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Pearls of wisdom: Unravelling the complex world of appraising pearls

By Gina D’Onofrio

Signed Carlo Giuliano gold Etruscan revival necklace with cave pearls.

Pearls have been treasured for centuries as a symbol of wealth and nobility. Yet, they are no longer reserved for the privileged few. Today, we can all enjoy pearls of infinite variety and at any price.

Keeping up with the abundance of choice is the appraiser’s challenge. When we study pearl identification and grading, the primary focus is on natural, cultured saltwater, and freshwater pearls. Recognizing the variety can be difficult, but determining their value can be just as daunting. This is not a guide to pearl grading, however. If you are a practicing appraiser, we can safely assume you are a gemmologist who has studied pearl grading. Right? If not, I suggest you take a pearl grading class from a reputable gemmological school and consult some of the references listed at the end of this article.

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