Size and Shape of South Sea Pearls





Luster describes the beauty you see as light travels through the nacre of the pearl. Luster is not to be confused with surface shine. Luster conies front deep within the nacre, much as light filters from the depths of a clear blue sea. Only South Sea Pearls have the depth and, more importantly, the quality and richness of nacre for the light to be so perfectly refracted to produce true luster.


Pearls may have surface characteristics which may or may not detract from the pearls' beauty depending on the quality, depth or visibility or the blemishes. South Sea Pearls are graded into 4 complexion categories:

  1. Statement: Exceptional quality, the surface is spotless and the nacre is effectively free of movement, with exquisite deep luster and the finest quality nacre.
  2. Fine: Premium quality, the surface appears spotless and the nacre appears to be free of movement. On close in inspection, however, very slight imperfections in the surface and/or movement may be seen. The pearls have beautiful luster and very fine quality nacre.
  3. Fashion: High quality pearls, from a normal viewing distance the surface may appear clean and free of movement. However, upon closer inspection the pearls may have imperfections in the surface and slight movement. Pearls have beautiful luster and very fine quality nacre.
  4. Foundation: Good quality pearls, From a normal viewing distance the surface has visible spots and the nacre may have noticeable movement. Pearls have good luster and fine quality nacre.


South Sea cultured pearls dominate the pearl world in quality and size, and are generally found in sizes between 10mm and 15mm. When found, rarer pearls
from 16mm to in excess of 20mm are highly prized by connoisseurs.

pearl size


They say that beauty is in the eye: of the beholder and this is certainly the case when it comes to pearl shapes. Due to the thickness of` their nacre, South Sea cultured pearls are found in an interesting variety of shapes. The shape of a pearl does not affect its quality. For convenience, South Sea cultured pearls are graded into twelve shape categories. Examples include:

pearl shape

The photographs of the shapes shown are representative samples of the various shapes and qualities available. As a product of nature, each pearl is rare and unique. The pearls you purchase may not look exactly like: the images shown.


The most popular color is white or white with slight overtones. The overtones colors of the South Sea cultured pearl are the natural colors of the South Sea pearl shell and cover the full spectrum of the rainbow including pink. It should be noted that all Stuller & Paspaley South Sea cultured pearls are of natural color and luster and are not enhanced by any artificial means.


Size and Shape of South Sea Pearls