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PEARL LEARNING CENTER | PEARL SURFACE

Evaluating Pearl Surface | Judging Pearl Surface Quality

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Evaluating Surface

This feature refers to the degree of surface perfection. Finer quality nacre is very smooth, and nearly blemish-free, however, most pearls have natural surface characteristics that serve to identify them and act as "mother nature's" fingerprints. The cleaner the surface, the higher luster produced, and more valuable the pearls become.

Think of pearl surface as you would your own skin. just as our own is rarely completely free of little perfections, so it is with the pearl. Surface perfection refers to the pearl's skin being free of such things as small blisters, pimples, spots, or cracks. Imperfections may also appear as dark spots, small indentations, welts or blisters, or surface bumps.

Surface Quality

While occasional small blemishes are not very uncommon, if large or numerous they are unsightly. A pearl with sizeable or numerous blemishes may also be less durable. The cleaner the skin, the rarer and costlier. If drilled, the closer the blemish to the drill hole, the less it detracts from both appearance and value. Fine pearls have virtually no spots, bumps, pits, circles or wrinkles. High luster will often make tiny surface imperfections less visible and generally compensate for these small imperfections. Also, when the pearls are strung as a necklace or mounted on earrings, the mounting and drill holes can do much to detract from any flaws inherent in the pearl.

Judging Surface Quality

Examine in several types of light: While diffuded light is normally best for comparing factors in pearls, when checking blemishes, an intense light may highlight certain types. When examining pearls for blemishes, it may be helpful to check them both diffused light and an intense bright light. Examine against a dark background: A light background is normally best for comparing most pearl characterstics, but when checking for blemishes, it is sometimes easier to spot them against a dark background. Examine while rolling: Place the pearl or pearl strand on flat surface and roll it to be sure that you have examined all sides, and so that the light catches any blemish and highlights it.

Surface Quality

Finer quality nacre is very smooth, and nearly blemish-free, however, most pearls have natural surface characteristics that serve to identify them and act as "mother nature's" fingerprints. The cleaner the surface, the higher the luster produced, and more valuable the pearls become.

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