This is part 3 of a 3 part series on the freshwater cultured black pearl
A pearl’s luster is a measure of its brilliance and reflectivity. Really high quality pearls are bright and shiny and you should be able to see your face in them. Lower-quality pearls have a more dull appearance. Generally speaking saltwater pearls tend to have a greater luster than freshwater pearls.
The appearance of the surface of the pearl is one of the most critical characteristics. When you inspect a pearl, the surface should be smooth and clean, no bumps, spots, or discolorations. It should be shiny and reflective, rather than dull and chalky.
When shopping for pearls it is important to note that strands are rarely of uniform size. The internationally recognized standard for measuring Akoya pearls will always have a .5mm differential within an individual strand. Per industry standards today a strand measuring 7.5mm, will actually be composed of pearls measuring 7-7.5mm. This should be noted in any appraisal or description of the pearls. The smaller pearls will be located near the clasp, and the larger pearls will be in the center of the necklace. This is considered a uniform strand, not a graduated strand.
Freshwater pearls are more often given a full millimeter range of size. For example, a strand of 8mm freshwater pearls may be measured 7-8mm in size. This is not an absolute standard, however, as many high-quality freshwater pearls are sized similar to Akoya pearls with a mere .5mm differential.
Tahitian and South Sea pearls are measured individually, but to be considered a uniform strand there may still be up to a 1mm differential from the clasp to the center of the necklace. For example, a 9-10mm strand of Tahitian pearls is considered a uniform strand, but an 8-10mm strand is considered slightly graduated.
Make sure you get a certificate with the pearls describing their origin and quality when you purchase.
This is the last article of a 3 part series on the freshwater cultured black pearl