All About Pearls

At Mother and Daughter Jewellery we only use Round freshwater pearls that are AAA grade, the highest grade pearl, but what does that mean?

There are two major pearl grading systems that are used by nearly all reputable retail and wholesale pearl dealers. They are the 'AAA-A Grading System' and the 'A-D Grading System'. At Mother and Daughter we use the AAA-A Grading System.

The AAA-A Pearl Grading System:

The AAA-A Grading System grades pearls on a scale from AAA to A, with AAA being the highest grade. The grades are as follows:

  • AAA: Virtually flawless pearl. Surface lustre is very high, and 95% of surface is free from defects.
  • AA: The surface will have a very high lustre, and at least 75% of the surface is free from defects.
  • A: The lowest jewellery-grade pearl, with low surface lustre and/or more than 25% of the surface showing defects


Lustre refers to the intensity of light reflected from a pearl's surface. In general, the more lustrous a pearl is, the more valuable it will be.

Pearl Lustre

Surface Quality:

Surface Quality refers to the amount of blemishes or defects on a pearl's surface, which may include bumps, abrasions and spots. In general the more visible and the larger the area covered by these blemishes the lower the value of the pearl.

Surface Quality

Pearl Shapes:

There are three main categories of pearl shape: spherical, symmetrical, and baroque. In general, the more round a pearl is, the more valuable it is.

Pearl Shapes

Pearl Colours:

A pearl's dominant colour is called the Bodycolour, but it may also have two other components, the Overtone and the Orient. The Overtone refers to one or more translucent colours that overlie the bodycolour, and the Orient looks like a moving iridescence on or just below a pearl's surface.

The main pearl colours that Mother and Daughter use in their jewellery are as follows:

Freshwater colours at Mother and Daughte Jewellery

Do 'perfect' pearls exist?:

Yes, but as pearls are produced by oysters, which are living creatures, is it rare.