Purchasing pearls does not have to be difficult if you know what you are looking for. Some people have even passed up very good deals on pearls because they do not know how to tell if they are top quality or imitation.
Pearls have two different grading systems: the AAA-A system and the A-D system.
The AAA-A system is most common with freshwater pearls, but is used in other instances as well.
* AAA is the designation for essentially flawless pearls, with a great deal of luster and almost no apparent defects. Any defects present must cover less than 5% of the pearl’s surface.
* AA means that the pearls have high luster and the surfaces are at least 75% blemish free.
* The rating of “A” is given to a low jewelry grade pearl that displays a small amount of surface luster along with 25% or more surface blemishing.
The A-D Pearl Grading System is used for pearls from Tahiti or the South Seas. Though it is close to the AAA-A rating system be certain which system your pearls are being rated on when purchasing “A” grade pearls.
* The highest grade “A” in the A-D system is used for pearls with a great deal of luster and less than 10% of the surface having defects.
* The rating “B” denotes pearls with high to medium luster and up to 30% surface imperfections.
* Grade “C” pearls have medium luster (and rarely high) with 60% of the surface covered in defects.
* Grade “D” pearls have more than 60% of their surface with imperfections. Even if these pearls have a great deal of luster, the large amount of imperfections makes the pearls substandard in quality, but they are still accepted for use in jewelry. Pearls graded below this level are not approved for use in jewelry.
Here are some top tips that can help you make the best selection to add to your own private jewelry collection.
Pearls are graded in a similar manner to diamonds, and the following 5 categories are involved:
* Luster, shape, color, surface and size of all of these, size is least important when it comes to value.
1. Decide if you want to purchase natural pearls, cultured pearls, freshwater pearls, or a synthetic variety. The natural pearls and some of the cultured specimens will be the most expensive.
2. The luster of pearls is one of the main factors that make them desirable and valuable. Luster is measured in terms of how light reflective the entire pearl surface is. You should choose your pearls based on the degree of luster as opposed to size. Because pearls are naturally formed blemishes often occur, and a small imperfection does not always detract from the appearance. While these minute flaws result in a lower cost to consumers, the amount of luster may be enough to make these pearls an excellent buy.
3. Always remember that larger pearls can be less valuable than the smaller ones because they often have flaws and blemishes. It is extremely rare to find a perfectly round large pearl with high luster and few blemishes.
4. Pearls that are perfectly round are the most desirable, followed by those with a teardrop shape. This should be kept in mind as you make your selections. Large pearls are likelier to be asymmetric, which can appeal to some collectors, especially if it’s worked cleverly into jewelry, but usually they’re less valuable.
5. When you are searching for a quality pearl necklace it is important to look for pearls that are well matched in size, symmetry, and luster.
6. When strung on silk cord, pearls need knots tied between each of the pearls. These knots help protect the surfaces of each pearl and keep them from chipping or bumping against each other.
7. You should always make sure that the pearls you select are from a reputable dealer whom you can trust.
There are different styles of pearl necklaces that you might consider and here are the most common classifications.
* Collar necklaces are those that are made from 3 strands of pearls. These necklaces can accent many of your outfits and are more formal than some of the other necklace options.
* Pearl chokers are roughly 14 to 16 inches in length. Most of them are designed so the pearls rest on the collarbone, accenting the lines of the throat. This is a very classic style that has a timeless elegance.
* Princess necklaces are single pearl strands ranging from 16 to 20 inches in length. They resemble a longer princess necklace and can be worn with casual or formal clothing choices.
* The matinee pearl necklaces are 20-25 inches long and the strand is often doubled so that it resembles a “choker necklace”. These are worn occasionally with casual clothing, but are a fashionable selection for more formal evening attire.
* A pearl rope necklace is quite dramatic with a length of 40-72 inches. The length of this jewelry selection gives it an amazing amount of versatility. The necklace can be tripled up as a high choker, worn around the waist, or threaded through coiffure settings. They can even be used to drape down the back for a low back evening dress.