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Pearl Quality Guide: The Pearls.com Pearl Quality Commitment

Pearls.com is committed to selling only accurately-graded, true gem-quality pearls. Here's what that means:

While many factors affect pearl quality, two of the most vital are luster and surface quality. Roundness is also a key factor.

Pearl Luster

  • Pearls of AAA quality have mirror-like luster with metallic sheen. They exhibit a 'depth' to their luster (often called 'orient') that makes them seem as if you are looking deep into the pearl. 
  • Pearls of AA quality have very good luster with a near-metallic/mirror-like effect. Though slightly less reflective and deep than AAA, they are still stunningly beautiful and shiny
  • Pearls of A quality have good luster without variation or 'chalky' areas. They are highly reflective and exhibit "depth."
  • Pearls below A quality level will have "milky" or "chalky" area and uneven luster.

Pearl Surface

  • AAA quality pearls have virtually no surface blemishes and exhibit a very thick, even coat of nacre. Any blemishes that do exist will be tiny and barely noticeable, if noticeable at all, to the untrained eye.
  • AA quality pearls have very slight surface blemishes with a very thick, even coat of nacre. Very small dimples or spots that are difficult to notice without very close examination
  • A quality pearls have some surface blemishes, but most of the surface is clean and exhibits thick, even nacre. The blemishes that exist will not create any chips or breaks in the surface, nor be noticeable at conversation-distance.
  • Pearls below A quality have blemishes that are noticeable at any distance. ANY break in the "nacre" surface is sub-A quality no matter how nice the remaining surface may be.

Pearl Roundness

  • AAA quality pearls will be perfectly round
  • AA quality pearls may be ever-so-slightly off-round, but difficult to detect to the untrained eye.
  • A quality pearls may be near-round to the trained eye or upon up-close examination, but will typically appear totally round from conversation-distance
  • Pearls below A quality are off-round in shape, at a level to be noticeable at 'handshake" distance.
  • Note that for pearls presented as button, baroque, fireball, or other 'fancy' shape, roundness is not part of the quality grading: In that case the quality rating would refer to the luster and surface of the pearl, not the roundness. 

PLEASE NOTE: Pearls.com does consider pearls below our "A" quality rating to be jewelry-grade pearls, and we do not sell them.