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Tahitian Pearl Quality
Grading Tahitian Pearls

Consumers often ask us about grading wholesale Tahitian pearls and Tahitian pearl necklaces. Why are we writing this essay about the grading of Tahitian pearls you might ask? A consumer trying to educate themselves in the grading of Tahitian pearls may become confused to find different grading systems used by different companies. It's important to learn how to identify quality in pearls as this is a necessary step in the process to link pearl quality to market value.

A, A+, AA, AAA

As you know, Mikimoto popularized the A, A+, AA and AAA grading system used in their stores for the retail trade. This grading system was primarily created to show the differences in luster and surface quality for Japanese Akoya saltwater cultured pearls. Today, Mikimoto uses this grading system to grade their Tahitian pearls as well. You can learn more about this grading system here:

Mikimoto Pearl Grading System

TIFFANY & CO. - ONE GRADE

It is also interesting to note that Tiffany & Co. has only one grade for all of their pearls (whether they originate from Japan, Tahiti, Australia or elsewhere). They claim that their grade is the best.

American Pearl does sell Tahitian pearls to Tiffany & Co., and I can attest to their excellent quality. All of their pearls are are round, clean and exhibiting excellent luster. Tiffany usually features black Tahitian pearls with a black green color in their center showcase.

A, B, C, D - PERLES DE TAHITI

American Pearl has often stated that when pearl dealers trade Tahitian pearls, they use the A, B, C and D nomenclature to grade Tahitian pearls for the wholesale trade. This is a grading system that is supported by THE GOVERNMENT OF FRENCH POLYNESIA through a department called TAHITIAN PEARL DEPARTMENT. In addition, the government of French Polynesia works closely with an organization called PEARLS DE TAHITI. You can learn more about PERLES DE TAHITI by clicking the following link:

Pearls De Tahiti

Tahitian Pearls, their varying shapes and how shape affects value



You can learn about the shape of Tahitian pearls from examining the shape chart below. The round, perfect spheres are the most valuable pearls in the world.





Learn the full range of colors available in Tahitian pearls



You can learn about the colors of Tahitian pearls by viewing the color chart below. Although color affects value, it does not affect quality. Peacock color is the most valuable Tahitian pearl color as buyers and sellers are willing to pay a premium for this.





Learn the full range of Sizes in Tahitian Pearls



Below is a size chart for Tahitian pearls which shows the ranges of size that the oyster produces.





Grading the Surfaces of Tahitian Pearls



You can view the range of quality available for Tahitian pearls by viewing the grading chart below. Although there are different grading systems for Tahitian pearls, below is an example of one of the grading systems that pearl farmers use to sell their pearls. 'A Quality' is a round clean pearl exhibiting good luster that has surface marks confined to less than 10% of the pearls surface. 'B Quality' is a round lustrous pearl exhibiting surface markings confined to greater than 10% but less than 1/3rd of the pearl's surface. 'c Quality' is a round pearl with surface markings greater than 1/3rd of the pearls surface but confined to less than 2/3rds of the pearl's surface. 'D Quality' is a pearl that is round with surface markings greater than two-thirds of the pearl's surface.





Tahitian Pearl Products

You can learn more about the grading system and Buyer's Guide supported by the government of French Polynesia here:

Pearls De Tahiti Buyer's Guide

If you are reading material that talks about the A, B, C and D nomenclature it probably means you are dealing with a wholesaler of pearls where the prices are heavily discounted.

According to this grading system, there is one grade higher than A, B, C and D which is called Top Gem.

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