A buyer's guide to pearls: natural, cultured and imitation

Course Dates: 09/05/20
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Judith Crowe
Derek Jhinnoo

Join this fascinating one-day course for a valuable insight into pearls, their cultivation and trade, and use in jewellery. Learn how to recognise the many types on the market, judge the good from the bad, spot the imitations and buy your pearl jewellery with confidence.


What is the course about?

This one-day course will give you a valuable insight into the trade and culturing of pearls, exploring the many different varieties of pearls available on the market including the natural and the man-made. The course will teach you to assess and select pearls, and recognise imitations. There will be many images and samples of pearls and pearl-set jewellery to view as well as practical exercises.

What will we cover?

The course will cover the farming, culturing and grading/pricing of saltwater, freshwater and rare natural pearls. The topics will include the common shapes, lustre, colours, sizes and treatments (such as dyeing) of these organic gems. You will learn how to use a loupe to inspect pearls, and discover how to appraise, value, care for and use pearls in jewellery. We will also look at the common pearl simulants found in jewellery.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- use a loupe to look at pearls
- understand how the pearl trade operates and the difference between cultured and natural, saltwater and freshwater pearls
- understand the grading and pricing of pearls and the certifying bodies
- demonstrate awareness of the different pearl simulants that are on the market
- understand how different types of pearl have been used in jewellery over the last century.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is at beginner’s level and no experience is necessary. It is ideal for people who have an interest in organic gemstones and pearl-set jewellery, and would be a good ‘refresher’ for people who work in the jewellery trade.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will take the form of a talk with many images and samples being shown to the students to illustrate the different topics. There will be plenty of time for students to ask questions. There will be detailed hand-outs for the students to take away. There is no work outside of the class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no other costs, and you do not need to bring anything with you.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Build offer a wide range of short and year-long courses in Jewellery design and making, from beginners to advanced, and for professional development.

The courses below might complement what you learned on this course:

VV657 Introduction to beaded jewellery
VV503 Try it out: knotting and stringing for beads and pearls
VV355 Knotting and stringing for beads and pearls.

General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Customer Reviews 3 item(s)

Write a review

Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Enrol quickly and don t loose the opportunity
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 11/05/2019)
It’s brilliant!
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 11/05/2019)
I'd recommend it highly.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 11/05/2019)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: VV660

Sat, day, 09 May - 09 May '20

Duration: 1 session

Full fee: £79.00

Or call to enrol: 222-66-889-99

Download form & post

Any questions? [email protected]
or call 020 7492 2700/2703

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online . You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.