Grading Pearls

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Grading Pearls

21 October 2016
Unlike diamonds, pearls do not have a standardized system of grading. However, a pearl’s value is determined by five properties called value factors. Familiarize yourself with these parameters so that you can pick out the best.

Size

An important factor when determining the value of a pearl is its size. The size of a pearl is influenced by many factors like the size of its parent oyster, the size of the bead or particle at the core of the pearl, and the amount of time the oyster is allowed to remain immersed in water before the pearl is harvested from its shell. Freshwater pearls (3-7mm) are generally the smallest variety among pearls. Among the saltwater pearls, the Akoyo pearls (6-8.5mm) are typically more petite than Tahitian and South Sea pearls, which can measure up to 20mm.

Shape

Though pearls are of various shapes like round, semi-round, oval, teardrop, and baroque, the most popular and valued of all them is the round variety. Shapes that are not spherical and symmetrical are considered to be of a lower quality. Saltwater pearls—Akoya, Tahitian, and South Sea—are usually rounder and more symmetrical than the freshwater pearls.