Pearl Grading Old
It is impossible to compare grades and grading systems from one company to another. Like a pearl, each is unique and subjective.
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.
Imagine taking a single-question test in school. You give the exact same answer to a dozen teachers and you get back … a dozen different grades! Some use letter grades ranging from A to AA to AAA to AAAA, some use numbers, others use words, but each teacher assigns a different, arbitrary grade—to the exact same answer.
When shopping for pearls, a dealer’s experience and reputation are far more critical than the stated grades.