shape
carat
color
clarity

Pearl Grading Resource

Pirard

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 12, 2014
Messages
557
Wouldn't there be two drill holes on some gem grade pearls? If they are strung on a necklace vs. being set on a post? And a silly question, but would a pearl with lack-luster but free of blemishes be considered gem grade? And does shape impact "gem grade"? For instance, would an off round with no blemish (undrilled as well) great color and high luster be considered gem grade? I guess I'm asking because I've never really heard the term used in a way to describe pearls. Thanks...and apologies for the stupid questions!!
 

pearlsngems

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 4, 2010
Messages
1,727
A pearl lacking luster could never be considered to be gem grade.
 

Fly Girl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 9, 2007
Messages
7,312
From the PP site:

•Gem Grade - Flawless pearl with excellent luster
•Pearl exhibits no inclusions or imperfections prior to setting or drilling

So, cmd2014 is technically correct about one flaw being AAA. And, I suppose if the two flaws are exactly opposite, you can get another "gem grade" after drilling through. How would you ever be able to tell after drilling?
 

cmd2014

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 6, 2014
Messages
2,541
The ones I have seen all have had high luster, strong overtones, and have been completely clean to the eye (possibly with blemishes hidden by the drill holes). But they aren't graded in the B&M store, so it's hard to know exactly what they would be considered grade wise. Even my off round rope from there has been high luster and blemish free. But the pricing reflects it too.

It has made me wonder if part of the price discount online is due to high volume/minimized overhead costs alone, or if a slightly lesser grade explains some of the variance (I.e AAA vs Gem Quality). If so, it wouldn't be a criticism. Most of us would choose to have a good quality VW rather than have to take the bus because we're unable to afford a Porsche. (Or buy an H SI1 diamond because an IF D is out of reach).

If only pearls could grow in such a way to have all the blemishing either hidden by the drill hole or pointed towards the knots!
 

cmd2014

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 6, 2014
Messages
2,541
Also, does anyone know why ripples have a smooth side and a rippled side? I noticed that about mine today.
 

icy_jade

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
4,890
Fly Girl|1430883016|3872769 said:
From the PP site:

•Gem Grade - Flawless pearl with excellent luster
•Pearl exhibits no inclusions or imperfections prior to setting or drilling

So, cmd2014 is technically correct about one flaw being AAA. And, I suppose if the two flaws are exactly opposite, you can get another "gem grade" after drilling through. How would you ever be able to tell after drilling?

I've read before that if the pearl has a blemish that can be "hidden" by the drill point, some will also consider the pearl as gem grade assuming it meets the luster criteria etc.
 

Pirard

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 12, 2014
Messages
557
Thanks for clarifying...I am really intrigued by this thread...it is a wonderful conversation, and very informative!!!!

I've never noticed a smooth side vs a rippled side on my ripples (I have a few strands) so now I'm going to have to go inspect them! Could it be that your strand was matched that way?

And that brings me to another really stupid question...regarding matching of pearls...assuming they all have equal luster and surface, which is more important to match: shape or color (assuming you are not after a multi-color strand...in which case you would want luster and size proportioned, I assume)?
 

icy_jade

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
4,890
Pirard|1430920134|3872934 said:
And that brings me to another really stupid question...regarding matching of pearls...assuming they all have equal luster and surface, which is more important to match: shape or color (assuming you are not after a multi-color strand...in which case you would want luster and size proportioned, I assume)?

Not stupid at all. I think both... Just a guess tho.

Btw got this off Paspaley:
The destiny of each pearl is in the hands of our highly accomplished pearl graders. Specialists in their field, they assess each pearl individually, meticulously scrutinizing each one by the ‘5 Virtues’: Lustre. Complexion. Shape. Colour. Size. It is a combination of these virtues that determines the worth of each pearl.

And...
Luster is unquestionably the most important characteristic of pearl quality. The depth and radiance of enduring lustre is a natural attribute without which a pearl is deemed of no value.

And...
On rare occasions nature produces a pearl of sublime, incomparable beauty, clearly distinguishable amongst other fine quality pearls. These unique gems are reserved for Paspaley’s finest strands and bespoke jewellery designs. Such is the rarity of these pearls that finding a perfect match can take many harvests; pearl connoisseurs claim that the world’s yearly supply can be held in one cupped hand.
 

cmd2014

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 6, 2014
Messages
2,541
Pirard|1430920134|3872934 said:
Thanks for clarifying...I am really intrigued by this thread...it is a wonderful conversation, and very informative!!!!

I've never noticed a smooth side vs a rippled side on my ripples (I have a few strands) so now I'm going to have to go inspect them! Could it be that your strand was matched that way?

And that brings me to another really stupid question...regarding matching of pearls...assuming they all have equal luster and surface, which is more important to match: shape or color (assuming you are not after a multi-color strand...in which case you would want luster and size proportioned, I assume)?


Yeah, it's weird. Every single one on my strand has a smooth side which is rounded, and a ripply side that is a bit more flat, and they are drilled so that the smoother side can be worn out if you want to spin each pearl around so that the best side is facing front (which is a bit too OCD for even me). I wasn't sure if it was something to do with how they grow, or if it was coincidence....

As for matching, I suspect it depends on what you want the strand to look like. A uniform toned strand with different shapes vs. a multi-toned strand with uniform shapes. With baroques you often see both.
 

Frost Me

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
617
Pirard|1430881005|3872757 said:
And does shape impact "gem grade"? For instance, would an off round with no blemish (undrilled as well) great color and high luster be considered gem grade?

Pirard, that is a very good question you asked? I am interested also to know can near round, drop shape and ovals could be considered Gem grade. In my past experience, I have purchased drop shape pearls that were very pricy and were held back in a special drawer due to the pearls being really special. I would consider them Gem grade due to their mirror luster and no blemishing. I may be incorrect though.

What about earrings? What would be the difference in AAA earring grade and Gem grade earrings?
 

Ella

Brilliant_Rock
Staff member
Premium
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
1,469
We have stickied this thread at the request of users in this forum, but please remember that we do not allow linking or lifting content from other blogs or jewelry websites. Links that violate our ToS have been removed.
 

ckrickett

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
5,346
Ella|1431232353|3874704 said:
We have stickied this thread at the request of users in this forum, but please remember that we do not allow linking or lifting content from other blogs or jewelry websites. Links that violate our ToS have been removed.


Thank you Ella
 

yellowdiamond123

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Messages
2
can you try and grade this one and how much do you think it cost? it's a mikimoto Pearl earrings and pendant set it's silver

pearl_earrings_and_pendant.jpg
 

Victor Ang

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
2
Hello again Pearl lovers! Another question that I have in mind and I want to hear more on a personal based experience and not via Google - what is the quality grading of the pearls? In like a beginner level, if that makes sense.
 

pearlsngems

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 4, 2010
Messages
1,727
There is no standardized grading of pearls, as there are too many factors to consider. Each vendor sets their own standard for what each grade means.

The most commonly used grading system is A-AAA with AAA being the best, or in the case of south sea pearls you may see A-D, where A is the best.
 

oceanblue

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
188
Thank you for the interesting discussion. Is there a vendor where one could buy a bag of pearls of different grades and colors. I would love to have a group of different grades and colors to see which I prefer. Going pearl shopping here in Texas is not really a thing and sales staff are only after selling. I was think of buying a couple of bracelets from preferred etsy vendors to see different grades and colors but the cost really adds up fast.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
13,021
Thank you for the interesting discussion. Is there a vendor where one could buy a bag of pearls of different grades and colors. I would love to have a group of different grades and colors to see which I prefer. Going pearl shopping here in Texas is not really a thing and sales staff are only after selling. I was think of buying a couple of bracelets from preferred etsy vendors to see different grades and colors but the cost really adds up fast.

Peeps here speak really highly of Jeremy from Pearl paradise
You could reach out to him and ask if he could put something together for you
 

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 2, 2009
Messages
12,430
Thank you for the interesting discussion. Is there a vendor where one could buy a bag of pearls of different grades and colors. I would love to have a group of different grades and colors to see which I prefer. Going pearl shopping here in Texas is not really a thing and sales staff are only after selling. I was think of buying a couple of bracelets from preferred etsy vendors to see different grades and colors but the cost really adds up fast.

Unfortunately getting samples from a vendor will only help orient you to that specific vendor is AAA in one place might be AA at another, assuming they use the A’s at all! I recently made a purchase from a vendor who uses numbers instead! And another who uses AAA but then above that is Top. Oy... also the letter grades might yield different looks depending on type of pearl. I got AAA freshwater pearls and the luster is a very different look than akoya or south sea. And don’t get me started about the difficulties of evaluating and describing Tahitians.. Pearls are also hard to photograph and can look better or worse depending on the skill and set up of the photo. Sigh.

It is a little frustrating since with a lack of industry standards or even language, it’s hard to feel empowered as a consumer to comparison shop or feel you have solid confidence in what you expect to receive.

Personally to save myself the headache I would ideally like to work with a few vendors I feel I understand until the time comes I can shop in person for myself!
 

oceanblue

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
188
Unfortunately getting samples from a vendor will only help orient you to that specific vendor is AAA in one place might be AA at another, assuming they use the A’s at all! I recently made a purchase from a vendor who uses numbers instead! And another who uses AAA but then above that is Top. Oy... also the letter grades might yield different looks depending on type of pearl. I got AAA freshwater pearls and the luster is a very different look than akoya or south sea. And don’t get me started about the difficulties of evaluating and describing Tahitians.. Pearls are also hard to photograph and can look better or worse depending on the skill and set up of the photo. Sigh.

It is a little frustrating since with a lack of industry standards or even language, it’s hard to feel empowered as a consumer to comparison shop or feel you have solid confidence in what you expect to receive.

Personally to save myself the headache I would ideally like to work with a few vendors I feel I understand until the time comes I can shop in person for myself!

LOL, thank you! I have gone a little wild buying pearls this season and doing comparisons. My husband is getting a little worried even though I assured him that most will be going back. I will post pictures soon. Thank you for all your pictures and posts, it is fun to follow along on your projects.
 

Ann

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
1,724
If an online vendor's only reference to Luster is " High Natural Luster and Orient" should I assume it's a dud? The posted pictures are difficult to tell and I'm totally a beginner. I can see some blemishes and pitting on a few of the enlarged pictures.

A Natural Color South Sea Pearls necklace

- Size of Pearls 12-14 mm of diameter

- Pearls from Pinctada Maxima Oyster

- Origin: Indonesia ocean waters

- Natural Golden Champagne Color pearls

- High Natural luster and orient

- Pearls of Round shape

- Number of pearls in the necklace 33 pcs
 

Ann

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
1,724
If an online vendor's only reference to Luster is " High Natural Luster and Orient" should I assume it's a dud? The posted pictures are difficult to tell and I'm totally a beginner. I can see some blemishes and pitting on a few of the enlarged pictures.

A Natural Color South Sea Pearls necklace

- Size of Pearls 12-14 mm of diameter

- Pearls from Pinctada Maxima Oyster

- Origin: Indonesia ocean waters

- Natural Golden Champagne Color pearls

- High Natural luster and orient

- Pearls of Round shape

- Number of pearls in the necklace 33 pcs

golden-natural-color-south-sea-pearls-12-14-mm-the-south-sea-pearl-259958.jpeg
 

Aerielle Max

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 12, 2017
Messages
116
Is the tooth test accurate in knowing whether the pearl is true or fake? All you have to do is to rub it against the front of your tooth and if its feels gritty, then its real.
 

Pearlescence

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Messages
586
Is the tooth test accurate in knowing whether the pearl is true or fake? All you have to do is to rub it against the front of your tooth and if its feels gritty, then its real.

Yes and no. Don't expect the grittiness to be like filing your teeth down. It's just a faint roughness against totally smooth
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    A Diva Got Her Diamond: Kristen Chenoweth is Engaged!
    A Diva Got Her Diamond: Kristen Chenoweth is Engaged! - 12/03
    December Birthstones 2021 - Zircon, Turquoise, and Tanzanite
    December Birthstones 2021 - Zircon, Turquoise, and Tanzanite - 12/01
    "Not so Fast!" says Mother Nature
    "Not so Fast!" says Mother Nature - 11/29
Top