How do you evaluate quality of pearls? Common to the industry is the AAA to A pearl grading system. The higher the quality, the more “A's” in its grade. Most experts apply this system to freshwater and akoya pearls. Some use it to grade South Sea and Tahitian pearls, too. Only the finest pearls can qualify for any of these grades. Here's what the grades mean:
Grade AAA Pearl
At least 95% of the surface is flawless and the luster is exceptionally mirror-like.
Grade AA Pearl
At least 75% of the surface is flawless, and the luster is very high. An excellent pearl.
Grade A Pearl
May have slight surface flaws and has good luster. The minor flaws of a Grade A pearl can be hidden in the design of a necklace. This means choosing Grade A pearls can make your pearl jewelry more economical, as well as beautiful.