PEARL GRADING

Seven Value Factors We Value

At BeadifulBABY we are pearl
experts and pearl enthusiasts.

We have an onsite GIA Pearls Graduate who selects all of the beautiful pearls we use in your Grow-With-Me® pearl jewelry. These pearls are some of the finest pearls in the world.

Our GIA pearls expert uses the world-renowned and highly respected GIA Pearl Description System also known as the GIA 7 Pearl Value Factors™ standards to select only the very best and finest pearls for your exquisite Grow-With-Me® pearl bracelets and necklaces. These seven value factors are: size, shape, color, luster, surface quality, nacre quality, and matching.

Did You Know?

Grace Kelly, a well know America actress of the 1950's, had her wedding dress adorned with hundreds of beautiful pearls.

Size

VALUE FACTOR ONE: SIZE

Pearl size matters both for value and for esthetic reasons. Freshwater and akoya cultured pearls come in a variety of sizes all measured in millimeters (mm), with each measurement rounded to the nearest 0.5mm. A cultured pearl’s size can depend on several factors: the mollusk variety, the length of time the mollusk spent creating the pearl, and the size of the implanted nucleus.

A fine cultured pearl’s value increases exponentially if the size is larger than average for its pearl type. For example, the average size of an akoya cultured pearl is between 6mm – 7.5mm. Sizes larger than 7.5mm are not common. Since an 8mm akoya cultured pearl is not produced as often – meaning it is a rare gem – it is exponentially more expensive and more valuable than a 7.5mm akoya cultured pearl (all other value factors being equal). Supply is a large factor in setting a value for and in pricing a fine gem. Demand increases as the rarity of a fine gem increases.

Freshwater
Cultured Pearls

The freshwater mussel (i.e. the Hyriopsis cumingil) produces cultured pearls in sizes comparable to akoya cultured pearls.

Size Range

2mm  –  13mm

Most Common Size

5mm  –  6mm

Very Rare, Prized Sizes

11mm  –  13mm

Akoya
Cultured Pearls

The akoya oyster (i.e. the Pinctada fucata) smaller then other cultured pearl mollusks measures about three to five inches in diameter and typically does not produce a cultured pearl larger than 9mm.

Size Range

2mm  –  13mm

Most Common Size

6mm  – 7mm

Very Rare, Prized Sizes

10mm  –  11mm

Shape

VALUE FACTOR TWO: SHAPE

The round pearl shape is the most-preferred and the most-valuable pearl shape. Less than 2% of freshwater cultured pearls produced are round, while over 70% of akoya cultured pearls produced are round. The round pearl shape is the most-preferred and the most-valuable pearl shape. Less than 2% of freshwater cultured pearls produced are round, while over 70% of akoya cultured pearls produced are round.   

The shape of the cultured pearl formed by the mussel depends on two factors: the shape of the irritant, and/or the physical movement of the mussel. If the mussel moves around a lot during the pearl growth process an irregular-shaped pearl can form. 

The GIA teaches a pearl is round if the pearl appears round to the eye. There are no mathematical calculations to be determined and no complicated measuring techniques required – bottom-line if the pearl appears round to the eye – it’s considered round. The near-round pearl shape appears almost round to the eye. Both the round and near-round shapes are considered spherical.

Color

VALUE FACTOR THREE: COLOR

Bodycolor, overtone, hue, tone, saturation, and orient are terms used to describe a pearl’s color. Defining or labeling a pearl’s color can be difficult at times given the various bodycolors ranging from neutrals, near neutrals, to hues. The GIA has defined 19 different hues all with different degrees of tone and saturation. Tone refers to how light or dark a hue is on a grid with multiple points. Saturation refers to how weak or strong or how intense a hue is.

To describe a pearl’s color you first start with defining the pearl’s dominant color – also called the bodycolor – say white or mauve for example. Then you look for the tint or secondary color referred to as the overtone. A common overtone of white pearls is rose’ (pronounced ro ZAY.) Some pearls however have no overtone. Non-white pearls also referred to as fancy-colored pearls (or hues) have many degrees of color which is defined by the tone or saturation of the color.

The different colors arise from a variety of factors including genetics, the location of the deposited irritant, and the water quality. The water chemistry (affected by the elements present in the water such as copper, silver, zinc) in which the mussel lives determine the color of the conchiolin and it is the conchiolin present in the nacre that determine the color of the conchiolin and it is the conchiolin present in the nacre that determines the color of the pearl. In summary defining the color of a pearl is a complicated process – and matching pearls of similar bodycolors, overtones, hues, tones, and saturation can be an even more difficult process.

Luster

VALUE FACTOR FOUR: LUSTER

The tiny calcium carbonate crystals that make up nacre determine the luster of a pearl. The shine or reflective quality of a pearl is defined as its luster. One way of determining the degree of luster is by the pearl’s mirror-like quality. How well you can see your reflection in a pearl determines the degree of luster a pearl has. The higher the shine of the pearl, the greater its value. According to the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA’s) pearl grading system, a pearl’s luster can be low, medium, high or very high. The luster and the thickness of the nacre are directly related. The more nacre a pearl has the higher the luster. So larger pearls tend to have more luster than smaller pearls because of their greater nacre content.

Surface Quality

VALUE FACTOR FIVE: SURFACE QUALITY

The surface quality of a pearl is one factor in determining its value. During the nacre laying process sometimes spots and bubbles will appear because the nacre does not always adhere smoothly. Most pearls have some surface imperfections or inclusions, such as bumps, scratches, spots, or minor color variations. The cleaner the surface of the pearl the more valuable the pearl. Given that pearls are organic even the most valuable pearls might have some small inclusions.

Nacre Quality

VALUE FACTOR SIX: NACRE QUALITY

Freshwater cultured pearls are formed by the secretion of a crystalline substance known as nacre (pronounced nay-ker) around an irritant in a mussel. The mussel coats the irritant with layer upon layer of calcium carbonate crystals called nacre in a concentric fashion until a pearl is formed. Freshwater cultured pearls are generally one hundred percent nacre. The thicker the nacre the greater the luster, the longer the pearl will last without showing wear, and thus the more valuable the pearl becomes.

Matching

VALUE FACTOR SEVEN: MATCHING

The GIA defines excellent matching as pearls having a similar appearance and drilled on center. All seven value factors must be considered in determining a finished jewelry item’s value. A perfect set of cultured pearls will have a price tag which reflects its perfection – often in the unattainable range. The gorgeous cultured pearls we use on our Grow-With-Me® cultured pearl bracelets and necklaces often exceeds the cultured pearl jewelry found in most well-known independent jewelry stores – and with a price tag well below these stores offerings. We pride ourselves as being a guild store – selling high-end cultured pearl jewelry for children with customization options you would be hard-pressed to find any where else.

      

Did You Know?

It Was Once Thought That Pearls Were Water Droplets From Heaven.

We know your Grow-With-Me pearl gift is important to you so we take the time to create a gift you’d be proud to give. We welcome you to compare your Grow-With-Me cultured pearl jewelry with pearl jewelry from other jewelry retailers. We know the cultured pearls we use in our Grow-With-Me jewelry lines rate high above the rest and at a price you’ll love.