Halong BayJanuary 21, 2017 ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C
After settling in we visited a nearby settlement and the local pearl farm. An interesting "some infomation" ( like the Vietnamese say without the r) tour on the production and grading. They mentioned a grading 1-4 when its usually A-D which made me wonder- anyway its not wrong its just different-I guess. 95% of all pearls on the market today are cultured pearls, meaning humans played a role in pearl formation. Natural, wild pearls from the ocean are very rare and have a premium price. We watched the bloke insert a small piece of mantle tissue (with tweezers) from another donor shell to serve as a catalyst for the pearl sac. The sea pearls takes around 8-10 years till its ready to be sold the Akoya variations take around 2 years and therefore are less pricy. l had the sales people all very excited with relevant grading questions on the quality. I had a lot of fun trying on pearls and banter with Roedolf because according to him I no expert on pearls. They wanted to sell me a $70 000 string of Tahitian pearls bahaha🤣. At least I look wealthy or maybe Roedolf does? Well Roedolf conveniently left his credit card in the cabin so no pearl purchases today😭. We left the shop personel in devastation.
Too proof I am perhaps NOT entirely clueless.
Tahitian and South Sea pearls are primarily graded according to Shape, Surface Quality and Luster. Variations in pearl body color, overtones and color saturation levels (with as many as 80 “official” variations!) mean that the value factors for Color need to be evaluated individually. Tahitian cultured pearls MUST have a minimum nacre depth of 0.8mm per side (so 0.16mm total) in order to qualify for export.
Apparently Luster is the biggest value factor to look out for. Luster measures the rate of reflection (how crisp and detailed it is) on a pearl’s surface, and the amount of light reflected on the pearls. Beautiful luster makes or breaks pearls as a gemstone. Basically, the brighter, sharper and more reflective a pearl is, the more valuable it will be.
Cultured Akoya and Freshwater pearls are graded according to Surface Quality, Luster, and perfection of Shape (roundness and symmetry). Akoya pearls are also graded on Nacre Thickness, which is a visual inspection completed by the grader rather than via x-ray analysis.