Charlotte Jewelry Appraisal | Pearl Appraisals
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pearl appraisal

Pearl Appraisal

Pearl appraisals are extremely important to protect your investment. Due to the lack of a universally accepted grading standard it is critical your pearls be evaluated by a professional experienced in pearl appraisal.

As a certified appraiser by GIA, only one of two recognized associations with a standardized evaluation grading system that is based on quality attributes and industry best practices, I will provide you with a pearl appraisal evaulation that is recognized throughout the world, thus documenting and insuring your pearl value and condition.


A pearl is made by a mollusk (oyster or clam) which when a foreign substance (called the nucleus) is seeded into the mollusk it starts to to coat the irritant with alternating layers of substance known as “nacre” and “conchiolin”, to coat the invader and create its existence less troublesome. This foreign substance catalyzes the formation of a pearl as the nucleus inside the pearl.


In natural pearls, this irritant is usually debrix that the creature is incapable of washing away. Almost all pearls offered on the market are known as “cultured pearls”, this is done by inserting an irritant into the body of the oyster or a piece of shell from a fresh water mussel. This will cause the oyster to form a “cultured (man induced) pearl.

Pearls are identified by source, then graded by surface clarity, luster, color, nacre thickness, shape, and size as well as matching. These characteristics are not regarded equal. Some characteristics will be gauged to provide them more impact in getting to the final grade. An extremely thin nacre thickness, for instance, could not at all produce an excellent pearl quality.

Pearl characteristics can be generally deduced from their developmental environment. For instance, South Sea pearls, they are developing in warmer water for an extended duration, in general they have lower luster and have further tiny blemishes compared to the Japanese Akoya pearls that build up in colder water in shorter duration. South Sea pearls are being graded aligned with each other, not through what would be supposed for an equal quality of Akoya pearl.


  • Natural – happening normally in the mollusk with no help from a human. This is also called “Oriental” pearls. Today, these comprise only of a small part of the pearl market.

  • Novelty – similar pearl concretions shaped by mollusks aside from muscles and oysters like conch, clam or abalone.

  • Freshwater cultured – nucleated only with tissue, without bead nucleus, mostly these are asymmetrical, colorful pearls are cultured in US, China and Japan amongst other areas. They are fostered in freshwater mussels instead of oysters.

  • Tahitian cultured – this is a gray to black tinted pearl nurtured in the black-lipped assortment of Margaretifera oyster originated in south Pacific.

  • South Sea cultured – huge cultured pearls from the Tahitian and other parts of South Sea water counting in Australia, there are typically white to silver white, gray as well as golden in color.

  • Cultured (Akoya) – the conventional cultured pearl, farmed almost entirely in Japan.


A huge pearl can be generated solely by a mollusk big enough to seize it. Therefore, the pearl farmer consists of a sensible investment in creating the mollusk before it can be nucleated. Due to this, the size is a major factor in assessing pearls.


This pertains to the symmetry or roundness of the pearl. The round type of pearls is the most unusual and greatly priced. Even they begin with a round bead, and then the activity inside the mollusk along with the motion of the water normally induces the pear to turn into another shape instead of exactly round. Proportioned pearls of other pleasant pearls are graded for its regularity, but priced based on its various sizes from rounds.

  • Baroque - pearls having pleasant organic figure, with no “tags’ or jagged tails.

  • Ringed - pearls having gorgeous furrows by encircled in a single portion on the oyster.

  • Barrel - roughly cylindrical, with dull ends.

  • Drop – teardrop or pear shaped pearl which is the more proportioned the greater the quality.

  • Round – graded as semi-baroque, off-round, slightly off-round, mostly round and round-in-all.

Nacre Thickness

Nacre is the one of the most significant factor in the attractiveness and sturdiness of the pearl. If you can view the bead through the nacre, or whether it is peeling or cracked or contains chalky-looking patches, then it is considered as a low grade pearl. Other pearls with thin nacre contain great luster and lack blemishes since they are deserted on the water for a short time. This thin exterior will eventually be ruined by normal wear, might be peeled or chipped around the drill hole. Keep in mind to go for pearls with medium nacre, with minimum of 0.35 mm thick.


This is the reflectivity or brightness of pearl. High class pearls have metallic luster, while the fine pearls possess sub-metallic luster yet still reflect objects stridently on the surface. Low-luster pearls show very small reflectivity.


  • Orient – play of color, opalescence appearing to move around the exterior of the pearls. This is a rare feature, more frequently apparent on asymmetrical surfaces.

  • Overtone – one or greater number of colors that may cover the body color. Best viewed simply off the curve of the pearl. Pink hints are favored, with green as well as other colors which are less attractive.

  • Body color – the main color of the pearl, visible near and on the external borders of the pearl. White as well as silver white are the favored colors, with cream and gray colors being less wanted. But, color is a personal choice and should be selected to match skin tone.


This pertains to the strands or pairs and deals with consistency of graduation, spotting, shape and luster as well as color. If the colors are purposely combined, it will pertain to the beauty of the combination.


The pearl’s surface should be smooth and not scraped by chemicals like skin acids, hair spray and perfume. Peeling or cracking should not be present on the nacre layer on the drill hole.

Pearl Care

Care for pearls from abrasion and chemicals. Pearls are extremely soft, and are effortlessly damaged by other jewels. Most dust consists of harder quartz elements. Therefore, pearls are simply scratched by sloppy cleaning. Maintain pearls in their own bag or soft case and wait until everything that you need to do with your face have been done. After bearing them next to your skin, wipe the pearls carefully with very soft, moist cloth before placing them on their case.

If you have pearls and are curious as to their value and worth, please call me at 980-521-6184

... Elisa J. Propst, GG

M. Gibbs, Ltd - Concord, NC


Have Some Questions ? ask Elisa using the form below ... no obligation


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