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  1. #1

    Default AA+ grade vs AAA on PP and PoJ

    I am new to the forum and new to pearls in general. I was thinking about buying my future wife pearls for our upcoming wedding this January. When I bought her diamond engagement ring, I did exhaustive research and ended up saving a good deal of money buying online. I am doing the same for the pearls and ended up here. From what I have seen reading the forum is PP and PoJ are very reputable. I am looking to purchase 8mm white freshwater pearls. I have not heard as much about Pearl Outlet, are their pearls comparable to PP and PoJ?

    I am looking to buy a pearl set and was wondering whether or not it would be worth it to buy AAA freshwater pearls over AA+ pearls. If I spring for the AAA, it would be pushing my budget (I am paying for a wedding in 2 months), but may be possible. What size is recommended? Would the 7.5-8mm be large enough or should I go bigger? Thanks in advance for helping me out.

  2. #2
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    First of all Welcome ! Now there are quite a few things to consider..
    1. Does the future Mrs Roger wear necklaces or bracelets or both. I have friends that only wear bracelets and others who only wear necklaces...
    2. Always go for the best you can afford.. that way you don't have to buy again later
    3. Size - that's very personal . I like large pearls - nothing under 10mm . Many many people here wear 8 - 9mm Some like the smaller 7.5-8.
    If she's a tiny little thing then you can get away with smaller more easily. I'd be surprised if most people here didn't suggest moving up to 8-8.5 . Makes a big difference in the way they look.
    4. To save a bit...consider the necklace and studs .... or the bracelet and studs.
    5. Call PP and tell them your budget..that you want the AAA pearls .. that you want studs and (necklace or bracelet).. in the largest size within your budget. They will send you a photo I'm sure.

    Such a thoughtful gift ! Well done ! And congrats!

  3. #3
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
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    The difference in surface luster is the same. AAA are rounder than AA+.

    I have a strand of Freshadamas (gem grade freshwater pearls) from PP, and I'm very pleased with them. I got size 7 1/2 - 8 mm and they are plenty large enough for me.

  4. #4
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    You will do fine with PP, POJ or Pure Pearls. All carry comparable quality. And TPO is owned by the brother of the owner of PP, so his pearls should be also be comparable.

    I agree with possibly saving money by just getting the strand and studs, unless you know she likes wearing bracelets (I almost never do, pearls or otherwise.)

    Factors that increase the price of freshwater pearls are grade and size. You can save money by emphasizing one or the other when choosing.
    i.e. larger size/ lower grade vs. higher grade/ smaller size.

    Some considerations:

    • The higher the grade, the more nearly round they will be. (Because these pearls don't have a bead inside, they will not be perfectly round.) I agree with BWeaves that you may not be sacrificing luster. I have a very lustrous AA/AA+ strand from PP. But for some people, roundness is very important.
    • 7.5-8mm will look fine on someone who is of medium build; if a woman is larger, she may feel larger pearls suit her proportions more. Also, many of us ladies like larger pearls as we get older. I prefer not to wear pearls smaller than 8-8.5mm but I am older.

    Happy shopping!
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 11-19-2015 at 03:10 AM.

  5. #5
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Marianne's Avatar
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    I have a strand of PP AA+ and they are absolutely gorgeous!

  6. #6

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    Thanks for all of the replies!

    If I were to go with the 7.5-8mm, I could spring for the bracelet and go AAA. If I get 8.5-9mm, I would go for the AA+ necklace and earrings only. Picking up a matching bracelet would not be out of the question, but it would be in the future, and she would not have it for our wedding. She has a Pandora bracelet she wears on and off, but she does not wear bracelets regularly. She does wear earrings and a necklace daily. I guess what I am getting at is which would have more wow factor, the 3 piece set of 7.5-8 AAA or the 2 piece set of 8.5-9 AA+? Does anyone have any comparison shots of a 7.5-8 vs an 8.5-9?

    Thanks again for all of your help!

  7. #7
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Is this supposed to be a surprise? You might ask her what she prefers.

    Going up a full mm is a big increase, by the way. This is because a pearl is a 3 dimensional object, so we calculate volume. An 8.5-9.0 mm stand will be 42% larger in the center and 45% larger near the clasp than a 7.5-8mm strand.
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 11-20-2015 at 06:24 AM.

  8. #8
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Here is a photo of my 7-8mm Freshadama strand (which now belongs to my daughter) below my 8.0-8.5mm white metallic fwp strand.

    Notice how much larger the white metallics are even though there is only a 0.5mm difference from the smaller strand at the center of the strand.
    An 8.5-9.0mm strand would be even larger.

    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 11-20-2015 at 06:28 AM.

  9. #9

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    Wow! That is a big difference. It is a surprise gift, but I am sure she would rather have the bigger pearls. I am shocked what a difference a 1mm increase makes. I did not think it would be as dramatic as it is. I have gone over the forum in the past week and saw a thread where a prospective buyer got a choice of 3 strands. I think I will try the same thing, if you all would help me out. I am a pearl novice and do not really notice the subtle difference between strands. I will contact PP in the next couple days and get a pic posted here if you all would help me out. Thanks so much for all your help!

  10. #10
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert CathyKeshi's Avatar
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    Roger, we LOVE to help ...
    Cathy

    CathyKeshi

  11. #11
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    That is a good idea, and of course we'll give you our opinions.

    Another thing to note about slightly off-round pearls is that they look more nearly round on the neck than they do laid flat on a table. Here is a smallish (6.5-7.5mm) AA/AA+ strand that I bought years ago from PP; you can see for yourself how round they appear, and their luster.
    Personally I think AA+ is a good option to keep costs down while going larger.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  12. #12
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    We do love to help !!! Im not at all surprised that you were shocked at the difference..most people forget that it's not a linear measurement..they look at a ruler and go...1mm pffft .. hardly any difference... but when you consider the volume it's a big difference.

    Cant wait to see the photos ... !!
    Last edited by Katbran; 11-21-2015 at 05:19 AM.

  13. #13

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    They got back to me quickly. Here is a copy of the email and the pics they sent. Let me know which strand you think is nicest. Also, they asked about overtones. My fiance has light, but not pale skin. She tans in the sun and rarely burns. Her wedding dress is ivory.

    Their email:

    Hello Roger,

    Here are some photos of some 8.5-9mm Freshwater pearl strands you requested.

    Please let me know what you think.

    If you would like a more pronounced overtone of a specific color, just let me know and I can pull some more strands.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

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  14. #14
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    I like the overtones and luster in this strand:


  15. #15
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    And don't forget you can get a discount with Pearl Points:

    http://www.pearlparadise.com/t-PointsProgram.aspx

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