Pearl buyer's guide

With more than 40 years of experience, Linneys are renowned as masters in pearl jewellery. The history of the Australian South Sea pearl in inextricably twined with the Linneys name. Hand-selected for their natural beauty and individual character, each Linneys pearl is of genuine quality, carefully chosen for you upon the five principals of virtue: Lustre, colour, complexion, shape and size.


Difficult to define, Lustre is the elusive element that grants a pearl its beauty and, ultimately, its intrinsic value. A pearl of the highest quality will illustrate a nearly mirrored surface, returning clear and crisp reflections of light and colour. Created by light that penetrates through the organic layers of nacre, a truly lustrous pearl will appear as though it emits a glow from within. When cared for correctly a natural pearl will retain its lustre and beauty for a lifetime. Linneys use the GIA terminology for Lustre grading, hand selecting pearls from Very Good to Excellent.


The colour of a pearl is comprised of up to three elements; bodycolour, overtone and orient. Bodycolour describes the dominant colour of a pearl, while overtone is a layering of translucent colour over the dominant shade. For example, a pearl may have a white bodycolour with pink overtones, a highly desirable combination. Orient does not occur on every pearl, and describes a rainbow iridescence that lies on or just below the surface. When choosing your pearl, colour is a highly personal preference. Demand for certain colours may mean they carry a premium, but Linneys offer a wide array of natural coloured pearls to satisfy every individual taste.


A pearl is an entirely natural creation. Each will have its own distinct and distinguishing features, perhaps most prominently seen in the quality of its complexion. Complexion examines the surface of the pearl, searching for marks or blemishes on its skin. As a natural creation, every pearl will have some imperfection. Blemishes on a pearl can appear in dimples, rings or an uneven surface. The fewer blemishes a pearl shows, the rarer it will be. Some blemishes do not diminish the quality of a pearl, but rather add to its character and genuine aesthetic.


Available in a wide variety, the shape of a pearl will not only affect the appearance but the price. Linneys categorise their pearls as: round, near round, drop, oval, button, circle and baroque. A pearl that is perfectly round in shape is rare and highly desirable, however, pearls of different shape will be more suitable for different styles and jewellery types.


Linneys Australian South Sea and Tahitian South Sea peals are available in sizes ranging upwards from 8 millimetres. Grown for a minimum of two years, each pearl is allowed to develop a thick coating of pearl nacre, increasing its strength and producing a superior quality product. Any Australian South Sea pearl that exceeds 13 millimetres is prized for its rarity, making those in excess of 20 millimetres a truly exquisite treasure. 

Linneys offer an extensive range of handcrafted jewellery featuring premium quality, hand selected Australian South Sea and Tahitian South Sea Pearls. We also offer the unique opportunity to select your own pearl for your bespoke design, created in our Subiaco Studio from premium materials.