Introduction 

Up to date, the cultured pearl industry still has not decided on international valuation standards, therefore, most of the time, jewelers and other jewelry specialists have to refer to their own methods of evaluation. This is the reason why we have chosen to refer toboth the classification system of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) - a renowned American institute consisting of the most famous experts in gemology worldwide - and the A B C D Classification Method used by the French Polynesia’s Cultured Pearl Service.

GIA AAA-A Grading System

With this system, each pearl is estimated according to several criteria based on shape, luster, surface… It is then classified into one of the following three categories: AAA, AA and A; the best of them being AAA. 

AAA Category includes high quality, perfectly spherical pearls, whose surface is at least 95% defect free with extremely high levels of luster and mirror-like shine.

AA Category includes almost perfectly spherical pearls, whose surface is at least 75% defect free still with extremely high levels of luster. 

A Category - the lowest classification for the gems - includes pearls with lower luster and/or more than 25% of the surface showing defects.

The ABCD System of the French Polynesia’s Cultured Pearl Service

A is assigned to pearls with slight imperfections over less than 10% of their surface. The luster of these pearls is very good.

B is assigned to pearls with slight imperfections over less than 30% of their surface. The luster of these pearls is good.

C is assigned to pearls with slight imperfections over more than 60% of their surface. The luster of these pearls is good or fair. 

D is assigned to pearls with slight imperfections over more than 60% of their surface, but no deep defects, or to pearls with slight and deep imperfections simultaneously over more than 60% of their surface. The luster of these pearls is poor.Table covering both grading systems.

Table covering both grading systems

Pearl Type

GIA

French Polynesia

Pearl of very high quality

AAA

A

Pearl of good quality, whose surface shows, however, slight imperfections

AA

B

Pearl of average quality, whose surface shows imperfections

A

C

Pearl of poor quality, whose surface shows many imperfections

B

D

 

In short

Under the laws in force in French Polynesia, Tahitian pearls must imperatively undergo rigorous radiographic examination to accurately measure the thickness of their nacre. This controls, made before export, determine the classification and ensure the quality of each gem.

As experts in the field, we have decided to only offer Tahitian pearls of AAA Quality and in order to satisfy our customers, we put our expertise at your disposal to help you choose your piece of jewelry.


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