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Cultured Pearl Nacre

Nacre is the substance from which pearls are made. Since nacre determines luster, nacre quality is a critical factor when determining a pearl's value. Generally speaking, the thicker the nacre, the more valuable the pearl. Thick nacre not only looks better than thin, it also is much more durable.

Nacre Quality Classifications

Nacre quality is usually broken up in three categories:
  • Acceptable - This pearl isn't chalky. The nacre is usually uniformly thick enough that you cannot see the nucleus, the bead placed in the oyster or mussel to cause it to create nacre. A slight "blink" or glimpse of the nucleus is permissible.
  • Nucleus Visible - This pearl shows strong blinking, a flickering of darker and lighter, when you rotate it. The flicker of dark is the nucleus, which can be quite noticeable in thin-nacre pearls.
  • Chalky Appearance - a dull and whitish pearl. The thin nacre on these gems never developed that glow that makes a pearl special.
Note: If dealing with quality pearls, they should fall into the "acceptable" category

Nacre Value

Pearls that are chalky, dull or that blink aren't as attractive as those that are gleaming and solid, they also won't be as durable. Freshwater pearls are almost completely nacre. They and their saltwater counterparts with thick nacre will look beautiful and last for many years.

Pearls with thick nacre have more of a chance of having a high-quality luster. The arrangement and translucence of each nacre plate determines the luster. Some thick-nacre pearls lose points when it comes to value because they don't have great luster.

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