I had to dig deep to come up with these seriously flawed pearls. I usually through away any rogue pearls with problems, but these were stashed in some long forgotten bin. Thank heavens. These are ugly.
Describing the surface quality of a pearl comes in terms of “flaws”. Most of the synonyms for flaws are: blemish, imperfection, irregularity, spot, surface characteristic, and surface mark or marking. But, which blemishes are acceptable and which are not?
These blemishes are not acceptable:
Cracks through the pearls surface. It is thin nacre that cracks, not thick. Thin nacre is the result of not spending enough time growing the pearl’s nacre.
Missing nacre. The pearl farmer has not taken care to grow the pearl with care and time. These are pearls that should not have even reached the market.
Discoloration throughout the pearl. It’s just not pretty.
Blemishes that cover the majority of the surface of the pearl.
It is normal for pearls to have some surface irregularity that gives them character and authenticity.
GIA, Gemological Institute of America, has established a 4 level system for grading pearls surface.
Clean-Pearls are blemish free or contain minute surface characteristics that are very difficult to see by the human eye.
Lightly Blemished-Pearls show minor surface irregularities when examined by a trained observer.
Moderately Blemished-Pearls show noticeable surface characteristics.
Heavily Blemished-Pearls show obvious surface irregularities that might affect durability.
Now you know.