Understanding Pearl Grading

Like all precious gems, pearls come in a range of grades and qualities.  However, unlike diamonds, sapphires or other precious stones, pearls are not yet regulated by any national gemological institutes.  Instead, they are often graded by one of two grading systems, the more recognized AAA-A system, or the AAA-D system.

In all cases, AAA signifies the highest quality of pearls, while A (or D) represents the lowest quality.  Pearl & Clasp uses the AAA-AA grading system, and adheres to the highest quality standards.  Learn what to expect from your graded pearl jewelry in the list below:

AAA– Widely regarded as the highest quality of pearl available, AAA pearl jewelry will have pearls that are have the smoothest surface and the highest luster.  The pearls used to make up AAA grade pearl jewelry will match very closely to each other in size and color.  AAA grade pearls will be free from major imperfections, and any flaws on the pearl will be the result of natural variances in the pearl.

AA– The primary difference between AA pearls and those of a higher grade is that AA grade pearls are more likely to have some imperfections on their surface.  Still, many of these are not noticeable to the naked eye when examining a piece of pearl jewelry at a distance.  AA pearls also have slightly less luster than AAA grade pearls.

A – A grade pearls rank the lowest on the grading scale because they have imperfections on at least 25% of their surface.  Nevertheless, these blemishes can often be hidden by crafty jewelers who know how to design and mount the pearls so as to cover the imperfect parts.  A grade pearls make lovely gifts for younger recipients or for anyone who wants to look stylish on a budget.