most important factors taken into consideration
when valuing cultured pearls are lustre,
colour, shape, surface and size.
most important indication of a pearl's
quality is lustre. The lustre of a pearl
refers to the glowing appearance of
its surface, and is judged by it brilliance
and ability to reflect light. A pearl
with a high lustre will be very shiny
and show reflections like a mirror while
a pearl with poor lustre will appear
very milky or chalky.
is determined by the quality of a pearl's
nacre-its transparency, smoothness and
overall thickness. Factors affecting
the quality of the nacre include the
cultivation place, the health of the
mother oyster, the length of time spent
in the oyster, pollution and the type
of oyster used. Only strong layers of
nacre can produce deep lustre.
is better not to compromise on lustre
as this feature cannot be hidden or
enhanced by its jewellery mount.
Pearls present a whole palette of colours
to choose from. Light coloured pearls
are produced in shades of white, pink,
silver, gold and blue, while dark coloured
pearls range from peacock green and
aubergine purple to all the shades of
all, a pearl's colour is a question
of personal taste. Although some shades
are especially rare or popular and therefore
highly valued, such as rosy white, silvery
white and pale gold, the colour of a
pearl is certainly not an indication
of its quality.
The shape of a pearl plays a major role
in determining its value. Pearls can
be divided into four basic groups of
shape. These are in order of value:
Slightly round or ovalish
round. Some examples are
pear, drop, egg and button
irregular in shape with
a surface that is often
very uneven, occasionally
resembling teeth, cacti,
tadpoles and mushrooms
history, the round pearl has been considered
the most valuable and popular shape.
However, most of the world's most famous
and valuable pearls are often not symmetrical
in shape, and that is because the other
grading factors are also important.
Shape is a good category to compromise
on if you need to cut down on price.
Actually, baroque and circled pearls
can make for very interesting jewellery
The fewer the spots or blemishes a pearl
has, the higher its value. But again
flaws can also be positive features.
They may serve as identifying marks
that a pearl is yours and not somebody
else's, and help prove that it is real
and not imitation.
can also lower the price of a pearl
without necessarily affecting its overall
The size of a pearl is expressed in
terms of its diameter, which is measured
in millimetres. Size has a significant
impact on price. One millimetre's difference
has been known to raise a price by between
100 and 200 per cent.