between a four to a six on the scale. Diamonds are extraordinarily hard to scratch, and are simply beautiful over the long term. However, if you want something that is more versatile and can be worn on a daily basis then pearls should be your go-to.
Pearls have been around since ancient times. They come in many different shapes and sizes, which means that there are countless ways to wear them! Pearls are often used in beautiful necklaces, and seem to be the piece of choice to pass down in inheritances. They are rare, and sought after by many! When it comes to pricing they tend to cost less than diamonds, on average, which is something to consider.
The Basics of Pearls
Pearls have some of the most interesting journeys of formation among anything like them. The process is intricate and rather slow, which is what helps to contribute to the rarity and value that they hold over very long periods of time.
Pearls are formed when a mollusk secretes layers of calcium carbonate around a small grain of sand. The oyster will then coat the grain in nacre. Nacre is an interesting mineral that’s soluble (able to be dissolved) in water. Nacre forms by the shellfish’s own body to protect itself from predators. How cool is that! The coated grains become the pearls that we end up wearing as a sign of luxury.
Here’s a very interesting aspect of the process that not many people stop long enough to consider- different species of mollusks can produce different types of pearls. That’s right! There’s no one stop shopping when it comes to nature’s process for pearl creation or our use as human beings.
Natural pearls are created by three different means. The three are saltwater mussels, freshwater mussels and abalone.
Cultured (sometimes known as or referred to as farmed pearls) are grown inside an oyster or other bivalve like scallops or clams.
Lab-created (sometimes known as or referred to as synthetic pearls) are grown using chemicals in place of natural ocean water.
Why do people love them?
Pearls are associated with purity and timelessness because they’re usually found inside oysters that grow inside the bodies of female bivalves (mollusks).
One lesser known fact that might surprise you is that pearls once held an even more important role in society than just many women’s piece of jewelry of choice.
Pearls have actually been used as currency throughout history because they were rarer than gold—and some believe they still hold similar value today! Who would’ve thought that something worn around a neck could’ve been used to pay a few weeks’ worth of wages for the average worker? Not me!
The Basics of Diamonds
Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on earth. The carbon atoms in a diamond crystal structure form bonds that are very strong, making it extremely difficult to break.
To get more technical, diamonds, or the carbon atoms in them, rather, form crystalized lattice structures in the form of tetrahedrons, which contribute to how strong and durable diamonds remain to be to this day.
Diamonds have to be mined, because they’re often formed by carbon deposits deep in the earth. Diamonds can be found in many parts of the world but they are mainly mined in Africa, Russia and Brazil. Surprisingly, diamonds are also created artificially in laboratories using high-pressure machines and intense heat.
Occasionally, other means are used as well as other materials such as graphite or silicon carbide powder which is then heated up under very high temperatures until it turns into a shiny stone called synthetic (man made) diamonds or cultured (grew like plants) diamonds depending on how they were formed.
Why Do We Love Them So Much?
The reason for this is that they have been valued since ancient times for their beauty and brilliance; many cultures believed them to be magical stones with special powers which could ward off evil spirits or bring happiness into one’s life when worn around their neck or finger etc. Common sense, however, reminds us that diamonds are extraordinarily valued because of their rarity.
The longer it takes something to form and the harder or costlier it is to acquire, the more “rare” we deem something to be as a society.
In addition to rarity, diamonds are beloved because of their versatility. You can get diamonds in thousands of different cuts, carats, and color variations of the two. There really is a combination of effects that can make a diamond a perfect fit for just about everyone, and that makes them renowned all over the world as pieces perfect and timeless for celebration.
The third reason people often love diamonds is the price range. If your budget is small, you can get a very very small diamond and be satisfied.
If the budget is larger, or if the initial budget increases (in the case of a ten year vow renewal, for example), larger diamonds can be chosen to shine! This versatility in price range makes something as rare as a diamond within reach of a lot of people who wouldn’t usually be able to own a piece of fine jewelry.
Key Differences Between Pearls and Diamonds
Let’s pause for a moment and make sure we have nailed down the key differences between pearls and diamonds, namely the differences in composition, formation, longevity, appearance, maintenance, cost, value retention, trends, and range of design.
There’s so much to consider!
Below the differences are grouped for convenience. It’s important to know which factors are most important to you so that you can make the decision that works best for your wants and needs!
The difference in composition, appearance, and maintenance of pearls and diamonds:
Pearls are made of nacre, which is a substance secreted by mollusks as an inner lining for their shells. A pearl forms when a foreign object gets inside the shell, triggering this secretion.
In contrast, diamonds are crystallized carbon. Diamonds tend to last longer because of hardness. Both pearls and diamonds are beautiful, and both can be maintained by a professional jeweler (pearls often need more professional maintenance).
The difference in formation, cost, value retention, trends, and range of designs of pearls and diamonds:
The formation process happens over time depending on various factors such as species, shape and size of the mollusk shell (which may be organic or cultured), environmental conditions like temperature and salinity levels in addition to genetics among other things.
For example, oysters live for about five years before producing anything meaningful so it takes several years before any new material can be used to create jewelry pieces if you plan on buying one directly from an oyster farm somewhere near your home town; whereas diamonds form due to intense pressure deep within Earth’s surface which means they don’t take very long at all.
Diamonds retain their value well, but pearls (in terms of value retention and trend) are often used as legacy pieces for inheritance. Diamonds have a much larger range of designs with a lot more options for personalizations.
The difference in longevity between pearls & diamonds:
Pearl jewelry will last forever because there’s nothing else needed beyond regular maintenance like cleaning with mild soap solution followed by rinsing thoroughly under running water till clean again.
Whereas diamond jewelry might not last forever but they’re more durable than most other precious stones out there, thanks largely due to their hardness index rating which measures how resistant something is against scratching/denting.
These ratings vary greatly depending upon each individual case scenario such as hardness level alone doesn’t guarantee longevity either way since some people have also been known to wear diamond rings every day without any problems whatsoever (even though this would probably wear down even steel eventually).
Price Ranges of Pearls
Price ranges for pearls are determined by several factors, including the type of pearl, its size, and its grade. Pearls can be extremely pricey but one of the most reliable pieces in your collection.
The largest factor in pricing for pearls is the type of pearl it is!
Pearls that come from the Pinctada maxima oyster are considered “mabe” pearls; these pearls are generally more expensive than Akoya pearls.
Mabe pearls tend to be larger than Akoyas and have a higher luster (the way light reflects off the surface of a gemstone). Mabe also tends to be more round in shape than Akoyas, which tend to have irregular shapes because they happen naturally inside an oyster’s shell.
The size of a pearl is important when determining its value; larger sizes result in higher prices per carat because there is more material per carat. Larger pearls also show off more coloration due to their size and depth; this tends to make them more valuable as well as impressive pieces of jewelry overall.
Pearl grading systems used by reputable jewelers will often indicate if your pearl has blemishes or flaws that may affect its appearance or durability over time—and you’ll likely pay less for these imperfections!
Price Ranges of Diamonds
Between diamonds and pearls, you can expect to pay more for the former. A diamond is worth more than a pearl because it’s rarer, so there are fewer of them available in the market.
The price range depends on the grade, size and color of a diamond; but even within those factors there are many variables that affect pricing as well. For example:
Diamonds vary from $1000 to tens of millions for different sizes, cuts and carats.
If you are looking for something similar to a diamond that doesn’t break the bank then why not give morganite a try?
Best Settings for Pearls vs Diamonds
A lot of people ask us what is the best setting for pearls vs diamonds, and unfortunately there is no answer to that. This depends entirely on your preference or style. Diamonds are best for rings because of durability, whereas pearls are best in studs, earrings or necklaces.
- Diamond: Some settings that work well with diamonds include pronged headpices, bezel settings and channel set designs.
- Pearl: For a pearl bracelet you can use a smaller diameter pearl like our South Sea white cultured freshwater pearls (available here). For larger pearls we recommend a French wire clasp with matching jump rings (available here).
Let’s wrap up what we’ve learned about diamonds and pearls:
It’s very important to fully investigate different attributes of the substance you’re comparing, in this case, pearls and diamonds. In order to make the most informed decision with your time and money, researching different aspects of each option is vital to securing the perfect fit for you!
Both pearls and diamonds are beautiful and can be a great option for engagement rings. While they may have some similarities, there are key differences between the two that make them unique in their own way. Pearls are often used in necklaces and bracelets, rather than rings.
One of the main differences is in their price range; pearls tend to be less expensive than diamonds because they’re harder to find naturally occurring or cultivated in large quantities.
Another difference is how hard each gemstone is on its surface as well as how durable each one can be depending on how much care you take with it (such as cleaning).
However, both gems are still very popular today which means there’s plenty of options available for consumers looking for something special when picking out something special for themselves or even for a special someone else!
Our Team of 10 includes jewelry experts, antique Buyers & Sellers, baseball card collectors, and other appraisal experts.