Posted March 27th, 2012, 06:02 AM
Last edited by Skai; March 27th, 2012 at 06:13 AM
A simple internet search ought to be able to answer basic grading questions for you. Here's one webpage that answers some of your questions:http://www.blackmoonpearls.com/grading.htm
As for deals. There are plenty of pearl shops on the islands where one can
negotiate the price down with the proprietor...and of course one can buy directly from the source at a pearl farm (as I have done), but generally prices are going to be pretty similar wherever one goes. There isn't really a location where prices are going to be significantly cheaper (or at wholesale cost) for someone making small quantity purchases. Much like precious stones, the prices are directly based upon the size/grading scale.
As for getting ripped off. Most licensed dealers are legit, and one would likely be best served making their purchases from them. A person could however still get ripped off by paying too much to a street vendor for a lesser quality pearl.
For each nice higher quality single 10-11 mm pearl, expect to pay around $150-$175 USD.