The surface quality of a pearl impact on its value directly. Very few pearls are completely blemish-free. The fewer the blemishes are, the higher the value of a pearl.
CHECK HOW VISIBLE AND OBVIOUS THE FLAWS ARE ON THE PEARL SURFACE
The surface condition of a pearl is one of the crucial factors that determine its durability and value. A fine quality pearl should have a bright reflection and smooth surface. But it is very rare to find pearls with completely flawless surface. Most of pearls have some degree of blemishes. Therefore, the key to judge the extent to which these blemishes affect a pearl’s value is to examine how visible and obvious these flaws are. The degree of the blemishes can be measured by using the four surface classifications defined by GIA.
-Clean – Pearls have no blemishes at all or contain very tiny surface characteristics that are not visible without using special equipment.
-Lightly spotted – Pearls exhibit minor imperfections when examined by a trained pearl grading person.
-Moderately spotted – Pearls show visible blemishes. A couple of spots on a pearl’s surface might be very noticeable.
-Heavily spotted – Pearls show obvious surface imperfections.
Pearls that are moderately and heavily spotted tend not to be durable and are lower in value even when they have a good lustre. Many Tahitian pearls can be moderately and heavily spotted. Blemishes such as chips, gaps and cracks are the most serious factors that can cause a pearl to peel or break and hence threaten its durability and diminish its value.
TINY IMPERFECTIONS ON THE PEARL SURFACE ARE NORMAL
Blemishes such as spots, wrinkles and abrasions do not usually affect the durability of a pearl and are very common. However, the value of a pearl depends on how visible these flaws are. Many visible imperfections indicate the low value of the pearl. Good quality pearls have a clean surface and usually have no or very minor imperfections, which are not easily detected.
PEARL LUSTRE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR TO ITS VALUE
In addition to observing how obvious the surface imperfections are, you also need to examine the luster of the pearl. The luster of a pearl essentially shows how intense the reflections are from its surface. Pearls that have high nacre quality usually have very bright and sharp reflections.