Grading Standards

All Avaiki pearls comply with a robust, common grading system. Developed by the Cook Islands Pearl Authority (CIPA), the grading system takes account of the best aspects of gem-based grading systems around the world, the characteristics of Cook Islands pearls and the needs and expectations of international customers.

CIPA have produced an easy-to-read, illustrated Classification and Grading Manual. This booklet describes and visually depicts pearl classification by weight, specific shape, size/method of measurement, lustre, surface quality and grading categories.

To ensure a consistent thickness of nacre on Cook Islands pearls, the new grading system also requires that farmers adopt a minimum period for retaining shells in the water. For the first seeding, this is 18 months and for the second and subsequent seedings, 12 months.

All Avaiki pearls that have been evaluated according to the new grading system have this fact clearly identified on the certificate of authenticity.

Pearls are described by their size, shape and quality. The quality of each pearl is determined by evaluating the special characters of the surface and lustre. Avaiki pearls are classified according to the following grading standards. Only pearls of grade C and above qualify for the Avaiki brand.