The follow qualities when taken together make your pearls beautiful - nacre, luster, internal brilliance,
surface blemishes, shape, body color, body overtone, and size:
* Nacre Quality
Look closely at the nacre to see that it is thick, even, and that it produces a fine reflection. Such nacre will produce a
fine reflection and will ensure that your jewelry will retain its beauty for generations.
Look at the reflections on the surface of your pearls. You want strong, crisp
reflections and good contrast between light and dark areas. The sharper the image, the more attractive your
If the pearls resemble white beads, reject them regardless of the price.
* Internal Brilliance
This internal light, sometimes called "orient", seems to playfully move within
the body of the nacre growth. Iridescent rainbow colors are characteristic of high-
quality pearls. This play, or refraction, of light is caused by the filtering of light through platelets of nacre.
* Surface Quality
Fine pearls have a minimal amount of blemishes in the nacre. Such marks are
made during the growth of the pearl. In fact, some of the growth marks are
and could be considered as beauty marks.
The cleaner or freer from blemishes the surface of the cultured pearl, the more
price. Again, do not accept a pearl with a dull, chalky surface - unless you are
attracted to such pearls.
Pearls grow in so many wonderful,
attractive shapes. The traditional shape is the perfectly round pearl.
However, there are many delightful shapes in which pearls
+ Nearly Round
+ Short Drop
+ Full Button
+ Flat Button
+ Reverse Drop
+ Topped Drop
+ Button, round on one side and flat on the other.
+ Tear Drop
Mitsuko enjoys working with these many shapes when designing earrings and rings especially for
a person who appreciates one of the shapes that are not round.
* Body Color
The main color of the pearls for your jewelry is a matter of personal taste. As well you should
consider the skin tone of the person wearing such pearl jewelry.
White and pink rose are the most popular because these colors are most flattering
to the widest range of skin tones.
Other colors for the main body color of pearls are many:
As to monetary worth, natural colors, naturally, are more expensive than are
the colors of pearls that have been dyed or enhanced in some way. Exotic natural
colors command a premium price.
Imagine overtone as a floating tint, a secondary mystery to the
main body color.
+ Pinkish (rose) overtones can increase the monetary value of a pearl.
+ Green or
blue overtones may lower the monetary value of a pearl.
The size of a pearl is determined by the measurement in millimeters of its diameter.
The size range of Akoya Cultured Pearls is 3.5 mm. to 10 mm. Akoya Pearls
larger than 8 mm. are rare
Tahitian and South Sea Pearls grow much larger than do Akoya Pearls.
The warm water habitat encourages faster growth. Be that as it may, those in excess
of 16 mm. are prized by connoisseurs.
Generally, the bigger the pearl, the more rare and valuable it is. However.
one cannot compare Akoya Pearls and South Sea Pearls as to size, just as one
cannot compare apples and oranges as to size. As one example, the
nacre growth differs. Because of the slower rate of increase of
of annual nacre growth of he Akoya Pearl, the platelets of nacre are closer
together, the pearl is smaller and the way the pearl reflects light differs.
* Matching and Blending
Particularly with necklaces, you should look for the matching of pearls for size,
shape, color, surface quality and nacre quality. Keep in mind that no two pearls are
truly identical, the necklace you buy should be made of pearls that are carefully matched and blended
one with another for excellent display.
Meticulous matching and blending takes uncompromising patience and time, sometimes
taking years to find a satisfactory result. A necklace of one hundred and one matched
pearls is extraordinary as compared with those same one hundred and one pearls when
Some pearl jewelry is unique because of its history. Some pearl jewelry has
increased value because the piece has been especially created by a certain
designer. Some pearl jewelry is highly prized because it is created using a rare
variety of pearl, not found in the traditional jewelry store or jewelry section
of a department store. In such cases, one assigns value and cost on a
case by case basis.
SYSTEMS FOR PEARLS
Pearls are typically graded using the letters C, B, A, AA, AAA. The AAA grade is usually
given to the top 3 - 5 % of the pearls in the market. In addition to this letter grade scale, some
pearls will have a Reserve Grade Such a grade is rarely given. Usually, such pearls do not appear in a showroom
and will only be shown by appointment.
As for grading systems, you should keep in mind that there is not an internationally
systems for pearls, such as there is for diamonds. The best advice is to do your research, use your eyes, go to someone
who knows pearls, and, most of all,
use your own eyes and judgement.
considers natural pearls to be like beautiful furniture which is made up entirely of the true, original wood. On the other
hand, the "skin" of the cultured pearl is nacre, a veneer of a certain thinkness depending upon how long the oyster has lived
in the ocean.
Unfortunately, today pearls are often harvested too early because of economic pressures or simply because of greed
for a quick sale. This practice of taking short cuts is regrettable, but, fortunately, not practiced by every pearl farmer.
It would be best for you to keep your old Japanese cultured pearls. The price of such treasures
might have risen higher than you suspect.