Frequently Asked Questions


Where is American Pearl located?

American Pearl is located at 576 5th Avenue, Suite 1102 in New York City in the heart of the diamond disrict. If you would like to visit us, please feel free to call us at 800-847-3275 to make an appointment to view the pearls you are interested in.


What can you tell me to help me feel more comfortable with my purchase?

We wan't you to be happy with your pearl purchase. We encourage you to call the contacts under the references page. In addition, please read the testimonials.

Are cultured pearls artificially manufactured?

Absolutely not. Cultured pearls, like natural pearls, are grown within live oysters. Each begins when a skilled technician surgically implants a host oyster with a shell bead and piece of mantle tissue. To protect itself, the oyster secretes a crystalline substance, called "nacre," over the irritant. Over time, the nacre layers build on one another, creating a surface that glows with a luster unique to true pearls. Artificial, or imitation, pearls, on the other hand, do not involve oysters in any way, but are manufactured from various chemicals and compounds. Even so, be aware that some imitation pearls are sold as "organic." One popular technique for producing artificial pearls involves dipping a glass bead many times into a fish-scale-and-lacquer substance. While the shine of most artificial pearls is primarily surface reflection, a cultured pearl emanates a deep three-dimensional glow that appears to come from within the pearl itself.

What's the difference between cultured pearls and natural pearls?

Natural pearls form without human assistance -- when a foreign object, such as a parasite or piece of shell, accidentally lodges itself in an oyster's soft inner body where it cannot be expelled. This happens so rarely that, today, nearly all natural pearls one sees are in estate jewelry collections.

Is there a standardized grading system for cultured pearls?

Pearls have been bought and sold for thousands of years, but there still is no widely accepted standardized grading system, though individual vendors may use their own. Because no two pearls are ever alike, such a grading system would require hundreds of quality parameters. Also, the fact remains that some gem-quality pearls are so distinctive they defy comparison.

Why are pearls given two numbers to describe their size?

It's industry practice to measure cultured pearls in a necklace by range: 6 to 6 1/2 millimeters, or 7 to 7 1/2 millimeters, for example. This means that every pearl in the strand falls at or between the two sizes given. Note, however, that this practice does not apply to South Sea and Tahitian pearl necklaces, which are usually graduated in size.

Are white pearls the best?

When it comes to the color of pearls, white pearls are indeed the most valuable. Of course, there are two components which comprise the make of a pearl. They are the bodycolor and the overtone. The bodycolor of pearls with the most value are white. There is no mistaking this. These are the pearls that are found at finer jewelry stores such as Mikimoto or Tiffany & Co. Creamy pearls, according to the Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A.) are worth 40% less than white pearls. Always, always insist on a pure white bodycolor pearl and be sceptical before purchasing pearls that are yellowish or creamy. The overtone of a pearl is the color that overlies the bodycolor and can be either silver or rose. A consumer, therefore should be shopping for one of two possible choices to insure optimum value: (1) A white bodycolor pearl with rose overtones or (2) A white bodycolor pearl with silver overtones.

May I leave my pearls in a safety deposit box for years?

Please don't. Pearls contain small traces of water, so it's unwise to leave them in such a dry environment over very long periods. The conditions may cause the pearls' moisture to evaporate and cause them to lose luster. Pearls worn frequently retain their moisture by absorbing it from the air or from the wearer's body.

Pearls are so old-fashioned

Not so. Fashion magazines have recently featured cultured pearls as one of the top accessories complimenting today's styles.

How do I care for my cultured pearls?

Because cultured pearls are relatively soft compared to other gemstones and precious metals, it's important to take special care of them to ensure they remain bright and beautiful for generations to come. Cosmetics, perfumes and hair sprays all contain chemicals that can dull the luster of pearls if exposed over extended periods of time. Acids in body oils and perspiration can damage pearls' lustre in the same way. So, we suggest wearing your pearls after applying makeup, perfume and hair spray, and then wipe their pearls afterward with a soft damp cloth to remove any harmful build-ups. Occasional washing with a mild soap is also recommended. Also, pearls should always be separated from hard jewelry items, whether metals or other gemstones, to prevent them from being scratched. It's best to keep pearls in a soft cloth pouch or a separately lined jewelry box. If you plan to wear your pearls several times a week, we recommend that you return for restringing once a year to avoid breakage. The strand must be knotted between each pearl, both to prevent the pearls from rubbing against each other, and to save them from all falling should a break occur. With proper attention and handling pearls will last for generations. But if continuously exposed to harmful products -- such as cosmetics or abrasive detergents -- pearls' luster can diminish. For this reason, light cleaning with a soft, damp cloth after each wearing is recommended, along with periodic deep cleaning by a professional jeweler.

How long will it take to make my order?

Most of the items on our website are made to order, and require individual jewelry work by hand. Earrings, pendants, and rings must be cast and polished before any stones or pearls are set, and necklaces and bracelets are strung to order. Production time on each will vary, but generally will take 1-3 business days. Custom requests require additional production time.

How much is shipping?

We offer free shipping via FedEx Ground for all shipments within the United States. You may also upgrade to Priority Overnight shipping via the drop down menu on the order page for an additional fee of $35. Saturday Delivery is also available for $55. All shipments outside of the US must select the International Shipping option at checkout, which is a fee of $35.

How long does FedEx Ground take?

We ship from our offices in New York City, shipping to the surrounding area will take 1-2 business days. Locations further from the east coast will take 3-5 business days.

Do I need to be home to accept the package?

We require packages over $250 to be signed for. If you would like to waive the signature requirement, you may do so via the comment field.

How can I check my order status?

There is a link in your email receipt that will take you to Yahoo Store, where it can confirm whether your order has been shipped or not. As soon as we are ready to ship your order we will input the tracking information. Additionally, you may contact our offices for your order status, please have your five digit order number ready.

Do all orders come with appraisals?

No, but we are happy to supply them upon request.

Can you appraise pearls that were not purchased at American Pearl?

No, we can only supply paperwork for pearls that we have sold.

Do you buy pearls?

No. We are a retail location only.

Do you offer re-stringing for pearls that were not purchased at American Pearl?

Yes, our restringing service is available for any pearl strand for $3 per inch

What is your return policy?

We offer a 30-day money back guarantee on all stock items. We want you to be happy with your purchase from American Pearl and will gladly assist you with any length or size adjustments necessary. If you wish to return or exchange an item, please contact our offices for the return address and code. For returns, please include all original packaging. Please note that items that have been customized, such as resized rings, will receive store credit only.

How long will it take to receive my refund?

We will notify you via email when we have received your return package. All refunds have to be authorized by a manager, and will be issued within 3-5 days of receiving. Once a credit has been issued, it takes an additional 3-5 business days for your banking institution to apply the funds.

What is included with the gift wrap option?

All American Pearl jewelry is sent in high quality double boxed packaging, suitable for gifting. Paper wrap is not used, and an order slip will be included unless requested otherwise.

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