||A brief history of pearls
LUSTRE OF TAHITIAN PEARLS
Luster is a measure of the way light plays on a pearl. It refers to the way it reflects and retracts light, and the most valuable pearls have high luster.
The Jeweler's Task: Describe a Tahitian Pearl
In order to describe a Tahitian pearl, a jeweler must first evaluate its luster. This is one of the most important quality factors in these pearls. Luster is graded on a scale of poor to excellent.
- Poor luster: A pearl with poor luster reflects light in a dim, diffused way.
- Fair luster: A pearl with fair luster has a weak, hazy or blurred reflection that is better than one with poor luster.
- Good luster: A pearl featuring a good luster has a bright reflection. However, the reflections look slightly hazy.
- Excellent luster: A pearl that has an excellent luster creates bright and distinct reflections.
How to Describe a Pearl's Orient
A pearl's orient refers to the iridescent colorplay that takes place on or below the nacre's surface. Not all pearls have orient; it's typically only seen in pearls with thick, well-formed nacre.
As you turn a pearl in your hands, its orient becomes apparent. This is particularly observable in Tahitian pearls, because their beautiful colors can be reflected in myriad ways through the surface of the nacre.