Pearl Grading Class at Gemological Institute of America in New York
So I am in NYC again first thing after New Year to take pearl grading lab class at the GIA. GIA developed and introduced the GIA Pearl Description System in 1998. Every pearl’s value is determined by 7 value factors. They are size, shape, color, luster, surface quality, nacre quality and matching. At the beginning of the class, every student was given a few short strands of pearls of various qualities.
Depending on the pearl type, one value factor might contribute more to a pearl’s value than another and some value factors are easier to assess than others. In this picture I am starting to assess each strand more closely under the light.
Pearl grading color reference charts. Pearls come in a variety of natural colors. The most common are white, gray, black and silver, cream and brown.
Many factors influence the popularity of different pearl colors at different times. Some pearl colors complement certain skin tones better than others. Culture, fashion trends, and advertising can also affect pearl color choices. In the late 1990s, Chinese freshwater cultured pearls with unusual colors were very popular.
When movie star Elizabeth Taylor launched Black Pearls perfume in 1996, Tahitian cultured pearl sales go a big boost. French Polynesia and the Cook Islands produce Tahitian cultured pearls. Well-matched strands of large, lustrous Tahitian cultured pearls with their unusual colors command high prices.
Cultured pearls are grown around the world in saltwater and freshwater mollusks
With all the cultured pearl types available, there’s an affordable type and quality for almost everyone.