Table of Content

Rich and valuable Tahitian pearls are dominating the jewelry world with their allure,  steadily adored by both celebrities and enthusiasts.

If you're also considering acquiring them, it's important to know how they're graded so you can make sure you're getting the best ones for your money.
To buy your Tahitian pearls like professionals, check out this table of contents and proceed with confidence.
But, before that…

A Quick Recap of Tahitian Pearls…

Tahitian pearls are large, rich, and valuable pearls known for their mesmerizing black colors. Cultivated within the depths of oceans in  Black-Lip Pearl Oyster, these unconventional pearls dazzle with their timeless adorning various jewel pieces like rings, earrings, or necklaces.

Factors that decide Tahitian Pearls Grade:

Which parameters decide the grades of Tahitian pearls, understanding this is very important. 7 different factors decide the price and grade of a Tahitian pearl. Here it goes:

Luster: Luster is the surface of the pearl that reflects the light falling on it. The shiny surface reflects light beautifully creating a highly desirable effect. And these pearls are considered of high quality. While low-quality pearls have a dull surface, which reflects light poorly they are less valuable and attractive. High-quality pearls have excellent luster and command high prices. While pearls with poor luster can be bought at much lower prices.

Color: Color determines the value of pearls and is among one of the most important factors. Rich and deep-colored pearls, with even and consistent compositions, are valued more. From white to black everything in between can be the color of Tahitian pearls. High-quality pearls usually have strong and saturated colors.

Shape: Tahitian pearls are noticed in a wide range of shapes from perfectly round to baroque. The most valuable Tahitian pearls are round ones.

Size: Larger pearls are rare and look more impressive due to their greater luster. These pearls take a longer time to grow and are more desirable. Tahitian pearls typically range in size from 1 MM to 20 MM.

Nacre Thickness: Nacre is an extraordinary strength material deposited on the inner shell of a mollusk that creates a pearl. Its thickness and uniformity affect the luster of a pearl. Highly valued pearls have uniform layers of nacre and smooth surfaces.

Surface Quality: Inclusions, which blemish the surface are not easily noticed in Tahitian pearls. Deep inspection can be helpful. The clearer surface of a pearl makes it more valuable.

Pearl Matching: How well pearls match each other, is an important factor to consider. Shape, size, color, and luster are the terms in which the pearls should be matched, as they are used together in strands. So, two different pearls may be individually highly graded due to their excellent qualities. But they are poorly graded as they don't match.

The grading system of Tahitian Pearls

Two different grading systems can be considered in the case of Tahitian pearls. One that is mostly used for all pearls is the A-AAA Pearl Grading System and the other is the A-D Grading System. Let’s understand in a little detail.

  1. Tahitian A-AAA Pearl Grading System

    A-AAAA Pearl Grading System evaluates pearls based on their quality, surface, luster, and shape. The lowest, commercial grade is ‘A’, and the best pearl quality available is ‘AAAA’.

    • A-AAA

      Surface Quality: Looks clean on casual inspection to the naked eye. No deep blemishes or inclusions are noticed.

      Luster: Very sharp and slightly metallic.

      Shape: Perfectly spherical or symmetrical pearl shape.

      Matching: Near-perfect matching; little to no variation in color, tone, or luster.

      Nacre Thickness:  Very Thick, 0.8mm minimum

    • AAA

      Surface Quality: Blemish rate less than 15-20% on each pearl surface, and full strand overall.

      Luster: Mostly sharp with a good rate of reflection

      Shape: Very Slight deviation from “perfect” round or symmetrical shapes allowable up-close, intense inspection.

      Matching: Very Good to Excellent matching; little variation in color, tone, luster, shape, or size.

      Nacre Thickness:   0.8mm Minimum

    • AA

      Surface Quality: Blemish rate less than 40% on each pearl surface, and full strand overall.

      Luster: Good to soft, with a fair rate of reflection.

      Shape: Near round shape is noted most of the time

      Matching: Good to Very Good matching; slight variation in color, tone, luster, shape, or size.

      Nacre Thickness:   0.8mm Minimum

    • A

      Surface Quality: The blemish rate is less than 60% on each pearl surface.

      Luster: Good to soft, with a fair rate of reflection.

      Shape: Off-round Shape

      Matching: Good to Fair matching; some variation in color, tone, luster, shape, or size is noticeable.

      Nacre Thickness:   0.8mm Minimum

  2. .
  3. Tahitian A-D Grading System

    • A graded Pearls: Pearls graded in this category have an excellent luster, i.e. 90% of the surface is perfectly clear. Minor imperfections were noticed in some pearls. Mostly perfectly round.

    • B graded Pearls: Possess high luster and are round. 70% of the surface is clear, that is without inclusions and other imperfections.

    • C graded Pearls: These pearls have medium luster, 40% of the surface has visible defects, rest 60% is clear.

    • D graded Pearls: These pearls show inconsequential luster, due to a high number of inclusions 60% of the surface has visible defects, rest 40% is clear.

For a Quick Comparison

A-AAA Grading System

Criteria A-AAA Quality Grade AAA Quality Grade AA Quality Grade A Quality Grade
Luster Excellent luster Very good luster Good luster Fair quality luster
Surface Quality Flawless surface Slight blemishes on the surface Noticeable blemishes Easily   Noticeable imperfections
Shape Mainly perfectly round Mostly round in shape Near round shape Off-round shape
Nacre Thickness Thick nacre layer Medium thick nacre layer Thin nacre layer Nacre layer is very thin
Overall Quality Exceptional quality pearls Very good overall quality Good overall quality Overall quality is fair

A-D Grading System

  • Clean surface of 90%. Good Luster to High Luster
  • Blemish covers only up to 10% of the pearl's surface with slight or barely visible marks concentrated in one place.
  • Only very slight or barely visible marks
  • Clean surface of 70%. Good luster to high luster
  • Blemish covers only up to 30% of the pearl's surface with slight or barely visible marks
  • Clean surface of 60%. Good luster to high luster
  • Blemish covers only up to 40% of the pearl's surface with slight or barely visible marks concentrated in one place.
  • Clean surface of 40%. Low Luster
  • Blemish covers over 60% of the pearl's surface with deep visible marks

How to Select Tahitian Pearls?

Selecting a right Tahitian pearl is not a tough task, if you have a good knowledge of their grading and other parameters like their authenticity, etc. The very first parameter that can be worked upon is quality, which should be good commercially. This can be easily done, by understanding where it stands in the grading chart.
Once you are done with it, you can do a good comparison by checking other grades of the pearl.  Next, you should emphasize on budget, that meets your needs and preferences. You can check the shape and size you wish. Do check that it is appropriate for the design or style you wish to get.
Choose a reliable jeweler like Arisha Jewels that provides certifications and accreditation from recognized organizations in the jewelry industry.

Tahitian Pearls Mix Perfectly with Almost All Jewelry

Tahitian Pearls can beautifully complement a variety of jewelry types, whether they feature diamonds or other colored gemstones. They create a striking contrast with their surroundings, all because of their versatility. Their unique color ranging from metallic silver to deep black with enchanting overtones can add elegance to any jewel piece.

A simple Tahitian pearl halo ring accentuated with rubies can be a perfect fit for statement lovers. Meanwhile, a Tahitian necklace paired with diamonds or emeralds exudes elegance, suitable for both casual and formal attire. White pearls, known for their elegance and beauty, create a deep allure when paired with Sapphire, Ruby, or London blue topaz.

Different available shapes like round, drop, and baroque are perfect for minimalist and solitaire designs alike.
emeralds or diamonds.
White pearls known for their elegance and beauty, pair perfectly with Sapphire's deep allure, Ruby's fiery passion, London blue topaz's serene depth, and diamond's timeless brilliance, creating a symphony of sophistication and grace.

Checking blemishes on Tahitian Pearls

Tahitian pearls have blemishes which can be seen in the form of:

  1. Circular marks on the surface of the pearl

  2. Small and shallow indentations

  3. Tiny spots or marks on the surface of the pearl

  4. Small and raised imperfections

These blemishes play a major role in grading the Tahitian Pearls.

Wrapping Up

Tahitian pearls are exotic gems known for their captivating beauty and can add elegance to any jewelry piece. These black pearls can be assessed based on different factors like luster, color, shape,  nacre thickness, surface quality, and pearl matching. Two main grading systems are well-known for categorizing in different grades, which are the A-AAA Pearl Grading System and the A-D Grading System. A-AAA system ranges from AAA (highest) to A (lowest), while the latter ranges from A (highest) to D (lowest).  Both systems help in understanding the overall quality of Tahitian pearls. Selecting the right Tahitian pearl involves understanding its grade, comparing grades, considering budget, shape, and size, and purchasing from a reputable jeweler.

Arisha Jewels