4 Factors to Compare Before Buying an Anniversary Ring

Anniversaries are special, and they can be made memorable by gifting a lovely, delicate natural gemstone ring and neckpiece collection. The buyers are always on the lookout for new designs and cuts in the gemstone segment. Each year 100,000 gemstones are flooded into the market cut in different ways. However, not all gemstones have the same styling or faceting. Some might have a lower critical angle compared to other; most gemstones might just exhibit a slightly different shade from what it was a raw item.

Here are 4 factors that every buyer must compare between different facets and designs before picking an anniversary ring.

1.  Age of the gemstone:

This is a key aspect of buying a natural gemstone anniversary ring. The date of extraction from the quarry, the date of cutting and manufacturing are important factors that can make a sizeable impact on the price of the gemstone. While most gemstones are hardly a year old, high-priced Anniversary ring gemstones could be as old as 50 years or more.

Another reason why buyers must investigate the date of manufacturing of the gemstone is to stay clear of the Black Diamonds and smuggled rubies, garnets, black moonstone, emeralds, black tourmaline and sapphires that have ripped apart the economy of many African countries.

2.  The shape of the gemstone:

Anniversary gemstones are cut in 10 commonly accepted shapes. The 10 shapes are:

1.  Round
2.  Princess
3.  Oval
4.  Marquis
5.  Pear/ Briolette
6.  Cushion
7.  Asscher
8.  Radiant
9.  Emerald
10. Heart

More than 75 percent gemstones are shaped in round brilliants. In recent times, Asscher and Princess Cut anniversary gemstones have gained immense popularity, thanks to LASER cutting techniques. For special occasions other than anniversaries like Valentine’s Day and Engagement, Heart shaped gems are also preferred.  The radiant cut gemstones are also accepted widely for their unique bow-tie effect. For buyers looking for a mixed cut anniversary ring resembling Princess Cut and Cushion Cut, the Radiant-cut gemstones fit in flawlessly.

3.  Symmetry:

Anniversary gemstones have to necessarily exhibit the highest level of symmetry. Symmetry showcases the quality of gem cutting and is calibrated by measuring the table, girdle, and Length/Width ratio. Perfect symmetry in the anniversary gemstones ensure that the light is brilliantly reflected and faults are strategically hidden.

A poorly shaped gemstone invariably has a bad symmetry too. The highest symmetry of the gemstone is established under 10-X magnification with zero defects.

4.  The cut:

The way the Anniversary gemstone is cut can have a huge impact on its life, durability, and overall price.  The gemstone has to be cut in such a way that the light is reflected from the pavilion at an angle lower than the Critical Angle. This ensures that the light is reflected effectively from the pavilion to the crown creating a scintillating fiery brilliance.

The cut also establishes the price of the Anniversary gemstone. A ruby or a diamond with a heavy girdle indicates that the gemstone will have more weight but would not look big from the top view.

 

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Emerald Cut: 5 Reasons you should Step Cut gemstones for your collection

Big, handsome and subtle… these are some of the ravishing adjectives used by emerald collectors. However, more than the brilliance of the gemstone, it is the way they are cut that makes them so popular. Step-cut or trap cut emeralds gemstone beads are expected to fetch the highest price considering their alluring beauty and per carat weight. Also called Emerald Classics, the step-cut is undoubtedly the first choice for most emerald dealers.

If you are new to gemstone market, here are 5 reasons why Emerald-cut items safest to deal with.

1.  The most symmetrical cut ever:

The Emerald Cuts are revered for their pristine beauty and symmetry, hard to match by regular cuts like Brilliants and Cushions. The step-cut is made in such a manner that every facet in the gemstone is capable of reflecting light. The cuts are made parallel to the girdle, which means that the gemstone acquire a distinct, flat and uniform table for highest stability.

The facets could be completely squared off or it could be given a slightly truncated edge to ensure that the points of weaknesses are minimized.

2.  Strongest configuration:

The emerald cut gemstones are considered as tough and strong. They don’t chip away easily, especially if they have truncated corners. The stones with hardness less than 7.0 on the Mohs scale are usually given the Step-cut to ensure that the finished item stay intact and never crack or facture along the points of weakness.

Citrine, Diaspore, Tourmaline, topaz, and quartz acquire strength by virtue of the Emerald cut or step-cut done on them.

3.  There is no compromise:

Step-cuts or emerald cut gemstones have long been accused of hiding the brilliance that comes out well when the same gemstone is cut in Round Brilliants or in Heart Briolette shapes.

However, this accusation is not entirely true. The step-cut gemstone indeed loss 12-15% of their brilliance over round brilliants; they earn 50% extra strength when compared to the same set of gemstones. In short, emerald and topaz collectors prefer to have a stronger, velvety gemstone than ending up with a weak one.

Hence, there is no compromise as far as cutting a gemstone into steps is concerned.

4.  No heat treatments and dyeing involved:

The emerald cut gemstones with step-cuts can be used for engagement rings, necklace, pendants, earrings, nose ring and bracelets. The talismans and rosaries too have emerald cut gemstones made of tourmaline, garnet, rubies and quartz.

The weight of the step-cut gemstone hovers around 2.3 to 4 carats. They have hardly treated artificially or dyed. Heat-treated Emerald cut gemstones can be easily identified from their purer counterparts, and hence they are least subjected to any artificial treatments

5.  Opaque versus transparent:

The step-cut can be made on any gemstone with hardness above 5.0. The opaque gemstones like black diamond, spinel, lapis lazuli and onyx can be either given a rough step cut or merely placed in the form of a Faceted Nugget. Without the doubt, the faceting with step-cuts is more popular on translucent gemstones than the opaque ones.

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A Look at 5 Popular Gemstone Designs

Prayer beads and gemstones rosary are widely revered by the followers and practitioners of the different religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and new spiritual movements. Beads are easily the oldest forms of prayer items that trace their origin to the Stone Age when they were made of bird’s bones, ostrich egg shells and seeds. With time, the beads and prayer rosaries have evolved and the sparkling gemstones feature in the commercial markets as one of the largest selling items.

The choice of the beads and prayer rosaries depend on the size of the gemstones, texture, strength and the overall weight.

Here are 5 lovely rosary gemstone designs that every devout follower can embrace.

1.  Faceted Rondelle:

All ornamental stones can be cut and polished into faceted rondelle in such a way that the stones look neatly arranged and clean. Faceted Rondelle beads made of opal, jade, quartz, aquamarine and red garnets are commonly available in the size of 5 mm, 7.5 mm, 10 mm and 15 mm.

The ornamental stones are arranged in series of 2, 4, 8 and 16 so that they feel dense and matte. The stones are drilled at the center and strung together using glass fiber, golden thread, and platinum wires.

The cost of the faceted rondelle beads is decided on the number of beads strung together. The ideal number is usually set at 36, 72, 108 and 256 beads.

2.  Faceted coins:

Mystic and alluring, the prayer beads shaped like pebbles are usually tagged as Faceted Coins. The faceted coin prayer beads are pressed together in such a way that the string passes underneath the surface. Gemstones like Lapis Lazuli, opal, labradorite, blue angelite, quartz, amethyst, serpentine, jade, garnet, and agate are pressed like faceted coins.

The best aspect of owning the faceted coin gemstones is that they can be engraved with hymns, images, and symbols representing the faith. The diameter of coin surface could be anywhere between 7.5 mm and 15 mm. The edges are smoothened to avoid bruising or cutting the skin surface.

3.  Faceted Nugget:

Rough and unabashed, the faceted nugget gemstone beads are very popular. The size of the gemstones is usually between 15 mm and 45 mm. The multi-color Aquamarine, black agate, gray labradorite, larimar, amethyst, and quartz are arranged like nuggets. The faceted nuggets are strung together by drilling a hole in the middle.

4.  Faceted cubes:

Faceted square cubes are the ravishing arrangement of transparent gemstones. The faceted cube gemstones are usually made of silica glass, moonstone, and sapphires. Red agate, peridot, and opal are also available in faceted cubes’ design.

They are usually set in odd numbers, in series of 25, 55, 115 and 175 beaded gemstones.

5.  Faceted Marquise:

Designed like tear-drop briolette, faceted marquise gemstone beads are very popular among fashion designers. The beads can be designed like head-piece, ear-rings, bracelets, anklets and waistbands. Faceted marquise rosaries made of garnets, blue topaz, Ethiopian opals, green emeralds, Rose quartz, Lemon quartz and Tanzanite are considered as luxury designer items.

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5 Misleading Facts about Faceting Techniques

The art of cutting gemstones is as old as fashion itself. While most gemstone owners in the past preferred to keep the original, natural contour of the stone. However, a chip made strategically, resembling a geometric shape turns the stone into a brilliant, glittering item that can be adorned around the neck, arms, wrist, and ankles or on clothes. Faceting is one of the cutting techniques employed to extract maximum commercial value out of the gemstone. There are many confusions and misleading aspects associated with faceting of the gemstones.

Let us clear 5 of the most misleading “facts” related to the gemstones available in the market.

1.  Faceting is possible only for hard gemstones:

It is indeed true that hard gemstones are faceted in some way or the other. Diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are carved to induce clear brilliance and clarity. However, softer gemstones like agate are also faceted in a similar way hard stones are done. Agate gemstones have a hardness of 5.0 on Mohs scale, and when they can be faceted, other gemstones can be cut in a similar way as well.

2.  Faceting is exhibited by the only gemstone:

Absolutely untrue, faceting can be done on any compound that has a solid, defined crystalline structure. Rock salt, sand grains, and glass can also be given a facet. In fact, they showcase a natural facet, which makes them sparkle when exposed to light.

However, natural gemstones may not exhibit brilliance in the beginning. That’s why they are cleaved or cut in such a way that they display brilliance.

3.  Facet angles can change for different gemstones:

Faceting is done by cutting the gemstone at a certain angle depending on its “critical angle”.
What is the critical angle for a gemstone? Well, it is the smallest angle of the refractive surface that will reflect the light back into the gem. If the light hits the refractive surface at an angle lower than the critical angle, it will not produce a good brilliance.

Thus faceting angles remain more or less constant for every gemstone, like diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires.

4.  Cutting facets is limited to transparent or translucent gemstones:

This is another misleading statement that is true only partially. Not all transparent gemstones can be given a faceted cut. However, some opaque gemstones like black spinel and gray diamond are common examples that can be faceted.

Faceted transparent gemstones, undoubtedly, attract more price, and that’s why it is a common myth among gemstone dealers that opaque gemstones can’t be faceted.

5.  Faceting is wastage of gem surface:

Faceting involves removal of unwanted planes and angles. It is done only when the gemstone brilliance is not at par with the required standards of clarity, color, and brilliance.

While it indeed involves removal of material, the per-carat rate of a faceted, a brilliant gemstone is always higher than the uncut, raw gems. Diamond-cut, Princess-cut, and Round-cut or Brilliant cut are common faceting samples done on various gemstones like diamond, emeralds, sapphires, agate and rubies.

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Briolette Cut: The Oldest Gem Cutting Technique

Gemstones across the world are cut in different shapes and sizes to reveal their most fascinating aspects like brilliance and fluorescence, with minimum wastage of raw gemstone while cutting. The most popular gemstones are mostly cut with a flat table and pavilion facets. Preferred over other cuts, the crown and pavilion are preferred owing to the maximized beauty and brilliance.

Thus, it is the amount of light that the can pass through the gemstones that make them viable in the market. And it all depends on the cut made. In this play of cuts and shapes, the art of making Briolette gems have regained their importance in the last few years.

How old is the briolette culture?

The first briolette was probably cut in the 15th century for the King of England, Henry V. However, they gained prominence after a special briolette necklace was presented to the French Empress Marie Louise, gifted by none other than Napolean, the Great. Currently exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution, the lovely diamond necklace has 10 briolette gemstones weighing over 40 carats in total.

The Indian Connection:

The mention of the briolette cutting of gemstones finds their origin in India. However, there is no concrete evidence to prove this. The Briolette of India, one of the oldest diamonds in the world was the first briolette to be ever cut.

A colorless diamond, this briolette gemstone weighs over 90.4 carats. It was acquired by King Louis VII’s consort, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Even Koh-I-Noor is believed to have sported briolette cut before it was robbed from the Indian treasury by the Persian invaders in the 17th century.

Why briolette gemstones are hard to cut?

The briolette gems and beads have a unique tear drop gemstone shape that has pointed tip and curved top. It takes many strokes of cutting to derive the shape. Hard to manufacture by hand, even best machines and Laser-cutting tips can’t generate the perfect Briolette gemstones. Relatively soft gemstones like quartz, emeralds, turquoise, aquamarine, oval and chalcedony are cut into briolette shapes.

Briolette setting:

Briolette gemstones are mounted on wires and strings by using sandblasting techniques. The procedure increases the overall surface area of the finished briolette, which means that the gemstone will have clear peaks and valleys for superior structural strength.
Adhesives can also be used, but only to fill gaps up to 0.04”.

Modern machines to make briolette gemstones:

The briolette-cut gemstones are usually manufactured by making a cross-drill using laser beam or pin. It requires expertise to make the cut, as briolette gemstones can’t be held together using adhesives. One of the costliest cuts in the market, briolette gemstones are 100% adhesive free and often come with conical caps.

The drilling is done by an Ultrasonic machine that minimizes chipping and prevents breakages mid-operation. The quality of briolette is examined by checking the degree of flatness, tip radius, angle of cut and diameter of the gemstone.

Higher the quality, higher will be the quoted price. Of course, the color and the raw material are primary factors that decide the price of the finished gemstone.

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Topaz Shopping: 5 Factors to Consider

Since ages, topaz has been referred to as a mystic stone owing to its connection with witchcraft, sorcery, and medicine. In ancient times, it was believed that topaz could cure lunacy and intoxication. A protection stone of sorts, the value of topaz has dropped significantly in recent years due to large scale focus on colored transparent gemstones like sapphires, rubies, and diamonds. However, topaz gemstones still hold a commanding position in the market. Here are 5 factors that buyers must consider before making a deal on topaz gemstones.

1.  The color:

Like a diamond, pure diamond is a transparent gemstone with a slight blue or pink tinge. The tint appears due to a presence of many impurities in the gemstone. A typical topaz exudes vibrant colors like tangerine, yellow, citrine and reddish-orange.

Some topaz gemstones are also available in dark brown, green, champagne and reddish blue shades. Lighter the color of the topaz, older the gemstone’s origin is. For instance, the oldest topaz gemstone is a pale green rock that is at least 200 million years old. Stones older than that age are hard to extract owing to the drastic change in the earth’s crust that has occurred since that period.

2.  Artificial colors and irradiation:

Colored topaz gemstones are very hard to find. In order to meet the demand from the market, natural gemstones are exposed to various heat treatments and artificial color enhancement process. One of them is gemstone irradiation.

According to the latest reports, the topaz is the most commonly irradiated gemstone in the market. Close to 6000 kilograms of topaz gemstones are irradiated each year.

The irradiation process of topaz is done by bombarding the crystal structure of the gemstone by neutrons in a nuclear furnace, under controlled conditions. The process produces the vibrant play of color, mostly close to the blue spectrum.

Topaz gemstones that are irradiated artificially are observed to have smooth color stability and uniform clarity.

3.  Pleochroism:

Topaz gemstones exhibit a very special optical phenomenon called pleochroism. The best way to identify a pure topaz is to look for this particular optical phenomenon under UV radiation.

When held against a constant source of light, the topaz gemstone tends to change its color when rotated along different planes, Blue topaz gemstone
demonstrates the highest level of pleochroism, shifting its color between pale pink and light blue. At certain angles, the gemstone even tends to lose its color and appears as glass/silica structure.

4.  Best cuts:

Topaz gemstone ranks very high on the Mohs scale. It has a hardness factor of 8.0 which means that it can’t be easily scratched or cut. It is cut only by diamond cutters and abrasive pads. The most preferred topaz gemstone cuts that have maximum resale value are:

- Ovals
- Marquis
- Pear
- Heat briolette
- Emerald Cuts
- Step-cut/Faceted cube

For anniversary and engagement collections, the topaz gemstones with fancy cut are also very popular. The ideal size is usually 10x8 mm which is around 3 carats. Smaller gemstones are usually available in Brilliants and Princess Cut designs.

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How to tell if the Ruby Gemstone you are buying is Genuine & Natural?

Rubies, like all other gemstones, are evaluated on the basis of their color, clarity, carat and cut. Most buyers find it hard to distinguish between a natural ruby and an artificial one. Due to heavy market demands, the gemstone dealers often supply heat-treated rubies to the buyers. The heat treated rubies are brighter and are found to have less natural flaws. However, the healing properties that a ruby is known for are often missing in the artificial varieties.

Thus it is very important to understand what natural rubies look like, and learn how to distinguish them from the synthetic or heat-treated ones.

1.  Hardness test:

Natural rubies are virtually indestructible. With a hardness of 9.0 on Mohs scale, they are closest to diamonds in the gemstone family. They are hardly scratched and remain physically crack-proof for years. If the ruby is scratched by other gemstones, it is definite that the ruby has been artificially polished or irradiated to hide away blemishes.

2.  Asterism:

The rubies show a unique optical phenomenon not visible in other gemstones. Asterism, also called as the “Star effect”, is prominent in rubies cut in cabochons. Considering the fact that the natural rubies are the most stable form of aluminum silicates in the gemstone family, the star effect is rather very prominent. Asterism is mostly seen when a constant streak of light is passed through the gemstone, and it glows like a star. Asterism occurs due to the presence of natural impurities in the rubies. In Blue sapphire gemstones and pink rubies, this phenomenon is largely attributed to the Titanium oxide present in the crystal in the form of needles and rutile. Thus, a pure natural ruby is very hard to find, especially if the buyer is looking for a gemstone with flawless clarity.

Synthetic ones reveal only 5% of the star effect that is observed in a natural set.

3.  The size of the rubies:

Rubies are mostly available in standard sizes measuring 5mm x 3mm, 6mm x 4mm etc. However, this is only exclusive to rubies cut in oval shape. Calibrated cuts result in sizeable weight loss, which is often considered as a loss for the dealer. Thus, rubies are left uncut or at most given a round brilliant cut.

The size of the rubies decides the color maximization, brilliance, and clarity of the gemstone. Inclusions are often removed by grinding or faceting along the plane that contains the inclusion.

4.  Color test:

The finest rubies are neither pink nor red. They are more like scarlet shade, resembling the eye of the pigeon to be exact. However, rubies in other colors like red, orange, brown, burnt brown, gray, champagne, golden and tangerine are also found, and highly revered.
Depending on the hue, saturation, and tone of the color, the value of rubies is established.

5.  Misleading terms and genuine certificate:

Buyers are duped by sellers into buying rubies sold with dubious names like balas ruby and rubellite. Some glass crystals, spinels, and quartz are also marketed wrongly as rubies. The heat treatment test is best to identify the pure ruby. However, gem laboratories offer certificate on rubies to benefit the buyers. Always check it.ve

Sapphire Buying Guide: 6 Things to know before choosing a gemstone

The quintessential 4Cs used to define the diamond collection is not necessarily applicable to other gemstones. Sapphire is one of the best examples that showcase the fallacy of 4C principle. Despite sharing similar properties and physical brilliance, the sapphires have mostly stayed away from falling from the 4C charts. Buyers looking for sapphire having no clue about the factors that one must check, so they can use the following 6 pointers with great effect.

1.  Learn the 4Cs:

The 4Cs used to define the quality of diamond are;

- Color
- Cut
- Clarity
- Carat

The 4 Cs can be used for sapphires too, but only sparingly. How?

2.  Decide the Sapphire carats:

Different gemstones have different densities. Sapphires are heavier than diamonds, or for that matter, heaviest in the list of popular gemstones. A 2-carat gemstone will probably outweigh a 6 carat diamond.

A 6 mm sapphire is rated as 1-carat. Large blue sapphires are obtained with a carat weight of more than 50 carats. Smaller sapphires weighing less than 5.00 carat are used in engagement rings and bracelets.


3.  Sapphire clarity:

Sapphires have naturally more inclusions and blemishes than other gemstones. The common inclusions that affect the sapphire clarity are:

- Crystal spots
- Rutiles
- Needles and growth tubes
- Cracks and cleavages
- Color zoning
- Chips and cavities
- Halos

The clarity is also affected by scratches, nicks, and abrasions. The clarity of the sapphire is established by calibrating its level of transparency. The different sapphire categories lie between transparent and opaque levels. The grade of clarity could be flawless, internally flawed and Very-very-slightly included.


4.  Sapphire color:

Sapphire’s color is established by studying three factors. They are:

- Hue
- Saturation
- Tone

The hues of the sapphire include colors like blue, green, purple blue and green purple. The saturation of the color makes it gray or dark. The color of sapphire ranges between light and dark blue.

The way a sapphire is cut can amplify the color, enhancing the clarity and brilliance of the surface, Symmetry of the sapphire also plays an important role in ensuring highest clarity. Smooth edges of the sapphire also play a distinct role in producing a flawless clarity.

5.  Sapphire cut:

Like the Round Brilliants and Princess Cut of the diamond, sapphires have no particular “ideal” shape to reckon with. The lack of standardization in sapphires when it comes to choosing a sapphire cut hampers the retail value of the gemstone. Moreover, the gemstone laboratories too don’t promote any particular sapphire cut in particular.

6.  How are sapphires cut then?

The cut of the sapphire depends on the color and clarity exuded by the gemstone. The dark color sapphires are usually cut along shallow angles. This softens the hue and provides uniform saturation. The lighter sapphires are cut deep to magnify the hue.

The table is the most important facet of the sapphire, which is cut flat to provide asymmetric contour to the gemstone. Once the 4Cs are established, the buyer can make a deal.

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The Interesting World of Baroque Pearls

Most pearl buyers vouch for lustrous and shiny white beads. Perfectly round, and absolutely no flaw whatsoever- that is what every buyer demands from the pearl dealer, isn’t it! Going by the current trends in the pearl market, there are other shapes that make more buzz compared to the round ones. And baroque pearls are one of them. Straight from the pearl farms, the baroques are set in enticing neck pieces, earrings and bracelets.

So what are baroque pearls after all? Here is a quick buying guide on baroques.

Any pearl that is unsymmetrical and non-spherical are tagged as baroque. In the gemstone industry, baroque pearls hold a place of significant respect considering the multitude of shapes and sizes available in this category. Most baroques appear in ovoid and lumpy shapes, as if they were extruded from a narrow opening.

In order to understand how baroques are obtained, a buyer has to know the source of the pearl. Baroques are mostly produced from farmed freshwater and seawater molluscs. South Sea and Tahitian pearls are the largest contributors to the family of baroques.

Types of baroques:

Apart from the origin and the location from where baroques are extracted, this pearl category has a huge range of variety. For instance, Keshi pearls which have no centre or nucleus, and look like boiled rice particles. They are completely made of nacre which makes them an invincible item to own.

Another popular variety is the Egg baroque or tear-drop baroque. Owing to their oval symmetry, these baroques are easy to drill through and beaded into necklace.

Baroques resembling coins and dumbbells are also very popular. Fused pearls have an enhanced iridescence, making them an instant sell-out item. Baroques are wonderful collectibles, considering the range of size, shape and of course colour that you can explore.

Baroque grading:

While buying a baroque, you should look for the quality rating of the pearl given by leading gem regulating agencies. In the commercial market, a baroque of acceptable quality is given a rating of AAA-A. It is a combination of American and Tahitian scale of quality rating. AAA represents the nacre thickness of over 0.4 mm, while the suffix “A” highlights the lustre intensity of 95%. Other grades of baroques available in the market are AAA-B, AA-A, and so on.

Hand-crafted or machine processed:

Hand-crafted baroque pearls are stylish items. Owing to the asymmetrical shape, they are difficult to process using machines. Hand-crafted Tahitian baroques are usually set in twisted leather, often preferred by men. Baroques, unlike the Akoya pearls have unisex appeal, and the handcrafted engravings make them even more lovable.

The setting of baroque:

Baroque pearls are set into necklace of different lengths. They are perfect for designs in choker, collar, matinee and opera lengths. Due to their non-uniform shapes, they look rather rustic and have a touch of asymmetry, unlike what you expect in an Akoya or a coin pearl.

Baroques might seem like a rough investment at the first instance, but they are definitely at par with other varieties of pearl.

Pearl grading: Approximate method but proven consistency

Pearls are a classy set of organic gemstones extracted from the bottom of the ocean. Bright and shiny nacre pearls have always been an item of fascination for women. Much before diamonds became a woman’s “Best friend for life”... the tag definitely belonged to the pearls. If you are looking for a lustrous set of pearls in the market, you should know how they are certified for authenticity and clarity.

Why are pearls graded?

Like all high priced items, pearls too have to fulfil the regulated set of characters and factors to make it into the real gemstone market. Certified graded pearls earn higher prices compared to those that have no backing from any certifying agency. Even from gifting point of view, a certified pearl is what most individuals prefer. Ungraded pearls run the risk of losing their dyes, lustre and sheen within a year’s time! And you don’t want to be tagged as a lousy pearl shopper for that reason.

Grading of pearls: The methodology:

Pearls are graded according to the contemporary best practices in the gemstone industry. Agencies like Swiss Gemological Institute (SGI), Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and Pearl Science Laboratory of Japan are forerunners in the study of organic pearls and designating them as commercially viable items.

One key thing to know in pearl grading is the fact that there is no universal grading system for them. There are two major grading scales used in the pearl industry.

-  American scale: AAA-A
-  Tahitian system: A-D scale

American scale of pearl grading:

Mostly applied to the Akoya pearls, the AAA grading marks the purest and the most physically perfect sets ever manufactured. According to this scale, the highest quality of any pearl is tagged as ‘Hanadama’.

Pearls with a thickness of 0.4 mm with a diameter of 0.8 mm are considered the purest and most perfectly formed material. And that is the benchmark reference for a Hanadama pearl.

AAA pearls: Pearls with 95% surface lustre intensity, with a nacre thickness of at least 0.4 mm.

AA pearl: Surface lustre between 75% and 90%, there is a visible spotting. The nacre thickness can be between 0.375 and 0.400 mm.

A pearl: Usually unpolished and undyed pearls are placed in this scale, where the surface lustre is less than 45%. Defects are evident and have nacre thickness of 0.25-0.30 mm. Still used for jewellery, but of cheaper quality.

Tahitian scale:

Polynesian pearls are graded based on the lustre intensity of the surface and the uniformity of shade.

A: Best pearl quality with least imperfection and highest lustre intensity
B: Pearl quality with 70% lustre consistency and no defects visible to eyes
C: Pearl lustre intensity at 60% but with significant spotting and minor colour inconsistency
D: Least lustre intensity below 50% with no major defects

According to the Tahitian scale, a pearl with a nacre thickness of less than 0.8 mm is not considered for sale in commercial market.
Both scales are accepted, as they more or less assure the pearl durability and consistency when used for commercial purposes.