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Akoya Pearl Grading

Japanese Akoya Grading Guide

All of the Akoya pearls at PearlsOnly are Japanese Akoya pearls imported
directly from Japan. All of our pearls are reviewed by the
Japanese Pearl Export Association and tagged with the JPEA Tag to
ensure quality and lasting value.
Japanese Pearl Export Association Tag for Genuine Japanese Akoya Pearls
PearlsOnly uses the AAAA Pearl Quality Grading System to grade its
Japanese pearls. All Japanese Akoya pearls are graded and assigned
a grade on these following value factors:

  • Luster
  • Surface
  • Shape
  • Nacre Thickness

Hanadama Grade

AAAA Quality Akoya Hanadama Pearls Our AAAA grade is reserved for the utmost best Japanese Pearls in the world. This quality is also referred to as Hanadama Quality. Pearls that achieve a grade of AAAA in ALL of the value factors, are of Hanadama Quality and can be Hanadama Certified. To learn more about Hanadama Pearls visit our Hanadama Education Pages.

Luster Grade

Luster or shine is the indication of
how well the pearl reflects the light.
A good way to think of luster is like
a mirror. It is a very important
value factor for the overall grade
of the pearls.

Akoya Pearl Luster Grading - Pearls Only






Nice light reflection,reflected image slightly fuzzy







Very good luster,reflected image dear







Nice,sharp and very dear reflection







Outstanding luster amazing reflection and clarity

Body (Surface) Grade

Surface describes any divots, small natural scratches and other pearl imperfections on the body of the pearl.

Akoya Pearl Body Grading - Pearls Only






82% of the pearl surface is clean however imperections are visible on the surface







91% of the pearl surface is clean. When looking at the pearl closely it is possible to see small and occasional imperfections







96% of the pearl surface is clean.Imperections that are present are not easy to find-pearl must be carefully studied to see imperfections







99% of the pearl surface is clean.Extremely detailed and up-close study of the pearl is needed to find imperfections

Shape Grade

Pearls grow in various shapes, from baroque to perfectly round, and anywhere in between. The roundness of the pearl can be very small, however those pearls reaching the perfect roundness, also command the most expensive price.

Akoya Pearl Shape Grading - Pearls Only






Non-symmentncal,off-round - slightly irregular







Round casual observer, slight off-round symmetry







The peans are of spherical shape







he pearls are of a near perfect spherical shape







Irrgular shape with atypical growth







Tear drop shape perfect

Nacre Grade

Nacre thickness indicates how thick is the coating of the pearl. Nacre thickness is easily spotted by how shiny (lustrous) the pearl is and bythe process know as 'rolling' and evaluating the pearl for a phenomenon called blinking.

Akoya Pearl Nacre Grading - Pearls Only






Thin nacre with low luster level







Nacre of medium thickness but with good luster







Good nacre thickness, tightly woven nacre







Very thick, high quality nacre