Anyone know about The Pearl Source? ThePearlSource.com
For some reason I couldn't get the PM system to answer so I am putting a recent q and A here"
Originally Posted by Luke
Go ahead and ask. People will go check out the website and review it. You are correct about the AAAA. If the prices are lower than you can get elsewhere and the grading is higher, you will no doubt get what you pay for.
Be sure to include a link people can click on and you will get many more people clicking through to check the site out. I'll look at them tomorrow, I am done for today.
There is no standard pearl grading system accepted yet.
That's fact. The following is my take on it...
Now, it is easy to like even very lowly pearls as long as you don't know what better ones look like and even after. If this wasn't true, there would be far fewer pearls around and Ebay sellers with 0.99$ strands would never get one bit of positive feedback, let alone thousands.
To know how the goods of one shop compare with the next it'll take the feedback of a buyers who has seen both and knows pretty well what they were looking at (especially, treatment, but also valuation). Rather tall order, although it does happen esp. when the first product is returned. Gross misrepresentation gets killed, but treatments remain a problem even then... among others.
Last edited by Valeria101; 03-20-2007 at 11:15 AM.
while there is no standard grading system, the accepted system is A-AAA.
When a retailer decides to use AAAA, this typically means they are trying to confuse the customer who may be accustomed to the A-AAA system. Its just too similar and any logical person would realize that it would cause confusion - but again that's the purpose.
That being said I haven't heard anything bad about them - if you do decide to purchase from them, please do come back and report on your experience.
Senior Guide Member
I do not believe anyone on the pearl-guide has posted anything about them up until now. Just make sure to do your research before choosing your company of choice!
Luke is having some trouble logging in. Here is an address of the item he is asking about
They have a 30 day return policy, so you can order one and send it back if you don't like it.
A true gem quality necklace will have fantastic luster of the highest quality. Luster includes not only "mirror", the reflective shininess, but "orient", the play of colors reflecting from the nacre. The factor of luster that is most rare is "water". Water is a translucency of the upper layers. If you get a gem quality CFWP strand, all of of the individual pearls should display excellent mirror. Most of the individual pearls should display orient and you will be lucky to get some pearls that have much water.
Without having actual examples of two different sellers' pearls to compare in person, it is impossible to tell what they mean by their grading scales.
My guess with the amount of info I have, is that pearl source's AAAA is similar to PP's AAA. Let us know what you think.
I think the true gem quality pearls are set aside for earrings before the rest of pearls are sorted into the usual grades. I do know that that Jeremy of Pearl Paradise started buying the loose earring pearls and having them matched for necklaces resulting in his gem quality.
Last edited by Caitlin; 03-20-2007 at 08:55 PM.
Need to correct my error in reply to the email from you--I thought you meant Pearlsource on ebay, and my reply only reflected thoughts on those ebay listings. I don't know if that is the same as The Pearl Source at all, or anything about the latter. Sorry for the mix-up.
I am still surprised to notice that Tahitian pearls are still graded in the AAAAA system on different websites, since Polynesia authorities set an official pearl grading system from A to D for Tahitian pearls. This confuses customers a little bit more.
Both the ebay site and the online site address the main person as "Leon." So it seems they are the one and same.
In the past I sent them ? about the peach and pink strands they have at auction, asking why they didn't indicate they were freshwater, and received no reply, also have noticed they use a stock photo for a number of the strands.
I think the colors of the strands are not shown well on the online site. Some of the pearls appear on my monitor as being very blue.
Even on the ebay site there is only one photo shown for the necklace, except in very few cases, although the items are valued at $$$$ I am not certain if one could request additional photos of the strands one was interested in.
Personally, a 30 day return policy would be more difficult to stay within than a 90 day policy, if one was getting the piece appraised and otherwise checked out.
Interesting--they are mixing fw with SS and Tahitians on some strands, one would think that would bring the cost down a bit!!
Just some comments, I have not purchased there.
so many pearls, so little time
Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
I think the trouble lies where vendors have been using the AAA system for a long time - if consumers are used to it it just creates more confusion if they switch suddenly. I have no trouble with most of the vendors' grading system here.
Originally Posted by CLICLASP
Do you know when the official grading system started?
A couple of points;
The Tahitian system is just that, the "Tahitian System". But it is not universal. It is used in Tahiti and Japan, but the A-AAA is used almost exclusively in Hong Kong, which is one of the world's largest trading hubs for Tahitian pearls. Both systems, A-D and A-AAA are used in the USA. Any system that is not one of the above (like A-AAAA or A-AAA+) is just a inflated grading system designed to confuse and deceive consumers. But very, very few sellers use systems like that. What is sad is that they are almost exclusively online. Offline, this sort of deception is not necessary because in a jewelry store you are simply comparing pearls against pearls from the same shop. Online sales allow side by side comparison... you can see how these "new" grades have developed.
Regarding the pictures on The Pearl Source, I can only comment on one. The multicolor freshwater necklace picture (which happens to be a sectional tab) is stolen from The Pearl Outlet. This would lead me to believe that none of the pictures on thepearlsource.com can really be trusted.
Last edited by jshepherd; 04-25-2008 at 05:11 PM.
Ah yes, the poema color system. That really never caught on, even though it really was a good system. It is difficult, however, as so many overtones and colors exist. It is probably as difficult as the GIA's warm and cool tone system. They make a lot of sense, but they are very difficult to apply.
I agree that it is difficult to use the color system, but for other specifications, it is very useful and easy to use a quality chart to compare : skin, luster, shape offered and so...
Offline, this sort of deception is not necessary because in a jewelry store you are simply comparing pearls against pearls from the same shop.
When you go to buy diamond, you do not accept " beautiful white eye clean " specifications claimed by the seller, you want to know the exact grade color of the stone to pay it what it's worth, don't you?
Even without a GIA certificate, customer can match a pearl with the grading chart easily
I don't specially promote A to D or A to AAAA, but it is more confusing that ever that a "upper" A grad Tahitian pearl might be confused with the "lower" A grad SS specification .
Is there at now a willing somewhere to merge all grading systems so as to get a unique grading system? The customer should be the winner of the decision !!
Thanks for clarifying.
I do not agree that a consumer would be able to use a grading chart. It is much too subjective and pearls need to be compared to actual pearls when grading - not pictures.
An 'A' grade Tahitian in the A-AAA would be similar to a 'D' grade in A-D. It is impossible to confuse the two systems. I have found no confusion in Asia, or in the US with our customers. What does confuse people is making up a new grading system like The Pearl Source has, selling moderately blemished strands as AAA because they grade up to AAAA. You would never see thepearlsource.com grading at a high-end retailer- just on eBay.
The GIA is about to offer certs for pearls just like diamonds. But it is going to be cost prohibitive for any pearls other than South Sea.
Last edited by jshepherd; 04-25-2008 at 05:13 PM.
Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
As a consumer I think the AAA grading system is less confusing. I was brought up in Asia, and that's also the grading system employed in China for pearls. I doubt many people outside of Asia and the US would be used to a new and elaborate system, even though it would be technically more accurate. Same reason why guidelines take a long time to change in any given field. The AAA and A-D grading system have been field-tested for long enough to get rid of most bugs, unlike the Window Vista .
I do not claim to be a connoisseur of pearls - I am merely a beginner. But I do my research and I can easily match the description of a pearl to the quality on the relatively simple AAA grading system. If someone buys into the propaganda and merely reads but does know what he/she actually sees in a piece of pearl jewellery, it does not matter how elaborate or accurate the grading system is. This individual simply does not appreciate pearls. I happen to be very particular about most details of my life, and I found the AAA system very easy to catch on to. On my first trip to Liwan Plaza in China, I was just not interested in any of the pearls I saw there apart for everyday costume jewellery, because I was not satisfied with the quality. It wasn't until I went home and did some research before I found out about Pearl-guide, and bought the Freshadamas from PP sight unseen just because I was confident of the expertise offered in grading the pearls. I was not disappointed. It doesn't have to be elaborate and technical, it just has to give the discerning consumer of average intelligence a good hold on the situation. And in retrospect I was able to apply my newly acquired knowledge to things that I'd seen but not realized/quantified when I was in China in person. I think it'd be great fun to trudge Liwan Plaza again armed with my arsenal of knowledge trying to wrangle a good deal out of the vendors.
A GIA certificate is a good idea, but as mentioned the cost is too prohibitive for pieces other than premium SS pearls. However, having said that, if I did buy something from Paspaley I'd be sure it's because I liked the piece and trust the quality of the name. A GIA certificate is a bonus, but if it added to hidden costs of the pearls I'd rather go without. If I did want to prove the value of the pearls I'd get it appraised if I wanted to sell it. And even then the final selling price is dependent on the market, not the appraised value.
Sorry for being longwinded.
Last edited by Raisondetre; 05-01-2007 at 09:08 AM.
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