Pearl Grading

Known as the "icon" of cultured pearls, Akoya pearls have graced the necks, ears, fingers, and wrists of women for decades. The Pearl Source imports their Akoya pearls from the saltwaters of Japan, grown in the Pinctada fucata oyster. All of our Akoya pearl necklaces are made on site, and our extensive experience and careful attention to detail allows us to create truly beautiful Akoya pearl necklaces and jewelry.

Freshwater

Freshwater
Japanese Akoya
Tahitian South Sea
White & Golden South Sea

Freshwater range in size from as small as 3.0mm to as large as 9.5mm. Pearls below 7.0mm are considered small in size. 7.0mm until 8.0mm are generally the more popular sizes selected for necklaces, while anything above 8.0mm is considered to be more rare and valuable, especially in the higher qualities.

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