Cultured saltwater pearls are a product of fusion between nature and humans. Bead nucleus from the shell of mother of pearl is inserted in host oyster together with mantle tissue donated by an oyster producing pearls of exceptional value. The oyster starts to secrete around the nucleus and finally forms a pearl.
The pearl is smooth and has shimmering iridescent flashes of green, blue, violet, and pink across an unblemished white surface, which results in their trademarked mirror-like luster. All these are hallmark of exceptional Akoya Pearl.
Pearls internal structure reflects its beauty making them worthy to be included as precious gemstones.
How are pearl qualified and graded?
Pearl grading system starts at A [Hanadama standards] – Highest level
- Minimum nacre thickness on each side of pearl is to be 4mm or more.
- Nearly flawless.
- Sharp luster with extremely high reflection rate.
- Reflected light sources hold blemish defined and crisp edges.
- Facial features can be seen in pearl surfaces.
- Blemish rate on pearl surface is between 0-5percent.
- On inspection the strands will look clean.
- Near to perfect matching in terms of tone, color, shape, size, and luster.
Highest quality pearl with maximum 95% surface defects free, while other aspects will be similar to the Hanadama standards.
- Thin nacre.
- Good luster and fair reflection rate.
- Blemish rate less than 15%-20% on pearl surface.
- Reflected light sources reveal blurred and satiny edges.
- Strands appear little spotted on inspection.
- Thin nacre
- Fair to poor luster, reflection is low rate.
- Appearance is somewhat chalky.
- Blemish rate less than 30% on pearl surface.
- Reflected light sources reveal unclear and glossy edges.
- Strands seem little dotted on inspection.
Which graded pearl to choose?
The ultimate choice will depend on your preference, budget and own aesthetics. If you are iridescence and lustrous enthusiast then a high quality, small-size, high-luster pearl strand will be preferred over large and less lustrous necklace.
Majority of saltwater pearls are colorless or white in appearance, so that blemishes cannot be noticed. Moreover, the blemishes are very shallow and small on pearl’s surface, so the gem’s long-term durability does not get affected.