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A Brief History of Pearls: Quality Factor Two: Surface


  A brief history of pearls

QUALITY FACTOR TWO: SURFACE



Surface quality is important to pearl graders. Aside from luster, it's the most important aspect of a pearl's value.

What is a Pearl's Surface Quality?

The term surface quality refers to the number and types of flaws that appear on the outside of a pearl. A pearl with a smooth, even surface will usually be more valuable than one with flaws.

A pearl's surface quality is usually evaluated on a scale that ranges from "Clean" to "Heavily blemished."

It's important to note that a pearl may be harvested with an excellent surface quality, but due to mistakes during processing or drilling, it can become damaged.

Types of Blemishes on Pearls

Some blemishes on pearls are damaging, and others are considered non-damaging. Non-damaging blemishes, which do not worsen over time, can include:


  • Spots
  • Bumps
  • Pits
  • Circles
  • Wrinkles

Damaging blemishes do become worse over time. Typically, damaging blemishes are those that tend to become larger, such as cracks and chips that occur near a pearl's drill holes.

Clean Pearl Surfaces and Value

In most cases, a pearl with a clean surface is more valuable than one with a blemished surface. However, pearls are very rarely flawless. Those with natural imperfections can be beautiful and valuable.

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How pearls are harvested
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Quality Factor Two: Surface
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Quality Factor Three: Shape
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Quality Factor Four: Color
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Tahitian Pearl Quality Evaluation
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