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Video:How to Do a Pearl Appraisal

with Abbott Taylor

A pearl appraisal can be helpful in determining the value of your jewelry. Learn about the different guidelines for a pearl appraisal, including color, size of pearl and blemishes.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Do a Pearl Appraisal

Hi. I'm Abbott Taylor, from Abbott Taylor Jewelers in Tucson, Arizona, here for About.com.

Now we're going to talk about pearls and the different qualities that appraisers look at to Give them their value. Pearls have major factors that are used to describe the quality of a pearl. Round and it's approach from regular to round. The more it gets to round, the more expensive it's going to be. Then there's luster. Luster has to do with the surface reflectivity. If it glows and you see the change in light in the room around you and you might almost be able to see a reflection in the surface of the pearl.

Pearl Appraisal: Surface Blemishes

Surface blemishes. You can have a perfectly round pearl or a blister pearl or a very irregular baroque pearl and the surfaces can be very smooth. If you have a round pearl that is perfectly smooth that's most valuable.

If it has pock marks or dimples in it, or irregularities, or places where there's indentations, or abrasions or cut lines that go around the pearl. These are all things that reduce its value. Thickness of nacre has to do with how thick the outer shell of the pearl is.

Pearl Appraisal: Cultured Pearls

Pearls are cultured pearls. There's very little evidence that there are any live natural pearls in the wilderness left today. The only natural pearls, pearls that were not cultured, but found in nature, have long since left the planet. And they're all antiques -- very, very valuable, mind you.

Natural pearls are a different story and they have to checked by x-ray. If they're not drilled then you can't look through the hole. Then you have to x-ray them to see whether they are natural or they are cultured.

Pearl Appraisal: Size and Color

Size: One of the more important factors is physically how large it is. Because the way cultured pearls are made, they take either a mother of pearl bead, made from the shell of an oyster, and they implant it into the muscle. They make it round, they make it perfectly shaped, and they implant it into the muscle of the oyster.

The oyster then produces the nacre that goes over the surface of that. And the longer it grows in that muscle the thicker the nacre gets. So size is very important. And it gets exponentially more expensive per half millimeter after it reaches eight millimeters.

The hue, and tone and color of the pearl: So, there's cream, white, and pink or rosé, the rosé being a much more valuable pearl then the white, and the white being more valuable then a cream.

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