Pearl Quality Grade
A pearl's luster can be strong or weak. It depends on many different factors: cultivating techniques, type of oyster used, health of mother oyster, length of pearl growth period in oyster, little natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons; what is more important is cultivation environment - an ideal native habitat for pearl oysters requires little pollution, low breeding density, calm water conditions, abundant planktons for oysters-breeding, moderate water temperature, soft sandy and rocky sea basin.
Although the definition or description of grades varies slightly from company to company, GIA is used to grade PearlHours' pearls as a general standard. All pearl products on PearlHours.com are above AA grade. Let's take Akoya pearls as example:
A/A+: "A"quality is the lowest quality that is commercially available. They will be off-shape and only moderately matched. The surface will have wrinkles, small cracks, white or brownish spots, dimples and other nasty blemishes that can affect the long-term quality of the pearl.
AA: This quality has less than 15% surface inclusions, and will have fair to good luster. You should see a hazy reflection of yourself when looking at the surface. The shape will be round or with freshwater pearls, near-round and the matching job should be well done.
AA+: The luster will be slightly sharper than the AA pearl. You should be able to see your reflection in the pearl and some background detail. Surface inclusions will be down to 10%. These pearls will be perfectly round in shape and well-matched.
AAA: The 'gem-quality' pearl has less than 5% inclusions over its surface, and can be completely free of inclusions. Luster can vary slightly from pearl to pearl, but it will be sharper than AA+ quality. The nacre will be at its' thickest, and should present a glowing surface that is slightly translucent. The shapes and matching of a strand of rounds should be excellent with little to no variation.
HANADAMA: These pearls radiate light with a strong silvery-rose overtone, and display Orient, rainbow iridescences that shimmer on the pearl's surface are the absolute best Akoya pearls that you can buy.
Other Quality Factors