Pearl Grading

Pearl Grading

As with any item that can appear in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colours, and conditions, a standardized system of grading should be used when purchasing or selling pearls. Only in this way can the pearl be described according to mutually agreed-upon and understood terms, so that both buyer and seller can determine a fair price.

Unfortunately, the pearl industry as a whole has not adopted a universally formal standard grading system. Instead, the specific grading systems used, leave a margin for interpretation and sub-grades. However, two major grading systems are in fairly widespread use, and are considered to be the industries standard:

  • the AAA-A system,
  • and the A-D system

Even these systems, however, can become misleading if a seller uses terms from the grading system (such as "AAA"), but uses them to describe a different quality pearl than that which the system is generally understood to be describing. Or a seller could use a term not in the grading system (such as "AAAA" or "AAA+") to make it appear that the pearl is beyond even the highest standard quality -- when in reality, that seller's "AAAA" pearls are actually equivalent to the indended "AAA" grade, and his "AAA" pearls might only be equivalent to the commonly used "AA."

For reasons such as these, we abide to the original range of letter-grades with its description and criteria as intended, and used or should be used by industry professionals. Bear in mind the difference between value and quality factors. Colour for example, can as a result of supply and demand influance the value, however does not influence the quality. Therefore colour is not a part of any scale, but all the more to the value and beauty.

A-D

Top Gem

AAA-A

Gem Grade

Description and Criteria

Grading System
A AAA » 90% of the Pearl’s surface is clean.
» Only 10% of pearl’s surface may show case minor, concentrated imperfections.
» Only a single deep inclusion permitted.
» Pearl should drill or set clean to almost clean.
» Lustre is very high.
A/B AA+ » 80% of the Pearl’s surface is clean.
» Only 20% of pearl’s surface may showcase minor, concentrated imperfections.
» Only one or two deep inclusions permitted.
» Pearl should drill or set clean to almost clean.
» Lustre is high to very high.
B AA » 70% of the Pearl’s surface is clean.
» Only 30% of pearl’s surface may exhibit minor, concentrated imperfections.
» Only one or two deep inclusions permitted.
» Pearl should drill or set almost clean.
» Lustre is high to very high.
C A+ » 40% of the Pearl’s surface is clean.
» Up to 60% of pearl’s surface may exhibit minor, concentrated imperfections.
» Deep inclusions are restricted to 10% of pearl’s surface.
» Luster is medium to very high.
D A » At least 60% of pearl’s surface will show case flaws.
» Deep inclusions and/ or white spots within inclusions on up to 20% of pearl’s surface.
» Lustre is poor to very high.

*The Pearl Science Laboratory follows the laws set forth by the FTC that it is considered unfair to describe cultured pearls as "flawless" because no pearls can pass perfect examination under a 10x magnification. Although you can't see it, the surface of a pearl is textured. For that reason, all certificates will state "very slight" in the blemishing category.

Pearl Guide

Cultured Pearls

Pearls Shop & Buy

We can't find products matching the selection.
Copyright © 2018 Pearls Wholesale. All rights reserved.