These stunningly lustrous Blue Hanadama Akoya pearls are a perfect fit for this newsletter focused all about 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:
All four of the major pearl types require a rating of “High to Very High” luster in order to be graded “AAA Quality”. However, each pearl type plays with light in its own unique way and should be evaluated on a scale that takes that into account.
Akoya pearls will feature a white body color, either warm or cool toned. The overtones laid over the principal body color are usually fairly pronounced, but can vary in intensity.
You could have Akoya pearls, and then you can have HANADAMA Akoya pearls! Hanadama Akoya are the absolute cream of the crop when it comes to cultured Akoya pearl harvests - literally the "Ferrari of the Pearl World."
Hanadama Akoya are hand-selected during the sorting process and set aside as having the highest rate of luster, best color and surface quality. They are then sent to the Pearl Science Laboratory in Tokyo for independent quality testing and certification.
Each pair of Hanadama pearl earrings and Hanadama pearl necklace comes with its own individually numbered PSL Certificate guaranteeing the pearls reach the highest levels of pearl luster, thickest nacre layers and cleanest surface quality available.
Hanadama pearl luster can best be described as Extremely Sharp, with mirror-like reflective capabilities. The light return on these pearls is Very Bright and the pearls will have pronounced orient easily visible on their surfaces.
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.
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.
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.
To learn more about the exact metrics used for each pearl type's luster levels (and see more pearl pics!) visit our long-form Pearl Luster article in our Pearl Education section.