Grading Pearl Necklaces
Let’s begin with pearl grading. If you’ve spent much time browsing stores and other websites, you’ve probably seen grading scales that appear to be all over the place. Some companies grade with letters, others grade with numbers and some companies don’t post any grades at all. It doesn’t make sense, does it? Well there is a reason.
You’re probably familiar with the four C’s of diamond grading: cut, color, carat weight and clarity. In pearl grading, there are seven value factors. They include size, shape, color, luster, surface quality, nacre quality and matching. But here’s the catch! Unlike diamonds, there is no industry standard for grading pearls.
What does this mean for you? Simple. You cannot comparison shop by grade alone. A pearl necklace graded AAA by one retailer might only be worth 1/10th the value of a necklace graded the same by another. Pearl grading is subjective and every company selling pearls (on the planet) grades differently.
What you can use for comparison shopping is reputation. If shopping online, Google is your best friend in this regard. You can quickly determine whether a pearl seller is known to offer fine quality at an affordable value, and whether they stand behind their products. Legitimate retailers will have a lot written about them online.