For Akoya pearls, the differences between our two primary grades are fairly subtle, but recognizable once you know what you’re looking for.
AA+ Quality Akoya Pearls
These pearls will be perfectly round, with between 5-10% blemishing on the pearl’s surface (keep in mind that the pearls themselves are pretty small, so when I say 5 to 10% of the total surface area, we’re really talking more like a pin-prick or two, nothing major!). We do offer some Akoya pearl stud earrings in AA+ Quality, however ALL of our Akoya pearl pendants and rings are AAA Quality only.
AA+ Quality Akoya pearl earrings will set cleanly in the front, however you may notice an inclusion located on the side or back of the pearl. Luster will be bright and fairly sharp, although you will notice some blurring or “satining” around the edges of reflected light sources. You will be able to see your face reflected in the surface of the pearl and some specific features.
AAA Quality Akoya Pearls
AAA pearls are also perfectly round, but have less than 5% blemishing on the pearl’s surfaces. The blemish rate goes for each pearl and as a strand overall. Earrings, pendants and rings will mount clean to the eye. Luster will be very sharp, crisp and bright, with little to no blurring around the edges of reflected light sources on the surface of the pearl. You should be able to make out detailed facial features also reflected in the surface.
Printable Akoya Pearl Grading Guide
Below is a copy of our Akoya Pearl Grading Guide for you to print out and keep if you like. We also have Grading Guides for all other pearl types.