These factors directly affect the pearl's beauty and their value. Understanding them will help you recognize the quality, rarity, and beauty of your pearls.
The pearl size depends on the size and health of the mollusk where it grew, the size of the nucleus that caused it to grow, and the length of time the pearl was allowed to grow in the mollusk, as well as a few other factors.
Spherical pearls (round to near round) can range from 2mm to 20mm in diameter. The larger pearl is typically more valuable because it is more rare. Fine quality pearls can be small, and low quality pearls can be large, so the worth of the pearl depends on how it combines with the other 6 value factors.
There are three major shape categories, and they are divided into seven recognizable shapes.
Round -- Appears round to the eye.
Near round -- Appears almost round to the eye. May be slightly out-of-round, elongated, or flattened
Oval -- Symmetrical, rounded oblong shape
Button -- Symmetrical, flattened or slightly flattened circular shape
Drop -- Symmetrical, rounded pear shape
Semi-baroque -- Non-symmetrical, off-round, slightly irregular oval, button, or drop.
Baroque -- Non-symmetrical shape with irregular appearance
Other shapes are described as they appear, such as "coin", "cross", "bar", "diamond", etc.
If grooves extend around all around the pearl it is described as a "circled" pearl.
The Round pearl is usually the most valuable shape, and that is partly because of its rarity. A well shaped symmetrical pearl will be more valuable than the non-symmetrical. However, the other six value factors also must be considered for the total beauty and value of the pearl.
There are three main characteristics of pearl color:
* Bodycolor -- The overall color of the pearl
Overtone -- Translucent colors appearing over the pearl's bodycolor.
Orient -- This is iridescent, rainbow like colors just below a pearl's surface.
Not all cultured pearls have overtone or orient.
Cultured pearls display a broad range of colors, which are of subtle hues. They do not have bright hues like a red ruby. The pearl colors tend to be more muted.
In the past, the colors for a certain species were usually in a narrow range. Today different types of pearls can display similar colors.
Color and Value
If a color is rare for a species, and if it appeals to consumers then that color will command a higher price.
The presence of overtone always increases the appeal of a pearl and will add value.
Orient is more common in baroque pearls than in spherical pearls, and will usually add to the value.
As usual, the color is also interdependent on the other six value factors.
Luster is the most important of all the value factors to the beauty, and value, of a pearl. Luster is where the magic of the pearl lies.
Luster is caused by light traveling down through the translucent of nacre, and reflecting back to the eye. It appears as if there is an inner glow from the core of the pearl.
There are four categories of luster:
* Excellent - The reflections are bright, sharp, and distinct.
* Good - The reflections are bright but not sharp, and they may be slightly hazy around the edges.
* Fair - The reflections are weak, hazy, and blurred
* Poor - The reflections are dim and diffused.
Akoya pearls tend to display a bright, mirror-like gloss, while others feature a softer, satiny luster, which has its own appeal.
The Tahitian pearl has almost a metallic sheen, while the SouthSea pearls have more of a soft satiny luster.
The other six factors have to be included along with luster to grade the whole pearl; but luster remains the most important factor.
Cultured pearls are organic; they are grown by nature inside a mollusk, so it's natural for them to show surface characteristics that vary with the distribution of the secreted nacre. All pearls will have some of these characteristics, called blemishes, and some of the blemishes will add to the beauty of the pearl.
A clean pearl, absolutely without blemishes is extremely rare, and would be very expensive.
Below are some of the types of blemishes:
* Abrasion - Scratches on the pearl surface
* Bump - An irregular bulge, blister or welt, usually small
* Chip - An opening or cavity in the pearl surface.
* Crack - Surface-reaching break or fracture of the nacre, or of the nucleus.
* Flat - A flat section, usually too small to affect the shape
* Gap - Where the nacre is not covering the nucleus.
* Pit - Indentation or depression.
* Scratch - Thin groove or depression on the surface.
* Spot - A darker, or lighter area
* Wrinkle - Irregular ridge or crease on the pearl surface.
The surface characteristics are divided into four classifications.
Clean - Blemish free, or with very small blemishes that are not easy to see.
* Lightly Blemished - Show minor surface irregularities
Moderately Blemished - Show noticeable surface characteristics.
Heavily Blemished - Pearls show obvious irregularities.
Clean pearls are rare, and a very clean pearl can cost a fortune because of the rarity. Some of the other 6 value factors can minimize the effect of surface characteristics. So remember to utilize all seven factors.
Nacre's relationship to luster makes nacre a crucial value factor. Most of the time a pearl with thick luster will be more lustrous.
Nacre quality is classified in three ways:
Acceptable - Nucleus not noticeable through the pearl. No chalky appearance.
Nucleus Visible - Pearl shows evidence of bead nucleus through the nacre. Since Freshwater pearls are mostly all nacre and SouthSea and Tahiti pearls have thicker nacre, this applies mostly to the Akoya pearl.
Chalky Appearance - Pearl has a dull, whitish appearance.
Thin nacre has a negative effect on a pearl's value. Chalky, or dull pearls lack the gleam that is the hallmark of this cherished gem. However, for a first set of pearls for a 16 year old, or for someone on a tight budget, a string of pearls with a few chalky ones should certainly be considered.
Matching applies to how well a string of pearls are matched in the other value factors. Since no two pearls are exactly alike, that is a very difficult job which requires an enormous amount of skill. There will usually be some that are slightly larger, slightly less round, or with a few more blemishes. The sizes of pearls in a strand are usually matched within 0.5mm. The sizes of strands are usually quoted by dealers as 6.0 to 6.5mm, or 7.5 to 8.0 mm.
You'll find the smaller matching pearls near the clasp, and if there are any that have a few more blemishes, they will be there also, where they will not affect the overall beauty of the pearl strand.
The way in which these pearls harmonize to create a balanced effect in the strand is what is important.
Lot of 10 AVON Shimmering Body Powder NEW ALL SCENTS *Mix or Match $55 valueAntique 14K gold ring with a natural pearl and accent diamonds Retail value $939
Buy It Now
Buy It Now