This 5.5 x 6mm natural color Japanese Akoya cultured pearl necklace is American Pearl's best smallest-diameter pearl readily available for stringing. It is usually bought for young teens but may also be appropriate for an extremely petite woman or if she specifically requested this size. It is very popular for teenagers for Christmas, birthdays, and school-related and coming-of-age occasions, especially confirmations, Bat Mitzvahs and sweet sixteens.
ABOUT THE QUALITY
The "A Quality Pearls" shown in this necklace exhibit low luster and have thin nacre (the skin of the pearl). In fact, nacre thickness and luster are directly correlated. In order for a finer quality Japanese Akoya cultured pearl to have very high luster, it must have very thick nacre. According to the Gemological Institute of America, pearls with low luster (A Quality) must have at least 0.35 millimeters of nacre thickness on most of the pearls.
PURCHASE THE FINEST QUALITY PEARLS IN YOUR PRICE RANGE
American Pearl always advises you to purchase the finest quality pearls in your price range; even if this means stepping down to a smaller size more brilliant pearl. There are numerous reasons why this holds true. Finer quality pearls have more of the qualities for which people are enamored with pearls in the first place. That is, they are more beautiful as they exhibit higher luster. Beauty is the paramount quality of any jewelry or gem that secures its value. The more beautiful a gem has the more valuable it is. Finer quality pearls therefore have the best chance in holding their value and appreciating in value over time. In addition to beauty and value, finer quality pearls are more durable. In order for a strand of pearls to exhibit higher luster, it must have a thicker nacre. Nacre is the so called "skin" of a pearl and luster and nacre thickness are directly correlated. Lastly, because finer quality pearls are indeed more beautiful, they will be enjoyed more. Hence, this is why purchasing the finest quality pearls in your price range is always the wisest choice.
ABOUT SURFACE QUALITY
At American Pearl, we want you to know that whatever pearl strand you choose, you can be sure that the pearls on your necklace will be unblemished. In keeping with this strict selection system, American Pearl does not deal with blemished, marked pearls. Blemished pearls whose surfaces show imperfections, pitting, spots or other irregularities are worth half the value of perfectly clean unblemished pearls. Because the pearls we purchase from our farmers consistently and continuously for the last 50 years are the top 1% of the harvest, you can be sure that the pearls offered to you from American Pearl are indeed finer and cleaner than any pearls offered to your from an outside source. As America's leading pearl company, it has become the mantra of our founder, Charlie Bakhash, to offer our customers the cleanest finest quality pearls in the world—A reputation we have earned through the cleanliness of our pearls.
Yet, why are we so insistent in boasting about our pearls' superior quality and unblemished surfaces? Time and time again, consumers unknowingly purchase pearls they think are fine quality, yet overlook the most critical factor: the pearl's surface. Purchasing a strand of pearls that is blemished is like buying a stock without knowing its price. Or consider purchasing a piece of real estate without knowing its location. The analogy is the same for pearls, except this time, it is cleanliness of the pearl's surface that is the key factor in determining its value. A wise consumer will insist that the pearls on their necklace are perfectly round, perfectly clean and matched for bodycolor and luster. The composition of a perfect strand of pearls is an art that we have perfected for over 50 years of pearl trading.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THIS CULTURED PEARL STRAND
This fine quality pearl strand contains pearls that are perfectly matched for bodycolor, luster, shape and overtone. This strand earns the A quality grade which is the forth highest grade of the (1) A, (2) A+, (3) AA and (4) AAA grading system popularized by Mikimoto. Be especially cautious of pearls that are advertised as "AA+" or "AAAA" that break from the standard grading system popularized by fine jewelry stores. These trumped-up grades seek to mislead consumers into purchasing qualities that do not exist.
Generally speaking, the finer the grade, the more luster the pearls exhibit. Luster is defined as the mirror like quality of a pearl and really is the single characteristic that draws people to pearls. Technically, luster is defined as the amount of light that reflects off of the pearl's surface and reaches your eye.
WHITE BODYCOLOR PEARLS ARE WORTH MORE
In addition to selling you clean pearls, American Pearl is renowned for selling you the whitest bodycolor pearls with your choice of a silver or rose overtone. American Pearl does not sell you yellow creamy pearls. White Bodycolor pearls (with your choice of silver or rose overtones) are the most valuable bodycolor pearls in the marketplace compared to their light cream counterparts. Many consumers unknowingly purchase a strand with a slightly light cream or yellowish bodycolor to the pearl which are worth considerably less. In fact, according to the the Gemological Institute of America, pearls with a light cream bodycolor are worth 40% less than pearls with a white bodycolor. So examine the pearls you are considering very carefully. Are they creamy? Yellowish? Or are they white? Be especially doubtful of pearls that claim to be "bright white" or other made up names that are not part of the official nomenclature used by the Gemological Institute of America as shown by the chart below:
EXAMINING PEARLS UNDER CONTROLLED LIGHTING
When examining a strand of pearls, it is advised that you do so under a controlled setting for grading pearls. The Gemological Institute of America, through their coursework and literature, recommends that you always examine your pearls under a fluorescent light against an either white or grey background. A glass surface is the least effective area on which to examine pearls as the bodycolor of the pearls in question is difficult to detect. In fact, when the owner's of American Pearl sell their pearl's to Tiffany & Co., it is our experience that they always use a fluorescent lamp for grading. This setting creates a neutral environment where the nuances in bodycolor—from white to light cream—can be identified. Because a pearl's surface is so reflective, one must consider very carefully the light source used to examine and grade pearls.
THE PEARL MIRAGE
One should be particularly skeptical of an incandescent light source used for the grading of pearls. Incandescent light, by its very nature, shows a fuller distribution of color from the color spectrum. When used in the grading of pearls, one may be associating attributes to the reflective qualities of the pearl's surface that are in actuality originating from the light source. This PEARL MIRAGE does not take place under fluorescent lights.
The most valuable lesson to be learned here is that upon the examination of pearls, make sure you are grading the pearls, not the light source. The quality and awe of a fine quality pearl seen under a fluorescent lamp will be obvious. Because pearls have hundreds of concentric layers of skin (what we call nacre) that are translucent, reflecting light as well as allowing light to pass through each layer, a "play-of-light" is achieved on the surface of a pearl which gives PEARLS the very qualities for which people have marveled in awe over them.
It is for this reason that pearls with bodycolors of white are featured at American Pearl, Tiffany & Co. and Mikimoto. They are the most valuable in the world.
NECKLACE LENGTH AND GRADUATION
This necklace comes standard length at 16 inches long which includes the clasp. If you are looking for a longer strand, please click the pop-up menu located below near the order button to choose any length up to 51 inches.
All the pearls begin at 5.5 millimeters on either end of the necklace and slowly graduate to 6 mm millimeters in the necklace's center. These pearls were farmed in the saltwater oceans off the shores of Japan. This is where the inventor of the cultured pearl made his first round cultured pearl that changed the world.