Pearls are not something that typically feature in your average engagement ring. In saying that, they are popular in many different pieces of jewellery you can buy. However, if you’re wondering why some jewellery is expensive, while others are not, then it can come down to the pearl quality. How do you grade pearls for jewellery, and why are there different grades to begin with?
How Pearls are Made
To understand how to grade pearls for jewellery, it’s worth understanding how they are made in the first place. A mussel, clam, or oyster may find itself in contact with an irritant, such as a parasite, that it wants to get rid of it. It covers it in a liquid known as nacre as a form of defence against that parasite.
It will keep coating that irritant with nacre over time until it forms the pearl. Humans now get involved in the process to keep a steady supply of pearls by inserting irritants into oysters, clams, and mussels, and controlling the whole pearl creation process.
In saying that, some pearls are not pearls at all, but rather, imitation pearls. They tend to be glass balls that the manufacturer coat in a fish scale colouring to make them look like pearls. You can tell the difference between a real and fake pearl by scraping your teeth along them. A fake pearl is gritty, and the coating may even come off. A natural or genuine pearl runs smoothly through your teeth.