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Cultured South Sea Pearl Grading

South Sea pearls are graded much like Tahitian pearls and the two most commonly accepted systems of grading are the A-D system, and the A-AAA system. PearlParadise.com utilizes the A-AAA grading system when valuating South Sea cultured pearls.

Although color does influence the value of South Sea pearls, it does not necessarily influence the grade. A strand of AAA grade golden South Sea pearls of a light yellow coloration, for example, may be worth much less than an equivalent strand of deep, naturally-gold colored pearls.

Please note, PearlParadise.com does not subscribe to superfluous grades such as AAA+ and AAAA. These are not industry accepted grades.

 
A-D Grading A-AAA US Grading Description
  • Gem Grade Flawless pearl with excellent luster
  • Pearl exhibits no inclusions or imperfections prior to setting or drilling
  • Flawless on at least 90% of pearl’s surface
  • Only 10% of pearl’s surface may exhibit slight, concentrated imperfections
  • Only a single deep inclusion allowable
  • Pearl should drill or set clean to virtually clean
  • Luster very high to excellent*
  • Flawless on at least 80% of pearl’s surface
  • Only 20% of pearl’s surface may exhibit slight, concentrated imperfections
  • Only one or two deep inclusions allowable
  • Pearl should drill or set clean to nearly clean
  • Luster is high to very high*
  • Flawless on at least 70% of pearl’s surface
  • Only 30% of pearl’s surface may exhibit slight, concentrated imperfections
  • Only one or two deep inclusions allowable
  • Pearl should drill or set nearly clean
  • Luster is high to very high*
  • Flawless on at least 40% of pearl’s surface
  • Up to 60% of pearl’s surface may exhibit slight, concentrated imperfections
  • Deep inclusions are limited to 10% of pearl’s surface
  • Luster is medium to very high*
  • At least 60% of pearl’s surface will exhibit flaws
  • Deep inclusions and/or white spots within inclusions on up to 20% of pearl’s surface
  • Luster is poor to very high*
  • *South Sea pearls are known for their warm, satiny luster which does not typically exhibit the same reflective qualities of other cultured pearls.

     

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