The Wide World of Pearls, Our 54th Issue: Comparing LUSTER: Akoya vs F
Metallic Freshwater pearls are one in 10,000 … literally.
These are Freshwater pearls with luster that is so incredibly sharp and reflective that it is the closest thing to getting fine Hanadama grade Akoya pearls (in terms of luster).
With Metallic pearls, there will be no hazing around reflected light sources, and you will see a mirror-like reflection on the pearl’s surfaces. A single pearl necklace featuring metallic pearls is ultra-rare.
“Metallic” Freshwater pearls MUST have Excellent luster in order to qualify for the classification.
The second biggest difference between Freshwater and Akoya pearls is their Luster.
While this is the second biggest difference between these two pearl types, it is the MOST important topic when it comes to buying valuable pearls.
Remember: if a pearl does not have nice luster, it is not much more than a bead.
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.
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 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.
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.
Baroque White Akoya Pearl Necklace: 8.5 – 9.0mm AA+
These natural color white Akoya pearls were hand selected for their high luster and strong overtones. While the baroque shape gives these pearls a delightful “from the ocean” appearance.
The baroque shape also has the added bonus of emphasizing the colorful overtones these pearls display. A rare find, pearls like this are nearly impossible to find elsewhere.
This particular strand is 18 inches in length, 8.5-9.0mm in size and AA+ in quality. All our strands are hand-knotted between each pearl for security. The pearls are strung with 100% silk thread and finished with a 14K white or yellow gold clasp.