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"Formerly a big pearl meant a good thickness of nacre, but with the supergrafts used today, size is no guarantee. If you are buying a big expensive pearl, you have the right to ask for an x-ray of it which will enable you to see and measure the thickness of the layers of nacre surrounding the nucleus. One millimeter of nacre is a minimum for a good pearl. "

A major black pearl company, Tahiti Pearls, also tells consumers in their book The Magic of the Black Pearl, that nacre thickness is a criteria used to judge black pearls. They indicate a 1mmto 1.5mmnacre thickness as an appropriate range for black pearls.

Hisada and Komatsu of Mikimoto Co. put nacre thickness at the top of their list of pearl quality factors (Pearls of the World p.90).They say:

"Nacre thickness is an essential factor in judging the elegance of the pearl. Its beauty and durability lies on the thickness of the nacre, its quality and quantity.”

Techniques of distinguish the nacre thicknesses of Akoya pearls do not work as well on black pearls. The nacre of black pearls may mask the layers of a shell bead nucleus that might be visible in a thin-nacre Akoya pearl. Dealers use luster as a guide to nacre thickness because a good deep luster signals nacre thickness.

Usually, an effective way to determining the nacre thickness of black pearls is with an x-ray. And if you spend a large sum of money on a pearl necklace, it is advisable for you to check the nacre thickness with x-ray and determining if the color is natural. But what should you do if you pay several hundred yuan for a black pearl pendant .An x-ray in a case like this is not worth the money. So choose pearls with as a high of a luster as possible and buy your pearls from jewelers who tell you that nacre thickness is one of the important factors.

SURFACE PERFECETION: Surface texture refers to the clearness and smoothness of the pearl. It is the near absence of imperfection on the surface. No pearl has the perfect surface, but minimum and nearly imperceptible flaws affect its overall look and value. Pearls are graded depending on its imperfections, like spots, bumps, discolorations and other irregularities that show on its surface. Blemishes on single pearls tend to be more obvious that on those in strands. It is normal for pearl strands to have some flaws.
When choosing fine black pearls, remember above several factors that contribute to its beauty and value. Also, when you look at pearl prices in ads and catalogues, remember that they are meaningless if an adequate description of pearls is not included. It is easy for you to take advantage to bargain with jewelers to reduce the price.



In the book, Black Pearls of Tahiti,Dr. Jean-Paul Lintilhac says that jewelers in Tahiti are worried about the thinness of the nacre of some of the pearls offered to them for sale, he continues that certain pearls farmers are in such a hurry to recover their investment that they harvested their pearls prematurely and as a result the nacre is very thin. Then he writes :
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