icon

Free 2-Day FedEx On US Orders

*100-Day Free Returns Included

The Wide World of Pearls, Our 104th Issue: What is Pearl "Luster"?

 

 

Pearls of Joy Pearl Quote of the Week: "These pearls of thought in Persian gulfs were bred, Each softly lucent as a rounded moon; The diver Omar plucked them from their bed, Fitzgerald strung them on an English thread." -  James Russell Lowell

 

 

Eye Candy

Weekly Eye Candy Spotlight: Metallic Freshwater Pearls

 

 

MAJOR METALLICS

These intensely colored Metallic Freshwater pearls have been matched to perfection! We'd love to have a pair for some earrings. 

 

 

You Asked ...

Every day we receive questions from customers all over the world about pearls. We decided to post our answers here for every one to read!

Can You Tell Me What Pearl "Luster" Is?

What is Pearl Luster

 

 

We Answer:

Take a look at the pearls Kevin is holding in his hand above. Notice the detailed reflections in the pearls' surfaces and the brightness of the light sources reflected on the pearls? THAT'S luster!

Now that you know what luster looks like, let's talk about what all this actually means, and how luster as an attribute of pearls actually gets evaluated and graded. 

 

What is Pearl Luster

 

Luster is arguably THE MOST important aspect of a pearl’s value, beating out surface quality, symmetry of shape, size and color by a mile. If a pearl doesn't have nice luster, it just isn't going to be worth much. Luster is one of the famous “Value Factors” that jewelers, pearl specialists and appraisers use to grade pearls.

Pearl luster has three components:

  • Luster measures the rate of light reflecting off the surface of the pearl.
  • Luster measures the sharpness of reflection visible on its surface.
  • Luster also measures how well light beams break up through the nacre layers to refract back at the viewer, giving very fine quality pearls a subtle “glowing” aspect.

 

Akoya Pearl Luster

 

Akoya Pearl Luster

Akoya pearls are known around the world as having the highest quality luster of all pearl types. The luster is so sharp, shiny and reflective that Akoya pearls are often described as having “Mirror-sharp” or “Ball-bearing” luster.

Akoya pearl luster can be graded as Excellent, Very High to Excellent, Very High, High, Medium and Poor.

“AAA Quality” Akoya pearls MUST have either "Excellent" or "Very High to Excellent" luster in order to qualify for the grade.

"AA+ Quality”  Akoya pearls should have luster that grades "Very High" or "High to Very High" to qualify.

 

Hanadama Pearl Luster

 

Hanadama Pearl Luster

Hanadama Akoya pearls will have the very highest graded luster of all Akoya pearls, which is “Excellent” … and then some! Hanadama pearls truly are the "Ferrari of the Pearl World" ...

For Hanadama Akoya, you can find the luster grade on the certification listed as “Teri-Value” which must be graded as “Very Strong”.

 

Freshwater Pearl Luster

 

Freshwater Pearl Luster

Freshwater pearls have long been thought to have the lowest luster of all pearl types, but that certainly doesn’t hold true today. That said, the luster of Freshwater pearls is generally softer and not as “crisp” as that of the Japanese Akoya. This is due to their solid crystal nacre make-up, which makes the pearls very durable. However, this composition slows down light beams reflecting back at the viewer making for a softer, more satin-like sheen overall.

Like Akoya pearls, Freshwater pearl luster can be graded as Excellent, Very High to Excellent, Very High, High, Medium and Poor.

“AAA Quality” Freshwater pearls must meet either "Very High to Excellent" or "Very High" luster in order to qualify for the grade.

"AA+ Quality”  Freshwater pearls should have luster that grades "Very High" or "High" to qualify.

 

Tahitian Pearl Luster

 

Tahitian Pearl Luster

Tahitian pearls are cultured pearls spend quite a bit of time in the water acquiring their thick layers of nacre … typically 2 years is the minimum. So it comes as no surprise that Tahitian pearl luster is described as “satiny”. But that doesn’t mean that Tahitian pearl luster can’t be sharp, highly reflective and totally beautiful.

Like other pearl types, Tahitian pearl luster is graded as Excellent, Very High to Excellent, Very High, High, Medium and Poor.

“AAA Quality”Tahitian pearls can have either “Excellent” or “Very High to Excellent” luster.

“AA+ Quality” Tahitian pearls should have luster that grades “Very High to Excellent” or “High to Very High” to qualify.

 

South Sea Pearl Luster

 

South Sea Pearl Luster

Like Tahitian pearls, White and Golden South Sea pearls are pearls that spend between 2-3 years in the water acquiring extremely thick nacre layers. These stunning pearls have luster that is also often described as “satiny” looking, but these stunners are not limited to soft luster levels at all. Quite the contrary, fine quality White and Golden South Sea pearls can have a deep, lustrous glow and silky shine that is unlike any other pearl type out there today.

South Sea pearl luster is graded as Excellent, Very High to Excellent, Very High, High, Medium and Poor.

“AAA Quality” South Sea pearls can have either “Excellent” or “Very High to Excellent” luster.

“AA+ Quality” South Sea pearls should have luster that grades “Very High to Excellent” or “High to Very High” to qualify.

 

Email Us a Question

 

 

Weekly Video

 

 

 

Watch the Pearls of Joy Weekly Video Review

 

 

Featured Pearls

Weekly Product Spotlight: White South Sea Pearl and Diamond Theodora Pendant

 

 

White South Sea Pearl and Diamond Theodora Pendant

  • This exquisite pendant features a 14mm White South Sea pearl, handpicked for its radiant luster.
  • The pearl is mounted on the finest 18K gold with dazzling SI clarity diamonds.
  • This pendant is packaged in a beautiful jewelry gift box.
  • Pendant arrives with Care Instructions and Certificate of Authenticity.

 

View Product Details

Sign Up for Instant Savings!

Get it Quick

Free 2-Day FedEx on all orders within the USA. Overnight delivery options start at $35.

Orders Ship Fast

Most orders ship within 1-2 business days, sometimes same day.

We Ship Worldwide

International shipping is affordable and fast. Most international packages arrive in 2-4 business days.

Worry Free Delivery

Your package is fully insured. If your order is lost or stolen before delivery, we got you covered.