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A Brief History of Pearls: Surface of South Sea Pearls


  A brief history of pearls

SURFACE OF SOUTH SEA PEARLS


Surface quality is always important in determining the value of any pearl, and South Sea pearls are no exception.



What is Surface Quality on South Sea Pearls?

The term surface quality refers to how "clean" a pearl's surface is. In fact, experts gauge a pearl's surface quality by looking for blemishes such as:


  • Bumps
  • Cracks
  • Circles
  • Spots
  • Pits
  • Wrinkles

When a pearl's surface is dominated by flaws, it may be considered "heavily blemished." However, when it's relatively free of inclusions and other blemishes, experts place it in one of various grades of "clean."

Damaging and Non-Damaging Blemishes

Damaging blemishes are those that tend to become worse with time, and they are typically those introduced to the pearl during processing. Damaging blemishes can include cracks and chips that occur near drill holes.

Non-damaging blemishes are those that don't become worse over time, such as wrinkles, spots and bumps.

It's important to remember that some blemishes won't detract from the beauty or value of a pearl, and this is particularly true with South Sea pearls. That's because it takes these pearls 2 to 3 years to develop, and flawless or slightly flawed South Sea pearls are extremely rare.

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