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Pearl Education

How to Pick A Perfect Pearl

From pearl grading, pearl pricing, and pearl sizing learn all the important tips for buying your next piece of pearl jewelry from the experts at IGI.

(Information courtesy of IGI)

Why are some pearl strands ten times the price of others, yet look almost identical? Can you truly tell the difference between one strand and another? And, how do you know the pearls you've just fallen in love are not just beautiful, but also value for money?

The International Gemological Institute (IGI) has been grading cultured pearls for years. In fact this year celebrates the 15-year anniversary of the Institute's Cultured Pearl Grading Report.

The IGI Cultured Pearl Grading report is a document listing all pertinent factors relating to a pearl's quality. By having such a report, pearl buyers can be assured that when they buy a beautiful strand of pearls, they know exactly what they've bought and are getting value for money.

Simply put, if you go into a store to buy a striking strand of pearls, you want to ensure the quality and value of your selection before shelling out the cash.

The report gives a description of any pearls contained in the article of jewelry, including a component breakdown of: identification of pearl variety, size, shape, weight, body color and overtone, luster, surface quality, nacre thickness, matching, treatment (if applicable) and growth environment. The authenticity, content and weight of any precious metals are also stated. To further identify the item, an enlarged color photograph is provided.

It also helps in understanding why some strands are so much expensive than others. By comparing reports, you can see the differences in the gem's characteristics and decide just what you're willing to pay for and why.

A report also helps understand the pricing of pearls. Ask most people if a pearl is value for money and they'll have no idea. A report not only takes into account the perfection of the piece, it also provides a frame of reference relating to the continuously changing market values and prevailing buying and selling prices of cultured pearls.

So next time you step up to snap up a strand - see what its report card says. After all, no two oysters are the same.

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