akoya pearl in a ring - appraising pearls
akoya pearl in a ring - appraising pearls

Appraising Pearls: How to Grade Pearls


Novice gemologists and jewelers may find appraising pearls difficult. Our guide will show you how to appraise and grade different types of cultured pearls.

15 Minute Read

Tools for Appraising Pearls

Before you start, make sure you have everything you'll need.

First, make sure you have a clean, well-lit area and a white background on which you can place the pearls. A piece of paper or white paper towel will work. If you’re new to pearl grading, a piece of paper with text on it may help you determine the quality of the pearl’s luster.

A jeweler’s loupe can help you identify potential treatments and surface characteristics. You'll also need calipers to measure the pearl's size accurately.

Finally, a master set for each pearl type can be useful for quickly comparing different pearls. Master sets are especially important for a business that markets pearls based on an in-house grading system, because they can ensure consistent pearl grades.

Factors to Consider When Appraising Pearls

You'll need to consider the pearl’s size, luster, shape, color, and surface. For strands, you’ll also need to assess how well the pearls match. After describing these properties, see how they compare with the quality range of the appropriate type of cultured pearl and arrive at a price.

A Note on Appraising Natural Pearls

The vast majority of pearls on the market today are...


Addison Rice

A geologist, environmental engineer and Caltech graduate, Addison’s interest in the mesmerizing and beautiful results of earth’s geological processes began in her elementary school’s environmental club. When she isn’t writing about gems and minerals, Addison spends winters studying ancient climates in Iceland and summers hiking the Colorado Rockies.

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