What Makes Good Pearls Great?

June 11, 2014 by Melissa

One of the biggest discussions when it comes to pearls may not be about the color, or the size of the pearls, but of the quality standards that they are judged by. The question that many ask when picking out a set of pearls for themselves or a loved one is whether you can really tell the difference between a set of low to moderate grade pearls and ones that are near the top of the line.

Photo via Flickr

Looking at two ends of the spectrum

The biggest difference that you will see is when you compare a pearl necklace made of low-grade pearls and a similar necklace made with high-grade pearls. In this situation, you will find the largest visual difference, with the low-grade pearls having almost no shine or luster, two things that are essential to a quality pearl. In fact, when compared side by side, you will see a striking difference that you won’t be able to shake. Even if they aren’t side by side, it’s easy to tell whether a piece of pearl jewelry is high grade or low grade. You may not know why the pearl looks nicer, but there is no question that the higher grade one will get more notice.

While the surface qualities of higher-grade pearls are immediately apparent, it’s really what is inside that counts. Higher-grade pearls importantly feature much thicker nacre than a lower quality pearl, something that will make a huge difference over time. If you are looking for a lower quality pearl necklace that you might wear for a few months or years and then throw out, lower quality pearls won’t disappoint, but when you purchase high quality pearls you are truly making a heirloom quality purchase that you will be able to pass down for generations.

What really makes up the difference between low grade and high-grade pearls, once you get past the luster? When you get higher quality pearls, you dramatically reduce the chance of breakage and other issues, even over a period of decades, so you have a much longer lasting set of pearls. It doesn’t hurt that they will look better every single day that you wear them.