Pearls are available in different size, shape and colour. When a buyer wants to buy pearls he wants to know if there is any grading system available for grading pearls like diamond grading. The truth is that there is no standardised grading system for grading pearls. However, Akoya pearls can be graded using GIA grading system.
GIA grading system was developed by the Gemological institute of America. This system grades pearls based on a few characteristic features like surface, lustre, nacre and shape etc. What are the grades given?
This grade includes low quality Akoya pearls. This represents 50% of the pearl harvest. If the lustre is of poor quality and if the surface is blemished with 50% or lesser clean surface and if the nacre is thin it is classified under ‘A’ grade. The shape of ‘A’ grade pearls is usually round or semi round.
This denotes the pearls of medium quality. It represents 60% of the harvest. Most of the pearls sold in department stores and jewellery stores fall under this category. Pearls with medium quality lustre, medium nacre and with medium blemishing of 70% clean surface are graded with ‘AA’. The shape of these pearls is round.
This includes high grade Akoya pearls. This grade represents 5 to 10% of pearl harvest. They are sold in selected jewellery stores. Pearls with high lustre, with thick nacre and with minor blemishing of 90% clean surface are graded as ‘AA+’. The shape is perfectly round.
Very high grade Akoya pearls with very minor or no blemishing, with very high lustre, very thick nacre are grades as ‘AAA’. They represent 1 to 5% of pearl harvest.
They are GEM quality pearls representing just 1% of pearl harvest. There are no visible blemishes. The lustre is superior. The nacre is very thick. The shape is perfectly round.
Now that you have an idea on Akoya pearl grading system, you will be able to decide if the seller has fixed a reasonable price.