We all know there are benefits to buying jewelry online. Not only do you have access to a massive worldwide inventory, but you also are able to find very competitive prices by comparing different sites. This applies to buying pearls online as well. However, it is critical that you purchase from reputable sites that have expertise in pearls, to ensure that you aren’t being ripped off.
When selecting the following pearl vendors, we looked at their track record, customer reviews, price points, inventory, sourcing, customer service and website visitors.
To find out the 8 best places to buy pearls online, keep reading.
1. Pure Pearls
How they stand out: Exceptional quality, competitive prices and custom designed pearl jewelry
Pure Pearls is an online pearl specialist that has carved a niche for themselves as a reliable and trustworthy company that provides high quality pearl jewelry at competitive prices. Founded by Ashley McNamara, Pure Pearls aims to educate the consumer by providing extensive pearl information guides, so you know what to look out for when choosing pearls.
The company takes a very hands-on approach when working with their customers, ensuring that the customer is satisfied with their service and the products. Ashley offers outstanding customer care, taking the time to reply to customer concerns and assisting the customer throughout the process. This is something that their clients rave about, as evidenced from the numerous independent 5-star reviews available online.
Pure Pearls offer all the main types of pearls, such as saltwater, freshwater, Tahitian and Hanadama, including some unique collections such as their baroque and metallic pearl collections. They source their pearls from around the world, going directly to the pearl farms and auctions, thereby cutting out the middle man. They operate only online, and as result, can offer competitive prices.
One way that Pure Pearls stands out is by offering custom pearl jewelry design, meaning that you can have your dream pearl jewelry made by them. They’ll work closely with you, providing sketches and detailed feedback until you get exactly what you’re after. This isn’t something that many of the online pearl specialists offer, so Pure Pearls definitely scores big here.
From a practical standpoint, Pure Pearls offers free shipping and free returns. Their pearls promise to be among the top 1% of the harvest and up to 80% below the average retail price.
2. Pearls of Joy
How they stand out: Great prices, well-crafted jewelry, and exotic finds
Founder Kevin Canning has a simple philosophy for his business – treat your customers the way you want to be treated. Pearls of Joy focuses on educating and informing the consumer, rather than simply pushing for sales. They work with you very closely to make sure you receive exactly what you are after.
Pearls of Joy offer excellent prices for two main reasons. First, they are able to cut out the middle men and go straight to the pearl farms, and second, they don’t have the overheads of operating a store front as their business is 100% online. They sell all main varieties of pearls and while their inventory is not as vast as some others, this is not a drawback. In fact, they often have exotic and hard-to-find pearls on their site. Check out their Maven Collection, which features a small but exotic group of unique pearls, such as Souffle pearls.
Pearls of Joy offer a 100-day return period for a full refund, which is quite generous in the industry. It’s always a good sign when a vendor is able to stand by their product and is fully accountable.
3. James Allen
How they stand out: Exclusive designs and exquisite craftsmanship
James Allen has long been known as one of the best online diamond retailers. In recent years, they have expanded their range to include fine pearl jewelry. The collection features standard pearl jewelry such as strand necklaces and pearl stud earrings but also has some unique styles like this seed pearl key pendant or this truly one-of-a-kind Tahitian pearl pendant with diamonds inlaid.
James Allen also offers designs featuring pearls together with gemstones like amethyst, ruby, sapphires and diamonds which elevates the beauty of the pearls, adding color and sparkle to the design.
Shopping on the site is easy as the company is committed to facilitating the online shopping experience. They offer 24/7 customer service, including Live Chat, and a range of after sales benefits including free worldwide shipping, 100% money back guarantee and lifetime warranty.
4. Blue Nile
How they stand out: Great designs and competitive prices
Known for quality, reasonable prices and great online customer service, Blue Nile has established its name as an online diamond giant. Since then, they have branched out into pearls and offer an excellent range of high quality pearl jewelry at very competitive prices. They have all the main types of pearls on offer, including freshwater, Tahitian, Akoya and Golden South Sea. Their designs are unique and wide-ranging, from fun and playful to sophisticated and elegant pieces.
Blue Nile’s reputation as a reliable and trustworthy company makes them a great source to buy from. They offer free lifetime warranty, free gift packaging and a 30-day refund policy, no questions asked. However, if you are looking for a company that focuses only on pearls and one that has a wider range, this may not be the place for you.
5. The Pearl Source
How they stand out: Good range of collections and excellent prices
The Pearl Source has been in business since 1991 and they know their pearls! They offer all the popular types of pearls on their site and have very good prices on all their products. The Pearl Source operates like a wholesaler, supplying the best pearl jewelers on the market. They are able to provide excellent value to their retail customers at extremely competitive prices.
The Pearl Source has a range of pearl jewelry, including bridal pearl, gemstone pearl, and leather pearl jewelry. They also have a build-a-necklace feature, where you can customize a necklace based on your preferences.
The Pearl Source ships locally and internationally for free and has a 60-day full refund policy. With an Excellent trust rating of 9.5/10 from an impressive 3,384 reviews on Trustpilot, The Pearl Source has a large following of happy customers.
6. Pearl Paradise
How they stand out: Massive inventory, excellent customer service and great prices
Pearl Paradise has one of the largest pearl inventories in the US, an internet giant for lovers of pearls, housing over a million pearls on site. They’ve been selling pearls online since 2000, making them one of the first to take their business online. This shows in their expertise and how they facilitate the shopping process for their e-commerce customers. However, they also have a store front in Los Angeles where you can browse their pearls and have pearl strands made for you on the spot.
Pearl Paradise offer Freshwater, Akoya, Tahitian, White South Sea and Golden South Sea pearls made into various types of pearl jewelry. The pearl jewelry offered can be up to 80% lower than retail prices.
One reason customers rave about Pearl Paradise is due to their excellent customer service. They take the time and effort to ensure that each customer is satisfied with their purchase. And if not? You can have your item exchanged within 90 days of purchase. With free shipping both ways, there is no extra cost to you.
How they stand out: High-end pearl brand with stunning designs
Everybody in the pearl community has heard of Mikimoto. Known for their high-end, sophisticated designs, Mikimoto once dominated the cultured pearl market. How was this possible? Because they were the first to culture pearls in 1888, bringing prices down and making pearls accessible to the masses! On a side note, it’s a bit ironic that the company credited for creating the affordable cultured pearls are known for their extremely high prices today!
With Mikimoto, it’s all about the brand and the luxury associated with it. They set the standard against which other pearl stores are judged, even though you can find the same item at pretty much the same quality at a much lower cost (sometimes 90% lower) at other reputable pearl stores.
Mikimoto’s designs are truly stunning and unique, with exquisite craftsmanship and some would argue, worth the extra cost. If budget is not a concern, you might want to add a string of Mikis to your collection.
8. Buying Pearls from Amazon
If you would like to check out Amazon’s great range of pearl jewelry, it’s highly likely that you will find amazing deals here. As I mentioned above, you will find most of the best pearl retailers already on Amazon.
If buying from a lesser-known vendor, due your due diligence and sift through the inventory carefully. But remember that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
You’ll surely find some, dare we say, gems there! Having information up your sleeve will ensure that you know what to ask from your vendor before you buy to avoid getting ripped off. And as always, check the returns policy, reviews, and the vendor’s credibility.
Amazon has a stunning listing of pearl jewelry, some unique and difficult to find elsewhere. Also, this is a great place to take your search if you are looking for imitation pearls at reasonable prices.
Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Pearls Online
Should I buy natural or cultured pearls?
Because natural pearls are so expensive and rare, cultured pearls are generally the only option on the market. Almost every pearl you see online is cultured.
What’s the best type of pearl to buy?
There are many types of pearls. If budget is your main concern, freshwater pearls offer a wide variety at the lowest rates. Akoya pearls are the most affordable of the saltwater varieties, and the most abundant – they are small but have striking luster. Tahitian and South Sea pearls are among the priciest varieties, but also the most prestigious and least treated. If you’re after a unique, dark pearl, then go for Tahitian. For lustrous or golden pearls in large sizes, choose South Sea.
What budget should I decide on?
Before searching for pearls online, decide on your budget. This will help you to keep from getting distracted, while also allowing you to compare across sites to choose the best value.
Is there a quality grading scale for pearls?
There is no accepted standard for grading pearls. There are a couple of systems currently in use, such as the AAA-A grade, with AAA being highest quality and A being lowest. This is the typical scale used in the USA. But even so, pearls with the same grade can differ in appearance and quality across sites. So, ensure you’re looking at images carefully and even asking questions from the retailer if need be, rather than just going by the grading system.
What should I be wary of when buying pearls online?
Be careful of scams. There are many pearl sellers that scam their customers, selling fake or imitation pearls. This is why it’s essential to purchase from a reputable retailer with trustworthy credentials. If purchasing on Amazon or Etsy, check the authenticity of each retailer – previous sales, how long they’ve been on the platform, customer reviews, and communication.
These days, it’s easy to find what you want – the world is at your fingertips. But too much choice can also lead to decision fatigue. This is why deciding on your budget, knowing the difference between pearl types, and understanding how to evaluate pearl quality will help you decide on the right pearl for you. Whether you are after natural, cultured or imitation pearls, check out our guide on how to buy pearls.
If you aren’t quite sure how to tell if a pearl is real, read our quick and handy guide detailing everything you need to know about identifying genuine pearls.