Five Grades Of Pearls Used By Chinese Traders


As we known, pearls are formed as a result of a foreign […]

As we known, pearls are formed as a result of a foreign body entering the oyster or mollusc. It protects itself by covering the foreign body (irritant) with cells which then form around the irritant and slowly (layer by layer) cover the foreign body with layers of nacre. This forms the pearl.

Cultured pearls are formed the same way, the big difference being that the “foreign body” (bead nucleus and mantle tissue or just mantle tissue) is deliberately inserted by man into the mollusc. The pearl is then formed in exactly the same way as a natural pearl.

Obviously if you sell different types of cultured pearls it’s good to know some of the differences between them over and above the obvious colour difference!

Pearls are graded according to their characteristics, based on a grid and characteristics as used by mainland Chinese traders. The grades are A, B, C, D, and F. Each grade has unique characteristics. These are the characteristics of each grade:

A – shape, color, and luster are excellent, with no imperfections

B – shape, color, and luster are very good, very minor surface imperfections

C – shape, color, and luster are irregular, surface imperfections

D – Same as C grade, but one or more characteristics extremely bad or irregular

F – For promotional purposes only, not for jewelry use. Most is ground up and used in cosmetics