Grading Pearl Necklaces

Let’s begin with pearl grading. If you’ve spent much time browsing stores and other websites, you’ve probably seen grading scales that appear to be all over the place. Some companies grade with letters, others grade with numbers and some companies don’t post any grades at all. It doesn’t make sense, does it? Well there is a reason.

You’re probably familiar with the four C’s of diamond grading: cut, color, carat weight and clarity. In pearl grading, there are seven value factors. They include size, shape, color, luster, surface quality, nacre quality and matching. But here’s the catch! Unlike diamonds, there is no industry standard for grading pearls.

What does this mean for you? Simple. You cannot comparison shop by grade alone. A pearl necklace graded AAA by one retailer might only be worth 1/10th the value of a necklace graded the same by another. Pearl grading is subjective and every company selling pearls (on the planet) grades differently.


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