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Pearl Education - Please enter your jewelry question or comment. > Japanese Akoya Cultured Pearls


  #1
pearleducation
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Pearl Color and Grading Lights
05-07-2006, 11:12 AM


White Bodycolor pearls (with your choice of silver or rose overtones) are the most valuable bodycolor pearls in the marketplace compared to their light cream counterparts. Many consumers unknowingly purchase a strand with a slightly light cream or yellowish bodycolor to the pearl which are worth considerably less. In fact, according to the the Gemological Institute of America, pearls with a light cream bodycolor are worth 40% less than pearls with a white bodycolor. So examine the pearls you are considering very carefully. Are they creamy? Yellowish? Or are they white?

When examining a strand of pearls, it is advised that you do so under a controlled setting for grading pearls. The Gemoligcal Institute of America, through their coursework and literature, recommends that you always examine your pearls under a fluorescent light against an either white or grey background. A glass surface is the least effective area on which to examine pearls as the bodycolor of the pearls in question is difficult to detect. Personally, I know that when I sell pearls to Tiffany & Co., it is my experience that they always use a fluorescent lamp for grading This setting creates a neutral environment where the nuances in bodycolor—from white to light cream—can be identified. Because a pearl's surface is so reflective, one must consider very carefully the light source used to examine and grade pearls.

One should be particularly skeptical of an incandescent light source used for the grading of pearls. Incandescent light, by its very nature, shows a fuller distribution of color from the color spectrum. When used in the grading of pearls, one may be associating attributes to the reflective qualities of the pearl's surface that are in actuality originating from the light source. This PEARL MIRAGE (that is a term I like to use) does not take place under fluorescent lights.

The most valuable lesson to be learned here is that upon the examination of pearls, make sure you are grading the pearls, not the light source. The quality and awe of a fine quality pearl seen under a fluorescent lamp will be obvious. Because pearls have hundreds of concentric layers of skin (what we call nacre) that are translucent, reflecting light as well as allowing light to pass through each layer, a "play-of-light" is achieved on the surface of a pearl which gives PEARLS the very qualities for which people have marveled in awe over them.

It is for this reason that pearls with bodycolors of white are featured at American Pearl, Tiffany & Co. and Mikimoto. They are the most valuable in the world.

Last edited by pearleducation; 05-07-2006 at 11:15 AM. Reason: Add a picture
 
 
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  #2
scooby
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06-13-2006, 05:57 PM


I felt the need to point out to those of you not educated on the intricacies of Pearls that this original posting with the statement "White Bodycolor pearls (with your choice of silver or rose overtones) are the most valuable bodycolor pearls in the marketplace compared to their light cream counterparts." relates only to Akoya Cultured Pearls and is not correct for all cultured pearls.

For instance, black tahitian cultured pearls with peacock overtones are the most valuable and desirable in their category and the most valuable and desirable south sea pearls are those that exhibit rich golden body colors.
 
 
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