Pearls have been bought and sold for thousands of years; however, there still is no universally-accepted, standardized grading system. The specific grading system that is used usually depends upon the specific jeweler or pearl distributor. Because no two pearls are ever alike, a universal grading system would require hundreds of quality parameters in order to maintain uniformity. Two major grading systems are in fairly widespread use: the AAA-A system and the A-D system. However, these systems can become very misleading if a seller misuses terms from the grading system and incorrectly describes a pearl. Some sellers commonly use a term that is not even in the grading system (such as “AAAA”) to make it appear that the pearl is beyond even the highest standard quality. In reality, that seller’s “AAAA” pearls would actually be equivalent to “AAA” grade, and their “AAA” pearls might only be equivalent to the commonly used “AA.” Most reputable pearl dealers consider terms such as “AAAA” and “AAA+” to be in bad taste, or even dishonest. Such misleading terms are seen as a way to simply charge the customer more without providing a superior product. With this in mind, PacificPearls.com gives our customers the most accurate information about the quality of each individual piece on our website. You can find detailed product information on each individual product page. All of our pearls have been carefully evaluated based on the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Pearl Value Factors™, including size, color, shape, luster, nacre, and species.