Buying Guide

The Surface of a Pearl

Qualities of Pearls - Surface

Most pearls will have some normal surface characteristics or irregularities.

The presence of these surface characteristics may add to a pearl's individual beauty but, if significant, could suggest that its durability might be affected.

The surface condition of a pearl is judged by the size, number, location, visibility and types of these blemishes.

The different qualities of Surface in the GIA Pearl Description System are:

Clean Blemish free, minute surface marking
Lightly Spotted Some minor surface irregularities
Moderately Spotted Noticeable surface characteristics
Heavily Spotted Obvious, possibly affecting durability
Poor Dim and diffused