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July 15, 2022

Pure Pearls Weekly News Updates: LUSTER Lovers ūüíĖ

 

Pure Pearls Weekly Newsletter

 

"The pearl is the queen of gems and the gem of queens." ‚Äď Grace Kelly

See What's Inspiring Pure Pearls This Week

Japanese Akoya Pearl and Diamond Fringe Necklace, Pearls by David Morris

Akoya Pearl and Diamond Fringe Necklace

Pure says: This gorgeous modern work of Art is to die for!

Pearls by David Morris

 

Pearl Science, News and FAQs - Your Questions, Answered!

 

PEARL LUSTER: THE STUFF BEAUTIFUL, VALUABLE PEARLS ARE MADE OF.

What is Pearl Luster?

 

I say it time and time again: LUSTER is what makes or breaks pearls as a gemstone, and is easily its most valuable asset. 

What is Luster? 

Luster is the visual phenomenon that happens when light strikes the surface of the pearl and bounces back towards the viewer, giving you a bright, shiny and reflective pearl surface to admire.

Luster is also what gives pearls the soft glow that appears to come from inside. This occurs because light waves penetrate the surface layers of nacre, travel to the pearl's interior and then bounce back through the layers of crystal to the viewer, imbuing pearls with a gorgeous inner glow.

Each of the different pearl types displays a unique "type" of luster; some are very glossy and shiny, and others have a softer, more satiny glow. Let's look at each quickly and see what distinguishes them in the luster category. 

 

Akoya Pearl Luster

 

Akoya Pearl Luster

Saltwater Akoya pearls (traditionally from Japan) are known throughout the pearl world to have the brightest, most reflective and "glossiest" luster of all pearl types.

Fine quality Akoya pearls (AA+ to Hanadama Quality like the matched pair above) are distinguished by the following characteristics:

  • Highly Reflective:¬†These pearls will be like little mirrors - the sharper the luster, the more detail you'll be able to see reflected in the pearl's surfaces. Hanadama Akoya pearls are the most reflective of all Akoya pearl grades; you should be able to see your face reflected in the pearl's surfaces including details like your eyes and teeth in your smile!
  • Glossy Appearance:¬†The best qualities of Akoya pearls will feature luster that is nearly liquid in appearance. It's a smooth, flowing shine that is only rarely seen with other pearl types.¬†
  • Sharp Edges:¬†Reflected light sources are going to have crisp, sharply defined edges with little to no blurring or satining ... the more "fuzziness" you can see on those edges, the lower the luster is graded.¬†
  • Very High to High Rate of Light Return:¬†Because these pearls are so highly reflective, very often they are quite bright and reflect light at a greater rate than other pearl types (like dark Tahitians, dyed¬†Black Akoya¬†or colored Freshwater pearls). Their white body color also provides the perfect base for light amplification, making the pearls appear larger than they actually are.¬†

 

Freshwater Pearl Luster

 

Freshwater Pearl Luster

Freshwater pearls from China typically will display the softest luster of all pearl types (although there are exceptions!). Freshwater pearl luster is typically described as soft, satiny or silky, and diffused. 

High quality Freshwater pearls (AA+ to AAAA / Gem Quality pearls like the pearls pictured above) are distinguished by the following characteristics:

  • Good to High Reflectivity:¬†A high rate of reflections are visible in the surfaces of the pearls, however the finer details like eyes, noses, etc., won't be easily distinguishable.¬†
  • Silky Appearance:¬†These pearls can best be described as "touchable". They¬†look soft to the touch, not glossy, and the pearls often have a beautiful, subtle "glow" that appears to come from within.
  • Diffused Edges:¬†Reflected light sources will almost always feature slight to pronounced blurring or satining around the edges¬†... as with Akoya, the more "fuzziness" you can see on those edges, the lower the luster is graded.¬†
  • Good to Very High Rate of Light Return:¬†Peach, Pink, Lavender and Black Freshwater pearls often feature a lower rate of light return than the¬†White Freshwater pearl¬†colors. Overall, Freshwater pearls will be bright but not "blazing" like you can observe with Hanadama Collection Akoya pearls.

 

Tahitian Pearl Luster

 

Tahitian Pearl Luster

The legendary Black pearls, Tahitian pearls are one of the most coveted saltwater pearl types in the world. Known for their naturally gorgeous black to charcoal grey body colors, rainbow of colorful overtones and naturally larger sizes - Tahitian pearls are a cultured pearl power house.

The luster of Tahitian pearls is most often described as satiny, however fine quality Tahitian pearls (AAA to AAAA Quality) are distinguished by the following characteristics:

  • Highly to Very Highly Reflective:¬†The best of these pearls can get close to the Akoya pearl in terms of sharpness and detail in their reflectivity. However, the majority of Tahitian pearls will feature that softer, more diffuse and satiny luster.¬†
  • Satiny Appearance:¬†Tahitians are also usually described as having satiny,¬†"touchable" luster, rather than a hard, glossy shine.¬†
  • Diffused to Mostly Sharp Edges:¬†Reflected light sources are usually slightly blurred on the edges, but with finer qualities the edges get sharper and sharper.¬†
  • High Rate of Light Return:¬†Perhaps with the exception of the very Pale Dove Grey with Silver Overtones Tahitian pearls, most of these pearls feature lower rates of light return than other pearl types. Undoubtedly this is due to their natural black body colors - we think their rainbow of unique Overtones more than makes up for it!

 

South Sea Pearl Luster

 

South Sea Pearl Luster

The Queen of Cultured Pearls, White and Golden South Sea pearls are the epitome of luxury. 

The luster of both White and Golden South Sea pearls are usually described as satiny and touchable, but very high quality (AAAA Quality) pearls can approach that of the Japanese Akoya. 

  • Highly to Very Highly Reflective:¬†The finest specimens approach the Akoya pearl with detailed, mirror-like reflections but that is RARE. The¬†majority of South Sea pearls feature softer, more diffuse and satiny luster.¬†
  • Satiny Appearance:¬†Tahitians are also usually described as having satiny,¬†"touchable" luster, rather than a hard, glossy shine.¬†Fine quality pearls often have a beautiful, subtle "glow" that appears to come from within due to their thick nacre layers.
  • Diffused to Mostly Sharp Edges:¬†Reflected light sources are usually slightly blurred on the edges, but with finer qualities the edges get sharper and sharper.¬†
  • High to Very High Rate of Light Return:¬†Both White and Golden South Sea pearls have a High to Very High rate of light return ... the pearls are usually¬†bright and reflect light at a greater rate than other pearl types like Tahitians. White South Sea pearls have a natural white¬†body color that provides the perfect base for light amplification, making the pearls appear larger than they actually are.¬†

 

If this topic sparked an interest in the topic of Luster, I recommend you visit our Pearl Education and Pearl Grading Guides ... the Ultimate Guide to Hanadama Pearls is an excellent article, and my most recent piece on Pearl Nacre really dives in deep on this topic. 

Enjoy!

XO,

Ashley

 

The PurePearls.com Wishlist: Weekly Pearl Jewelry Spotlight

 

"ICONIC"

Pure Pearls Weekly Product Spotlight: Hanadama Akoya Pearl Earrings

Traditionally called "Flower Pearls" for their delicate to deeper Rose Overtones, each pair of Hanadama Akoya pearl earrings shines with the richest, most luminous luster we've ever seen. Pearls are set on solid 14K Gold Classic Stud Earrings, easy to wear and extremely secure. 

Each Hanadama Collection matched pair of pearls arrives with it's own numbered Pearl Science Laboratory certificate from Tokyo, Japan, detailing the pearls' surface quality, nacre thickness and x-ray results. Your new earrings will arrive in a pretty Jewelry Presentation Box for you to keep, and are accompanied by a GIA Graduate Prepared Retail Appraisal and Pearl Care Instructions. 

 

View Product Details

 


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