One of the most intriguing characteristics of pearls is that much of what makes them beautiful cannot be measured. But this creates a dilemma because unlike diamonds and other precious stones, there is no standardized system to grade pearls. Different suppliers end up having to use drastically different metrics to assess pearl quality.
Sound daunting? Fear not!
We understand that designing and assembling your creations is hard enough as it is, so we made our grading system as simple as possible. We put our criteria in plain English, purposely avoid letter grading systems which could easily cause confusion, and load up our pages with images and videos to make your shopping experience as easy as possible.
The grade for each lot is determined by how the pearl quality compares to other specimens of the same type of pearl. Even less traditionally desirable shapes like "potato" can be considered "highest quality".
The chart below is an example of how we grade white potato shaped pearls:
- Blemishes on the strand are very few and minor if any.
- The pearls exhibit some of the highest luster available on the market for its shape, size, and color.
Special pieces and higher end designer jewelry.
- Blemishes on the strand are noticeable under close inspection, but are few and minor in nature.
- These pearls also have exceptionally high luster, but in some cases will be slightly less vibrant than the highest quality.
Very Good Quality
- Roughly 80-90% of the pearl surface is clean throughout the strand. The blemishes are generally minor and not obvious at arms length.
- Luster is very good, but may not glow as vibrantly as top quality pearls.
- Depending on the shape, the pearls may be less uniform.
Suitable for nearly all designer jewelry for resale. The vast majority of the pearls on our site fall under Very Good or Good, as they are generally the best balance of quality and price point.
- Roughly 70-80% of the pearl surface is clean. Blemishes will range from minor to medium where present. Since most of the surfaces are blemish-free, much of the strand may appear clean at arms length.
- Luster may be still very good, but does not glow as vibrantly as higher grade pearls.
- Depending on the shape, the pearls will generally be less uniform.
- These pearls have obvious imperfections throughout the strand, with blemishes covering 50% or more of the pearl surfaces.
- Luster may be good, or some surfaces may be clean in some spots.
- Fair quality strands will usually have a significant number of beads which we would consider good quality on them, but will have a lot more variation.
- The pearl will generally be less uniform in shape.
Suitable for some designer jewelry, personal projects, and other specific uses.
For each model number, we do our best to share images and videos which highlight the types of imperfections and variations you can expect within the lot. If you need any additional information or pictures, or have any questions feel free to contact us.
Please keep in mind:
- We always do our best to keep strands as uniform as possible both when we fill your order, and when we restock from our suppliers. However the raw material is purchased in lots, so strands will always have some variation in color, shape, or other traits even if they share the same model number.
- Pearl sizes are nearly always given as a range. We generally stay within the range, but allow the following tolerance for pearl strands.
Listed Pearl Size
Maximum Size Tolerance for Largest pearl
|4-8mm: ||+/- 0.30mm |
|8-11mm: ||+/- 0.40mm |
|12-15mm: ||+/- 0.50mm |
|15mm+: ||+/- 0.75mm |
If you have any questions or are unsure about any of the pearls you see on our site, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help!