Pearl Grading

Pearl grading is a very subjective art as there is no definitive system that is generally accepted by all. Our employees are educated by the Gem Institute of America on how to grade pearls and we stick to the most popular grading system. The best quality pearls are rated AAAA downward to A. Just because a pearl has an A grade does not mean that it was the worst peal s of the harvest, actually far from it, only 20% of pearls ever harvested are good enough to meet are A standard. We make sure that all pearls meet a general quality standard to make sure we exceed the quality of our competition. We have some pearls that are so close to be the next grade, but we want to be far above everybody else, so we will give them an A+ instead of a AA rating.

The rating is based on three factors

1.)Shape- How round are the pearls and how uniformly sized are they. Of course this does not apply to all pearls, especially baroque styles.

A slightly off round and irregular

AA Round appearance, still slightly off round to a close examination

AAA of a spherical shape

AAAA near perfect spherical shape

Baroqe- Irregular shape, usually larger

Drop- tear drop shape

Button- Have a flat side, great for stud earrings as the flat side is where the post is attached

2.)Luster- This is how shiny or how much reflection the pearls have. One of the most important quality as everybody wants a strand of pearls that really shines.

A the pearls have a light slightly fuzzy reflection to them

AA good clear reflection

AAA Shary and very clear reflection

3.)Surface Quality- this is how smooth and unblemished the surface of the pearls are. Are there scratches or other imperfections in the surface?

A 80% of the pearl surface is clean, but there are imperfections

AA 88% of the pearl surface is clean, with a close look you can still identify imperfections

AAA 95% of the pearl surface is clean, imperfections are hard to see with human eye

AAAA 99%+ of the surface is clean, need a microscope to point out imperfections.

The rating is based off the lowest grade of the three categories: I.E.Even if a strand of pearls was to have an AAAA rating in both shape and luster and a AA rating in surface quality, the strand would only be a AA rating.

Care for your Pearls

When caring for pearls one should remember that Pearls do require special care. When you are not wearing your pearls they should be kept apart from your other jewelry, as pearls can be damaged overtime by rubbing on other materials. Its best to keep your pearls in a separate cloth pouch (included with every Avalon Pearl order) or jewelry box that only holds the pearl piece of jewelry.

Cosmetics have fragrance in them that will cause your pearls to be damaged. So be sure to put your cosmetics, such a perfume, hairspray and other lotions, at least 30 minutes before putting on your pearl jewelry. This will help keep your pearls luster longer.  Remember, always make your pearls the last thing you put on.

Storing your pearls, it’s important to keep them out of a dry environment, such as a safe.

With the delicate nature of pearls here, cleaning is important

  • Wipe your pearls off with a clean damp cloth after each time you wear them
  • Use only jewelry cleaner that is specific for pearls
  • Never use any electronic jewelry cleaner such as an ultrasonic cleaner
  • Do not use any cleaning solution such as dish soap, toothpaste or harsh chemicals such as ammonia or bleach (especially vinegar)

If you wear your pearls frequently, they should be restrung each year, if you need help with this, please contact our customer service ( and we can help.