Pearl Grading Exclusive Jewelry - Pearl Universe your online jewelrystore

Pearl Grading


Real Pearls are a creation of nature, therefore they will always have their own identity. They differ in Surface Quality, Luster, Nacre Thickness, Color, Size and Shape.

To determine the overall quality of Pearls they are generally being graded. Although there is no “official” universal grading system for pearls; there are two grading systems used worldwide.

  • For Freshwater and Akoya Pearls: The AAA/AA+/AA/A scale.
  • For Tahitian and South Sea Pearls: The A/B/C/D scale.

The higher the grading, the more valuable the Pearl is.

We offer you this grading information to help you better understand the quality of Pearls.

At Pearl Universe we only sell Top of the Line, most Freshwater, Akoya, Tahitian and South Sea Pearls belong to the top five (5%) percent of the pearl harvest. All further details of the Pearls we are selling can be seen in each product description.

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Surface Quality

The growing process will always leave their marks, such as imperfections, little scratches, bumps and/or chips. In Pearl language referred to as Blemished. The larger the blemish-free area, the higher the grading will be.

Surface

Luster:

The pure expression of the Pearl, considered one of the most important assets of the Pearl, this is what makes the Pearl shine.

Luster

Nacre Thickness:

Many thousand layers of Pearl nacre determine the thickness. The thicker the layer, the better the durability.

Color:

Pearl color is mainly a personal preference. The color of the Pearl is determined by three characteristics: Body color, Overtone and Orient. Read more about color here.

925 Silver Freshwater Pearl Pendant Necklace

Size:

Basically, the larger; the longer it takes to cultivate the pearl; the costlier the Pearl will be. This is also a matter of personal preference.

  • Akoya Pearls typically range from 3 to 10 mm.
  • Freshwater Pearls typically range from 3 to 15 mm.
  • Tahitian Pearls typically range from 8 to 18 mm.
  • South Sea Pearls typically range from 8 to 20 mm.

The most popular size Pearl sold today is a round 7 to 7.5 mm Akoya or Freshwater Pearl and a 8 to 10 mm Tahitian or South Sea Pearl measured across its diameter. Baroque and Drop Pearls are measured through their width.Size

Shape:

Although Pearls are generally thought of as round only, these round Pearls are in fact very rare, and therefore so valuable.

Other than round, Pearls are often “near round”, Drop Shaped, Baroque, Oval, Button and many more shapes. Round spherical Pearls are desired the most, although Baroque and Drop Shaped Pearls are also becoming more and more popular.

Based upon these characteristics the following grading systems were designed:Shape

AAA

  • Luster: Exceptional mirror-like reflection.
  • Nacre Thickness of at least 0.4 mm. (Akoya)
  • Surface Quality: Clean and virtually flawless with a minimum of 95% blemish free surface.
  • Color: Varied colors with sharp and distinct overtones.
  • Shape: Perfectly round.

AA+

  • Luster: High with a clear reflection.
  • Nacre Thickness of at least 0.4 mm. (Akoya)
  • Surface Quality: Clean and virtually flawless with a minimum of 95% blemish free surface.
  • Color: Varied colors with sharp and distinct overtones.
  • Shape: Perfectly round.

AA

  • Luster: Medium to High with a clear reflection.
  • Surface Quality: Slightly blemished with a minimum of 75% blemish free surface.
  • Color: Varied colors with good overtones.
  • Shape: Round.

A

  • Luster: Poor to Medium – slightly dull reflection.
  • Surface Quality: Blemished with a minimum of 75% blemish free surface.
  • Color: Varied colors with minimal to no overtone.
  • Shape: Near round to off round.

A

  • Luster: Exceptional mirror-like reflection.
  • Surface Quality: Clean, minor imperfections visible with a minimum of 90% blemish free surface.

B

  • Luster: High with a clear Reflection.
  • Surface Quality: Slightly blemished, some imperfections visible with a minimum of 70% blemish free surface.

C

  • Luster: Medium to high Reflection.
  • Surface Quality: Slightly blemished, several imperfections visible with a minimum of 60% blemish free surface.

D

  • Luster: Poor to high Reflection.
  • Surface Quality: Blemished, multiple imperfections visible with a minimum of 60% blemish free surface.

To prevent any confusion, we chose to only work with only one grading system on our website, the so-called Pearl Universe Grading system, based upon the most commonly used grading systems.

Focusing mainly on excellent Luster and Surface Quality, since color, shape and size are personal preference, we use the following scale for all Pearls:

AAAA

AAAA Pearl are of such quality that they excel even the highest grade, by having a superior Luster, extraordinary Overtone, and only one or two minimal flaws.

AAA

Freshwater and Akoya:

  • Surface Quality: Clean and virtually flawless with a minimum of 95% blemish free surface.
  • Luster: Exceptional mirror-like reflection.

Tahitian and South Sea:

  • Surface Quality: Clean, minor imperfections visible with a minimum of 90% blemish free surface.
  • Luster: Exceptional mirror-like reflection.

AA+

Freshwater and Akoya:

  • Surface Quality: Clean and virtually flawless with a minimum of 95% blemish free surface.
  • Luster: High with a clear reflection.

Tahitian and South Sea:

  • Surface Quality: Slightly blemished, some imperfections visible with a minimum of 70% blemish free surface.
  • Luster: High reflection.

AA

Freshwater and Akoya:

  • Surface Quality: Slightly blemished with a minimum of 75% blemish free surface.
  • Luster: Medium to High with a clear reflection.

Tahitian and South Sea:

  • Surface Quality: Slightly blemished, several imperfections visible with a minimum of 60% blemish free surface.
  • Luster: Medium to High reflection.

A

Freshwater and Akoya:

  • Surface Quality: Blemished with a minimum of 75% blemish free surface.
  • Luster: Poor to Medium – slightly dull reflection.

Tahitian and South Sea:

  • Surface Quality: Blemished, multiple imperfections visible with a minimum of 60% blemish free surface.
  • Luster: Poor to High reflection.

All products at Pearl Universe have extended product details and product descriptions. We offer high quality Pearls only. Please feel free to visit our Pearl Universe Shop to see all of our products.

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