Pearls are one of the oldest used gem by man. Natural pearls are found in the body of mollusk which are formed by the layer upon layer secretion of nacre (a secrete from the mollusk) as a defensive mechanism towards foreign object such as sand which get into it’s body.
Grading Of Pearls
Pearls are appraised by their shape, surface smoothness, translucence, delicate play of surface called ‘orient’ and the light reflective quality termed as ‘lustre’. Pearls come in shapes like round, oval, pear-shaped and even irregular. The most valued pearls are usually the perfect shaped pearls such as spherical or drop like. Lustre also influences the value of the pearl, deeper the lustre of the pearl, greater is its value.Quality of nacre is what gives high lustre to the pearl and will be evident to the naked eye as a shiny pearl.
There isn’t an industry accepted grading system for pearls. Pearl grading system varies from place to place. Various grading standards for pearls exist around the globe like Japanese Grading (Mikimoto Grading), Chinese Grading System and Kyllonen Grading System etc., unfortunately there is no universally accepted standard. However, for Tahitian pearls, export and grading is controlled by the French Polynesian government. The variables to compare the quality of a pearl are basically the same in all grading systems but the terminologies varies.