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  1. #1

    Default Question of grading

    I have been doing some shopping around for akoya pearls. Someone said I should check out American Pearls in New York and I was all set to purchase one of their collection grade necklaces but wanted to price it out. So I found another company that also has a internet website and the company is in San Francisco. So they have collection grade that is cheaper so I sent an email to American Pearls and asked them about the difference.

    The guy at American Pearls told me that collection grade was their grade and that Premium Pearl more or less copied it from them and that they were not the same. This is part of the email that I received from American Pearls.

    premiumpearl is successful in ripping off American Pearl concept and strategy and branding but failed to deliver a pearl that is truly higher luster and thicker nacre. Not only do I question their business tactics, I question their pearl quality.
    My question is this. Is collection a grade and would there really be that much a difference from the two? Premium Pearl states that their collection grade is the best in the world just like American Pearls. Anybody have experience in both?

    This is for Christmas so I am not in a hurry but I cannot seem to find an answer to this anywhere in the internet.
    Last edited by IowaCamper; 05-18-2008 at 11:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Marina del Rey, CA


    I am going to do something I rarely do and completely agree with American Pearl on this one.

    American Pearl did coin the name and created a line they call "collection quality". It is a line they only associate with akoya pearls. Although I do not agree with their separation of Hanadama and collection quality (as the actual definition of Hanadama means the very best), it is an American Pearl line. I believe anyone else using "collection quality", especially on the Internet, is attempting to copy American Pearl and piggy-back on their marketing efforts.

    I also second them in calling question to the quality of the other company. There is a golden South Sea strand selling in their "collection quality" area that appears to be yellow, not "gold". The "finest in the world" would wholesale in the $40-$50,000 range in that size as well. Clearly the strand is not the finest grade golden South Sea strand.

    There have actually been a few comments on the other company in this thread called

    If you heart is set on a "collection quality" akoya strand... stick with American Pearl.
    Last edited by jshepherd; 11-28-2010 at 02:06 AM.

  3. #3
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    near Tucson AZ


    Hi Iowa camper
    I believe you can search for both of these dealers on this website and get some info -none of it good.

    The term"collection grade" is bogus for any kind of pearls. It is a sales term only, and has no recognized meaning of any kind.

    Akoya pearls are graded from A to AAA. These grades are really a spectrum, so the best of the AAA grade in akoyas can apply for and receive the "hanadama" rating from Japan. That means the pearls meet the toughest set of specifications available for cultured akoya pearls.

    I strongly recommend you look around this site and learn a little about pearls before deciding who to buy from.

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  4. #4
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by jshepherd
    I am going to do something I rarely do and completely agree with American Pearl on this one.
    You had me scared there, for a second. But I had faith and kept reading.

    IowaCamper: I had the same question regarding "can I really tell a difference." Yes, you can tell a difference. I saw my first Hanadama strand a few days ago and was totally blown away by the difference.

    Unfortunately, buying online, I think, actually takes longer than going to a store to make a purchase. Online companies are constantly changing their websites. You can learn a lot about a company and their integrity by watching the changes the site goes through; i.e. are they contradicting something they previously represented on the website. I've been watching American Pearl for many years. While this isn't a knock against them and if they had a product I wanted, I would purchase it, but the pictures they display of their collection quality vs. hanadama are completely different than before they invented the collection quality category. I think there are several companies operating under the Premium Pearl name. I don't know if they are related.
    Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]