Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 18
  1. #1
    Margaret G.
    Guest

    Default Pearl Grading Standards

    I have been looking for a pearl neckalce and am a bit confused by the standards of grading pearls. I have contacted a couple of online sellers and have compared prices at my local jewelers and am unable to determine how and if I am getting a good deal. Specifically, I understand that the most accepted grading scale is A-AAA. But I have also seen A+, AA+, AAA+ and even AAAA. My jeweler said that the GIA has only 3 grades, but from what I have read this does not seem correct either. Can someone give me a bit of help with this?
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Marina del Rey, CA
    Posts
    5,595

    Default

    In terms of grading, the GIA has not set any pearl grade standards. The most acceptable is A-AAA. But as I am sure you have found, this is not only subjective, but many retailers add additional grades to their mix. GIA does not assign a letter grade to any of the appraisals they prepare, and they do not assign an approximate retail value as well. GIA graduate appraisers do this service. However, it is again subjective unlike diamonds and other gemstones.

    When comparing our pearls to another store with similar standards, but with an additional grading system, our ‘AA+’ should approximate another’s ‘AAA’. But only IF this seller carries high-quality Akoya pearls. This is important because if this seller does not have access to top-quality pearls, a low grade, albeit their best, may be categorized as ‘AAA’, even though it is nowhere near the best grade available.

    Unfortunately when purchasing pearls either online or in a store you have to rely upon the honesty of the seller to know exactly what you are going to get. I would suggest asking very direct questions, and have them explain their grading as explicitly as I have explained above. What I typically tell undecided customers is to purchase a strand from us (we offer a 90-day money back guarantee) and then compare the strand to any others personally.

    This is recommended reading:

    http://www.pearl-guide.com/pearl-grading.shtml
    Last edited by jshepherd; 04-06-2006 at 12:31 AM.

  3. #3
    Kenji
    Guest

    Default

    In terms of grading, the GIA has not set any pearl grade standards. The most acceptable is A-AAA. But as I am sure you have found, this is not only subjective, but many retailers add additional grades to their mix. GIA does not assign a letter grade to any of the appraisals they prepare, and they do not assign an approximate retail value as well. GIA graduate appraisers do this service. However, it is again subjective unlike diamonds and other gemstones.
    This is why sellers on eBay can get away with the grading they give their pearls! It is because they know that there is no laws that are regulating the grading! I feel that the term 'AAA' is thrown around so much that it means almost nothing like it did 5-10 years ago! There were only a couple of companies that carried pearls of that quality in their regular stock back then. If you ask around today it appears as though more AAA-quality pearls are harvested than not!
    I have read that soon the GIA would like to adopt a new standard system. But because of the amount of training it would require to teach jewelers about pearls (ok, I said it - most jewelers know as much about pearls as their customers), I am not sure it will work. At this time pearl-study is only an elective at the GIA, not a prerequisite to graduating!
    Last edited by Admin; 01-10-2006 at 07:12 PM.

  4. #4
    purepearls
    Guest

    Default

    I agree with Kenji that there are many pearl retailers that have very little knowledge about pearl grading. Thus, it is important to educate yourself on what a high quality pearl is and then compare your purchase to several other pearl strands in person. There are honest companies that have tight standards on what constitutes as AAA pearls and are educated GIA graduates that can help give you guidance. There are also many companies whom have looser grading standards in order to hype up their reported pearl quality. Your best resource is to make sure the company has a solid refund policy that gives you enough time to do your own comparisons to other reputable, high-end companies. You will find that pearls can be affordable and high quality if shopping in the right place. By comparing your strand in person, you will have piece of mind that you have made a solid purchase.

    Amanda
    President

  5. #5
    National Pearl
    Guest

    Default

    Margaret,

    Outside of the typical letter grading system, there are also corresponding terms/number systems that you can identify per evaluating pearl quality. For example:

    B, 1-4, Commercial
    A, 4-6, Good
    AA, 6-8, Fine
    AAA, 8-10 Extra Fine
    AAA+, 10+ Gem

    There are a lot of choices out there. Of those who post on these message boards, Among the most experienced and knowledgeable are sheperds and Amanda.

    Good luck!!

  6. #6
    The Pearl Outlet
    Guest

    Default Pearl Grading

    Margaret,

    I'd recommend staying away from using grades such as AAA+ and Gem. This implies that a company using these grades, sells a sub-par AAA quality. It also creates confusion for the customer.

    Even worse is when a company goes far beyond the "accepted" A to AAA scale by using a AAAA grade.

    My recommendation would be to narrow your buying decision down to two dealers. Make sure they both have good, unconditional return policies with no restocking fees. Purchase the "identical" necklace from both dealers, and return the one you don't like. And since you're using a credit card, you don't even have to have the money in the bank to take this approach.

  7. #7
    J. Larry Railey
    Guest

    Smile Grading System

    Hello, Andrew,


    I just read your 12-31-05 post about grading. You mentioned ?1- 4,? ?4-6,? ?6-8,? ?8-10? and ?10+.? Would you please specify what is the source of this grading system so that we can get additional information.

    Many thanks,


    Regards,

    J. Larry Railey
    Railey & Associates
    jlr@houston.rr.com



    Quote Originally Posted by National Pearl
    Margaret,

    Outside of the typical letter grading system, there are also corresponding terms/number systems that you can identify per evaluating pearl quality. For example:

    B, 1-4, Commercial
    A, 4-6, Good
    AA, 6-8, Fine
    AAA, 8-10 Extra Fine
    AAA+, 10+ Gem

    There are a lot of choices out there. Of those who post on these message boards, Among the most experienced and knowledgeable are sheperds and Amanda.

    Good luck!!

  8. #8
    Bigwellpearls
    Guest

    Default

    Only by common standard can Akoya pearls be graded correctly.Honest grading pearls is vital to clientes to conclude transactions in the long run.

  9. #9

    Default

    i have a golden south sea pearl, round, which has flecks of other colour in it. will those flecks of colour affect it's value?

  10. #10
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    3,656

    Default

    Hard to say, without more detail as to size, surface quality, shape etc - can you post pictures and a more full description?
    cheers
    wendy

  11. #11
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert waimeamomi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    PV Peninsula, California
    Posts
    1,276

    Default

    Margaret, I am a relatively new pearl person and have learned a lot from this site. Reading the information on the link Jeremy posted will help you a lot. Reading some of the threads from others that have made a first purchase will also give you very good guidance. If you have a specific dealer you are thinking of purchasing from, search them on this site as well and it might save you some time and money. The other thing I've learned is that most jewelers also know very little about pearls or grading them. Since beginning my own pearl adventures, I have found some very, very fine pearl sellers out there, but have also been appalled at pearls I have seen selling in the stores, including "fine" jewelers. You've come to the right place.
    Sheryl

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/mkmPearls
    https://www.facebook.com/MaunaKeaMoonlight

    ?All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography? Frederico Fellini
    Momi means pearl in Hawaiian!

  12. #12
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert dkan 168's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wiltshire, UK
    Posts
    1,470

    Default

    I'll never buy pearls from retail jewellery stores on the high streets again, as I get MUCH better value for money buying from online vendors!!!

    Personally, I will not buy branded jewellery as I cannot justify paying a hugh premium just for the brand name.

    Forget about re-sale value, unless you are talking about REALLY high end jewellery and antiques.

    As for pearls (and diamonds), why pay so much money for a famous brand, when no one can tell the difference?

    I am 100% certain you will get better quality and value for money by buying from one of the reputable online vendors recommended on PG

    There are also good reliable eBay sellers recommended by users on here too!

    Please don't buy from retail outlet!!!

    DK
    Treat every life situation like a dog: if you can't play with it, eat it, or hump it, p1$$ on it and walk away

  13. #13
    pattye
    Guest

    Default

    Mischel,

    i have a golden south sea pearl, round, which has flecks of other colour in it. will those flecks of colour affect it's value?
    HI there, somehow this is under the Akoya thread instead of the SS thread--however, you have a good question.

    It is possible that the "flecks" of color are dye. If so, the value would be lower. Size, shape, nacre quality and many other factors will affect the overall value. If you post some large clear photos, we can much better specifically discuss your pearl. We are also interested in if it is set or not, and where you obtained it!

  14. #14
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Marina del Rey, CA
    Posts
    5,595

    Default

    I saw an answer posted by me in this thread and got a little confused. Then I looked at the date. This thread is 4 years old! A small bump with some good, old information.

  15. #15
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert dkan 168's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wiltshire, UK
    Posts
    1,470

    Default

    [QUOTE=jshepherd;44558]Then I looked at the date. This thread is 4 years old!QUOTE]


    Oops, I did not notice this is 4yo!!!

    I did not have a lot of time to read through the posts as I was (and still am) at work, that's my excuse

    I stand by my opinion re: high street retail outlet though

    DK
    Treat every life situation like a dog: if you can't play with it, eat it, or hump it, p1$$ on it and walk away