I want to buy my wife (first year anniversary!) a nice, classic strand of pearls to compliment her business and casual attire. After extensive research, I've determined the following:
(1) I'd like to buy Akoya pearls;
(2) I'd like to get an 18 inch strand
(3) I'd like them to be the highest quality I can afford. I want my wife to wear these for the rest of her life. So I'm looking for AA+ to AAA.
I've got a budget of $500-600. I've spent time at the Pearl Source and Peal Paradise as well as websites of large retailers (Nordstrom's,Saks, Macy's etc).
On peal paradise and pearl source, I can certainly find a strand of 6-7s in my price range. The quality is AAA and from the web they look great At the Macy's of the world's the exact same strands are $1,500. And to add more confusion, at my local luxury jeweler, the prices are even double that!
I can't tell whether any of the pearls at Macy's and other retailers are name brands. Does that matter?
I guess my main question is: at my budget, where would you buy the best set of pearls you can afford? Are the peal paradise/source ones even worth it or should I save for another year and buy the stuff at Macy's/local store? Is there a difference?
Many, many, many thanks.