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Home > Cultured Pearls Guide > Pearl Quality and Grading

Pearl Quality and Grading

Premium Pearl grades pearls from A, AA, to AAA Quality. AAA Quality pearls have the highest quality, exceptionally high luster, and very clearn surface.

There are several factors that determine the quality and value of the pearl: luster, nacre thickness, surface texture, color, shape, size and matching. A combination of these characteristics decides the overall quality and value of pearls.

Grade Luster Blemishes Shape Matching Nacre
A to A+ Quality
Low to Medium Medium Round Medium Thin
AA to AA+ Quality Medium to High Light Round Very Good Medium to Thick

AAA Quality

Very High Very Clean Round Excellent

Very Thick


Luster of Pearls
Luster is perhaps the most important factor in determining the value of a cultured pearl. Luster refers to the light reflected from the layers of nacre. The more intensely the light reflects, the higher the luster. Our cultured pearls all have good to excellent luster.

Surface of Pearls
Pearls are cultivated in a natural environment. Most pearls have slight surface irregularities showing the traces of nature. Perfectly clean pearls are a rarity. All our cultured pearls have good to excellent surface skins.

Color of Pearls
Basic body colors include white, cream, golden, gray, black, blue, green and pink. Overtone is one or two colors that overlie the body color. Overtone colors include pink, silver, and green. Color in pearls is a preference, often based on geographical location or skin tones. For South Sea and Tahitian pearls, colors are represented in a different category. These pearls come from large oysters found in Australia, Philippines, Tahiti and other South Sea regions. Golden South Sea Pearls are rare and very valuable. Premium Pearl has a wide selection in terms of pearl colors.

Size of Pearls
Usually the larger the pearl, the more valuable it is. Factors such as luster, however, also have an effect on price - a smaller pearl with better luster can sometimes equal the cost of a larger, less lustrous pearl.

Shape of Pearls
Round pearls are the most treasured and the most difficult to cultivate. Akoya, Tahitian, and South Sea pearls have shapes that are Round or Baroque (shaped like a teardrop). Freshwater pearls appear as round, nearly round, button, coin, flat, rice, oval, and cross shaped.

Nacre of Pearls
Nacre is an organic substance deposited layer upon layer by pearl oysters. The quality of nacre is defined by its thickness and layering. All our cultured pearls have substantial nacre thickness and regular layering.

Matching of Pearls
Pearls come in a wide range of colors. Some have subtle overtones giving the pearls a complex hue. Since no two pearls share exactly the same nuance, expertise is needed to compose strands and pairs of matching colors. All of our cultured pearls have good to excellent matching.

 
 

 
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