Determine The Quality of Cultured Pearls
general, there are seven factors that determine the quality,
value, and beauty of pearls. They are luster, shape, color,
size, nacre quality, surface quality, and for pearl strands
or earrings, the matching of pearls.
– Luster is the
first and most important definition for a pearl’s beauty.
Luster should be your primary focus when judging quality. To
recognize finer luster, look at the clarity of images that
are reflected in the pearl’s surface. The closer to a mirror
image you see, the better the luster. Pearls with fine
luster also seem to glow warmly from within.
– Pearls exist in many shapes, such as round, near round,
pear or drop, button, coin, semi baroque, or baroque.
Generally speaking, the rounder a pearl, the rarer and more
valuable it is.
– the larger the
pearl, the rarer it is. The size of a pearl is measured by
millimeters across its diameter. Different type of pearls
has a different range of sizes. For instance, South Sea
pearls are the largest and range from 8mm-18mm, Akoya pearls
range from 4mm-9mm.
Surface – the more flawless
the surface of a pearl is, the higher it will be valued.
However, a flawless pearl only comes about once in about
every million, as pearls are the result of a natural
process, and a mollusk will usually leave some sort of
unique mark on the finished pearl.
Color – unlike the other
factors, color has little influence on the actual value of a
pearl, except in the case of popularity. Essentially, the
color of the pearl you desire is a matter of personal taste.
Traditionally, there is a rather consistent demand for the
classic silvery white pearls and the glowing gold shades.
The rarest and most desired are the white “rose” colored
Nacre Quality -
the natural substance that the mollusk secretes to protect
its sensitive flesh from irritants such as shell fragments
or implanted beads. This is the same beautiful iridescent
material that lines the inner surface of the oyster shells,
aptly named mother-of-pearl. As a rule, the thicker the
nacre, the higher quality the pearl is.
– For a piece of pearl jewelry that consists of more than
one pearl, such as a strand of necklace, or a pair of
earring, matching of pearls becomes another important factor
to determine the value of the jewelry. Look at the size,
shape, color, luster and surface of the
pearls to see if they matched very well. A perfectly matched
pearl necklace or earrings will ultimate enhance the value
of the piece.