Understanding Pearl Grades

The most important thing to understand when comparing pearl grades: Every company in the world that sells pearls uses a grading system that they themselves arbitrarily created. There is no standardized system. When pearls are purchased wholesale, a range of quality and price is always presented. Buyers determine which pearls fall into their respective grading categories. One buyer’s AAA grade can be another’s A or AA grade simply because one is selecting from a more expensive, higher range of pearl. The highest-rated pearl from one seller might not meet the minimum threshold of another seller’s lowest grade—even if the presented letter grades are identical. The result of this unregulated system is sheer confusion! Once you understand this about pearl grading, the most important thing to remember when shopping for pearls is finding a reputable company, one with many years of experience and the ability to back what they sell.

The Pearl Paradise Grading System

Pearl Paradise has a stringent approach to grading that we’d like to share with you. Understanding where your pearl is from and it’s unique qualities is one of the joys of owning a beautiful pearl, surely making it a piece to be treasured forever.
(TIP: view grading charts by hovering over or clicking the pearl type)

Akoya Pearl Akoya Pearl Active
Freshwater Pearl Freshwater Pearl Active
Tahitian Pearl Tahitian Pearl Active
South Sea Pearl South Sea Pearl Active

Grading Chart for Akoya Pearls

Akoya are the quintessential, classic pearls, prized for their perfect round shape and unmistakable luster.
For decades, we have been working with the same family-run pearl companies in Japan. They understand our rigorous grading standards and select pearls specifically for Pearl Paradise. They ensure the pearls we offer are from the top range of each grading category. This is something you’ll recognize and appreciate the moment you open the box.

Factorsrarity i
less than 1% annual yield1-3% annual yield3-10% annual yield20% annual yield
luster i
reflection is mirror likereflection is bright and sharpreflection is bright and near sharpreflection is bright but hazy around edges
shape i
perfect roundperfect roundperfect roundround to near round
surface quality i
98-100% blemish free95% blemish free or better85-95% blemish free or better75-85% blemish free or better
matching i
excellentgood to excellentgood to excellentfair to excellent
nacre quality i
extremely thickvisibly thickmedium thicknessthin