Pearls 101

Synonymous with elegance, class, and versatility, Pearls are formed when a foreign body enters the shell of an oyster, which reacts by secreting layer upon layer of ‘nacre’ over a period of time. The majority of pearls on the market today are cultured, meaning a bead is intentionally introduced inside the oyster shell. 

The finest cultivated pearls come from Japan, China, Tahiti, Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. With the advancement of cultured pearl technology, it can be challenging to distinguish high quality freshwater pearls from saltwater pearls. The popularity of freshwater pearls makes them a wonderful choice over the saltwater pearls because of their affordability.

Chicago Pearl Company features primarily freshwater pearls from various parts of Asia, where the industry has grown rapidly. Our pearl collection includes an outstanding display of color, beautiful luster, and a vast array of shapes and sizes.
Whether long or short, pearls are versatile and add the ultimate touch from black-tie to a day at the beach. And nothing compares to a pair of rugged jeans and a
t-shirt with a strand of pearls gleaming from your neck. Pearls give you the ability to always look elegant and confident no matter what is on your wardrobe agenda for the day. The beauty of pearls is that they can be worn multiple ways
while accommodating many styles. The key is to experiment
and find the style that's just right for you.



  •  Collar (12”-13”) The Collar necklace is usually made of two or more strands and fits comfortably around the middle of the neck.
  • Choker (14”-16”) The choker necklace sits perfectly around the base of the neck.
  • Princess (17”-19”) The Princess necklace is the most popular necklace length and it falls just below the neck.
  • Matinee (20”-24”) The Matinee necklace is longer than the princess necklace and is slightly shorter than the Opera length.
  • Opera (28”-34”) The Opera necklace is a classic length and can be worn as a single or double strand.
  • Rope (over 45") The Rope necklace is at least 45 inches in length. It is extremely versatile and can be transformed into a multi-strand necklace.
  • Dare to be Different (100") Wrap this length around your neck several times for the ultimate WOW!
Pearls are more fragile than most other gemstones. It’s important to handle them carefully to keep them in the finest condition. One of the best ways to care for your pearls is to wear them often as the body’s natural oils keep pearls lustrous. 
  • Always put on your pearls after you have applied your lotion, perfume, and makeup. Chemicals found in these common products can dull the luster of your pearls. It is recommended that you put your pearls on last when getting ready and make them the first thing you take off at the end of your day.
  • Wipe your pearls with a soft, damp cloth after you remove them and allow your pearls to dry prior to putting them away.
  • Never clean your pearls with a solution and do not put them in an ultrasonic cleaner.
  • Store your pearls in a soft pouch or a separate box to avoid scratching.
  • If you wear your pearls often, your necklaces and bracelets should be restrung (and knotted) periodically to prevent the silk or nylon thread from breaking.                                                       
Pearl bracelets and necklaces of authentic quality are always knotted between each pearl. This prevents the pearls from rubbing together and causing damage. The knots also keep pearls safe by acting as security stoppers. If the thread breaks, you might lose one or two pearls but the knots will keep a majority of the pearls from falling off the strand. Knots can also tell you the condition of your necklace or bracelet. If you see extra space between the pearls and the knots, it is a sign that the thread is becoming stretched and weak and it is time to have your pearls restrung.
General rule of thumb: White pearls-White string. Black pearls-Black string. To create a more unique look, we sometimes change it up a bit: White Pearls-Black string. Or Black Pearls-White String. This creates a more unique and hip look as
opposed to the traditional knotting with similar colors.
Chicago Pearl Company does not offer onsite restringing but we can accommodate your needs offsite at a fraction of the price you might pay elsewhere.
Contact Us directly for pricing and more information. 
Because pearls are natural, no two are perfectly alike and each is unique in shape, color, and luster. Some pearls have more "character" than others. This character gives each pearl their own personality.
• Imitation pearls will most likely be perfectly symmetrical in size, shape, luster, and color.  
• Real pearls are cool to the touch, even in warmer temperatures. 
• Most authentic pearl strands will be double knotted.  
• No knots? Most likely your pearls are not real.
• Tooth Test: Rub your pearls across your teeth in a side to side motion. A real pearl will feel rough or slightly granular. Imitation pearls that are made with glass or plastic will be more smooth and will easily slide across your tooth. The easiest way to compare real pearls and authentic pearls is by doing the "tooth test" side by side at the same time. There will be a distinct difference in how they feel sliding across your tooth.