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Pearl grading is not as straightforward as many other gemstones. Since there’s no universal standard for pearl grading, there’s no way standard way to prove one pearl's quality over the next. This non-standardized scale has caused plenty of confusion to countless buyers. How is a buyer supposed to find the highest quality pearl if there’s no universal standard?
Although not regulated, there are two pearl grading scales that are very commonly used across the world: the A-AAA & A-D scale. Kyllonen uses a balance of these two scales that puts emphasis on Gem Grade pearls. If you’re looking to purchase pearl jewelry soon, it would be beneficial to have a slight understanding of these pearl grading scales. Just remember these are only a few of the main grading scales. There are still plenty of additional pearl grading scales out there.
Each scale focuses on different pearls and the scale standard ranges from vendor to vendor. Therefore, establishing a uniform understanding of these pearl grading scales and the pearl value factors that are used within the grading scales is a necessity. Ultimately, you must trust the quality of the vendor providing the pearls and how strict they make their grading guidelines.
Kyllonen Luxury, a leading pearl jewelry designer and vendor, has put together the ultimate pearl grading guide. Here is everything you need to know about how pearls are graded:
Let’s start off with the basics, the pearl value factors. Pearls are beautiful gems that can be studied and valued in a variety of different ways. Over the years, there has been a focus on a few values of pearls that are the primary forces in the weight of how valuable a pearl is.
From luster to size, these factors are how a pearl’s value is weighed:
Lastly, matching refers to how well the pearls on a strand match each other. Are they the same color? Shape? Luster? It’s a combination of all the value factors. Depending on the pearl grading scale, a different level of matching is needed. For example, Akoya pearl earrings cannot have more than a 0.15mm variation. The better the pearls match on a strand, the higher the value. Generally, most decent pearl vendors provide the best matching pearls.
Kyllonen puts great emphasis on two significant value factors when grading our pearls: luster & flaw. Luster is largely accepted as the number one value factor to take into account when grading because of the ability to see luster from a distance. For example, if you’re in a conversation with someone wearing a beautiful pearl strand, you will not be able to tell the surface flaws, but you will be able to tell how lustrous the pearls are.
So, when we grade our pearls we take luster into account first. Kyllonen only uses Gem Grade to AA+ culture pearls. Although AA+ is the lowest quality pearl we carry, it’s still of very high value.
Here is our grading scale for Gem Grade-AA+ pearls:
Just a reminder, pearl grading is all over the place, but we are confident that we provide the highest standard of pearl grading. There is no universal standard. But hopefully, our ultimate guide is helping you find a bit of direction in the confusing world of pearl grading systems. Do your research and as long as you have a slight understanding of the overall value factors and the Gem Grade-AA+ grading scale, you’ll get the highest quality most valuable pearls on the market.
If you’re on the market to expand your pearl collection check out our original pearl jewelry designs. Our designs are 100% original and use only the highest quality Gem Grade pearls. Kyllonen Luxury promises luxury pearl jewelry at an affordable price.