The Confusion of Pearl Grading- Akoya Pearls
Learn more about pearl grading so you can make a more informed decision in your pearl purchases.
#1 MOST IMPORTANT- There is no way to compare grades from one company to another. All grading systems are subjective and all are devised by each company themselves. There is just no standardized or universal grading system.
These are some of the standards that I use for grading my saltwater Akoya Pearls. Akoya Pearls are grown in saltwater and different qualities than Freshwater and come with their own grading system (or should).
The highest grade of Akoya Pearls is Hanadama. Like Freshwater, there are a range of levels of Hanadama. But each Hanadama-grade strand of Akoya Pearls must be accompanied by an individual, numbered certificate from the Pearl Science Laboratory of Japan to be sold as "Hanadama grade." These pearls would have a surface of no blemishes and perfectly round. Luster would be very strong with a mirror like reflection.
AAA Akoya Pearls would have a surface free from blemishes for 98-100% and round with strong luster. Nacre is very thick.
AA+ Akoya Pearls have a surface that is 95-100% free of blemishes, perfectly round and good to strong luster. Nacre is very thick.
AA Akoya Pearls have 80-100% surface that is free of blemishes with a round shape and luster of good to medium. Nacre is of a medium thickness.
A Akoya Pearls have a 70-80% surface free of blemishes with a shape that is near round and a chalky lack of luster. Pearls only have a reflection of good to medium and the nacre is thin.