Pearl Grading

Pearl grading is a key metric to understand before ultimately making your pearl jewelry purchase. Due to a lack of universal grading standards for pearls, its important for consumers to purchase from reputable and trustworthy pearl suppliers that uphold the highest standards for pearl quality. With thousands of positive customer testimonials online, The Pearl Source has earned a reputation for exceeding expectations when it comes to offering high quality pearl jewelry.

Freshwater

Freshwater
Japanese Akoya
Tahitian South Sea
White & Golden South Sea

Freshwater pearls range in size from as small as 5mm to as large as 13mm. Pearls below 7mm in size are considered to be on the smaller side, while 7-8mm and 8-9mm are among the more popular sizes selected for necklaces in Freshwater pearls. Anything sized from 9-10mm and above is considered to be above average in size, and such pearls are more rare and valuable. Please download and print our pearl sizing guide below for more information.

A AA AAA AAAA
Information

Low Quality Freshwater representing the bottom 60% of pearl harvest. (Not Sold at The Pearl Source)

Medium-Grade Freshwater representing top 20% of Harvest. Commonly found at Jewelry Stores and major department stores (Not Sold at The Pearl Source)

High-Grade Freshwater representing the top 10% of a pearl harvest. Found in Finer Jewelry Stores.

Very High-Grade Freshwater representing the top 1-2% of a pearl harvest.

Surface

Heavy blemishing with only a 50% or less clean surface.

Minor to medium blemishing with a 70-80% clean surface.

Minor blemishing with at least 90% of the pearl surface clean.

Very minor to no blemishing with at least 95% of the pearl surface clean.

Luster

Poor

Medium

High

Very High

Shape

off Round

off Round

Near Round to Round

Round

A AA AA+ AAA Hanadama
Information

Low Quality Japanese Akoya representing the bottom 50% of pearl harvest (Not Sold at Pearl Source

Medium-Grade Japanese Akoya representing top 60% of Harvest. Commonly found at jewelry stores and Major Department Stores (Not Sold at Pearl Source)

High-Grade Japanese Akoya representing the top 5-10% of a pearl harvest. Found in Finer Jewelry Stores.

Very High-Grade Japanese Akoya representing the top 1-5% of a pearl harvest.

Gem Quality Japanese Akoya Pearls representing the highest 1% of a pearl harvest. Accompanied by a numbered certificate by the Pearl Science Laboratory of Japan.

Surface

Heavy blemishing with only a 50% or less clean surface.

Minor to medium blemishing with a 70-80% clean surface.

Minor blemishing with at least 90% of the pearl surface clean.

Very Minor to no blemishing with at least 95% of the pearl surface clean.

99% or cleaner pearl surface with either very minor to no blemishes visible.

Luster

Poor

Medium

High

Very High

Superior

Nacre

Thin

Medium

Thick

Very Thick

Very Thick

Shape

Round/Off Round

Round

Perfectly Round

Perfectly Round

Perfectly Round

A AA AAA AAAA
Information

Low Quality Tahitian representing the bottom 50% of pearl harvest (Not Sold at Pearl Source

Medium-Grade Tahitian representing top 60% of Harvest. Commonly found at jewelry stores and Major Department Stores (Not Sold at Pearl Source)

High-Grade Tahitian representing the top 5-10% of a pearl harvest. Found in Finer Jewelry Stores.

Very High-Grade Tahitian representing the top 1-5% of a pearl harvest.

Surface

Pearls having flaws on at least 60% of the pearl surface, with 20% containing deep imperfections.

Flawless pearl on 40% of its surface, with the remaining 50% having minor imperfections and 10% containg deep flaws.

Flawless pearl on at least 80-85% of its surface, with remaining 15-20% containing only minor imperfections with one or two deep imperfections.

Flawless pearl on at least 95% of the pearl surface, with 5% concentrated imperfections.

Luster

Poor

Medium

High

Very High

A-D Grading System

"D" Quality

"C" Quality

"A/B" Quality

"A" Quality

A AA AAA AAAA
Information

Low Quality South Sea representing the bottom 50% of pearl harvest (Not Sold at Pearl Source

Medium-Grade South Sea representing top 60% of Harvest. Commonly found at jewelry stores and Major Department Stores (Not Sold at Pearl Source)

High-Grade South Sea representing the top 5-10% of a pearl harvest. Found in Finer Jewelry Stores.

Very High-Grade South Sea representing the top 1-5% of a pearl harvest.

Surface

Pearls having flaws on at least 60% of the pearl surface, with 20% containing deep imperfections.

Flawless pearl on 40% of its surface, with the remaining 50% having minor imperfections and 10% containg deep flaws.

Flawless pearl on at least 80-85% of its surface, with remaining 15-20% containing only minor imperfections with one or two deep imperfections.

Flawless pearl on at least 95% of the pearl surface, with 5% concentrated imperfections.

Luster

Poor

Medium

High

Very High

A-D Grading System

"D" Quality

"C" Quality

"A/B" Quality

"A" Quality

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Akoya Pearl Quality

AA+ Quality

AAA Quality

Hanadama Quality