Mikimoto Pearl Necklace Grading

Which Grade?

  • A

  • A+


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rbf100

Member
Sep 8, 2023
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I am purchasing my first pearl necklace from Mikimoto. I know that they are the top in terms of pearl quality, so I am wondering if grade A will suffice? I could go up to A+, but don't know how worth it it is. Any input would be helpful!
 
I am purchasing my first pearl necklace from Mikimoto. I know that they are the top in terms of pearl quality, so I am wondering if grade A will suffice? I could go up to A+, but don't know how worth it it is. Any input would be helpful!
Would you be able to go in and view both. I find real life comparison is almost mandatory for pearls. You might find that the difference is not that crucial to you or that it makes such a huge impact that you would go for A+. I was comparing the studs in various qualities and find I love the lustre of the top grades. Please do let us know. I am interested to learn your opinion and decision too.
 
Agree with @periogirl28 that you should try on both in person. I went to the Fifth Avenue flagship with three girlfriends, two of whom were interested in mikimoto pearls. We all assumed we would love the top grade, but when seen against my friends skin, we all loved the next level down. Warmer, softer luster. I don’t recall the prices except that there was a significant difference. Although we focused on Akoya, as we were leaving, the SA pointed out some beautiful SS pearls in the case by the elevator.
 
Hi! I am a huge Mikimoto fan! I have strands from A to AA, but not AAA.
I would say there is minimal difference from A to A+. From A+ to AA, I can definitely tell. AAs are gorgeous!
There is another jump from AA to AAA. AAA is the bomb, like glass; there is no comparison.

For me, jumping from A to A+ is not ideal. I would jump from A to AA.
If you cannot go from A to AA, if it were me, I would stay with A and get larger size pearls.
I assume with the A to AAA grading question, you are talking about akoyas. I love akoyas, they glow like no other pearl type.

Try a half mm size bigger at A. A 0.5mm increase doesn't sound like much, but it is, and soon your eyes will be able to tell different pearl strand sizes.

Also, a few tips if I may since this is your first strand...
- Metal color... if you want to change the metal of the clasp from YG to WG (or vice versa), ask them to do sp when you buy it. It is free. Otherwise, you will have to payn you decide you want to swap it at a later date.

- M Charm... in case this matters to you, the M charm is now about 3" down from the clasp. Some strands still have the old placement which is 3 pearls down from the clasp. You can always ask them to move it, or in the future, when you get them restrung, just ask them to move it then. It's not a biggie; it's pure preference.

Keep in mind whatever grade you choose, Mikimoto is the top 5% of all pearls, so you are already getting gorgeous pearls! There is no bad Mikimoto pearl.

If you want to stay with A, you can also get a pair of studs (maybe get those in AA?). I love studs paired with strands. Clean, elegant, yet makes a nice statement.

Hope this helps and good luck! I am so excited for you! You will love your Mikimoto pearls!
 
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Hi! I am a huge Mikimoto fan! I have strands from A to AA, but not AAA.
I would say there is minimal difference from A to A+. From A+ to AA, I can definitely tell. AAs are gorgeous!
There is another jump from AA to AAA. AAA is the bomb, like glass; there is no comparison.

For me, jumping from A to A+ is not ideal. I would jump from A to AA.
If you cannot go from A to AA, if it were me, I would stay with A and get larger size pearls.
I assume with the A to AAA grading question, you are talking about akoyas. I love akoyas, they glow like no other pearl type.

Try a half mm size bigger at A. A 0.5mm increase doesn't sound like much, but it is, and soon your eyes will be able to tell different pearl strand sizes.

Also, a few tips if I may since this is your first strand...
- Metal color... if you want to change the metal of the clasp from YG to WG (or vice versa), ask them to do sp when you buy it. It is free. Otherwise, you will have to payn you decide you want to swap it at a later date.

- M Charm... in case this matters to you, the M charm is now about 3" down from the clasp. Some strands still have the old placement which is 3 pearls down from the clasp. You can always ask them to move it, or in the future, when you get them restrung, just ask them to move it then. It's not a biggie; it's pure preference.

Keep in mind whatever grade you choose, Mikimoto is the top 5% of all pearls, so you are already getting gorgeous pearls! There is no bad Mikimoto pearl.

If you want to stay with A, you can also get a pair of studs (maybe get those in AA?). I love studs paired with strands. Clean, elegant, yet makes a nice statement.

Hope this helps and good luck! I am so excited for you! You will love your Mikimoto pearls!
Awesome! I'm following this thread because I have the same questions as the OP. This reply has been really helpful to me! :smile:
 
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One more tip since I just remembered…

Length…
I am a huge fan of long necklaces. I am also very picky with where the strand lands on the torso. You can ask Mikimoto to customize the length for you.

For example, I bought a 30” strand that I wanted it to be 34”. I also bought a 34” strand that I wanted to be 38”.

No problem at all. You pay by the inch to add. Mikimoto will match the pearls exactly.

If you are buying a long strand and don’t quite like where it lands on you, no worries at all, you can make it perfect.
 
I bought my studs in person in NYC. I chose A+ instead of A. Honestly they looked basically the same on my ears but the A+ looked better on the tray and I wanted to be excited when I see them on my ears or off, so the relatively small jump in price was worth it for me. If I had unlimited budget I would go for the absolute best; you can definitely see the difference between each grade, but they are all beautiful.
 
Hi! I am a huge Mikimoto fan! I have strands from A to AA, but not AAA.
I would say there is minimal difference from A to A+. From A+ to AA, I can definitely tell. AAs are gorgeous!
There is another jump from AA to AAA. AAA is the bomb, like glass; there is no comparison.

For me, jumping from A to A+ is not ideal. I would jump from A to AA.
If you cannot go from A to AA, if it were me, I would stay with A and get larger size pearls.
I assume with the A to AAA grading question, you are talking about akoyas. I love akoyas, they glow like no other pearl type.

Try a half mm size bigger at A. A 0.5mm increase doesn't sound like much, but it is, and soon your eyes will be able to tell different pearl strand sizes.

Also, a few tips if I may since this is your first strand...
- Metal color... if you want to change the metal of the clasp from YG to WG (or vice versa), ask them to do sp when you buy it. It is free. Otherwise, you will have to payn you decide you want to swap it at a later date.

- M Charm... in case this matters to you, the M charm is now about 3" down from the clasp. Some strands still have the old placement which is 3 pearls down from the clasp. You can always ask them to move it, or in the future, when you get them restrung, just ask them to move it then. It's not a biggie; it's pure preference.

Keep in mind whatever grade you choose, Mikimoto is the top 5% of all pearls, so you are already getting gorgeous pearls! There is no bad Mikimoto pearl.

If you want to stay with A, you can also get a pair of studs (maybe get those in AA?). I love studs paired with strands. Clean, elegant, yet makes a nice statement.

Hope this helps and good luck! I am so excited for you! You will love your Mikimoto pearls!
This was such a helpful reply. My preference is 6.5mm since I prefer dainty and I am quite small. I actually already have a pair of studs, they are A+. I was thinking since mikimoto is already the top in terms of quality, maybe A is sufficient? I do not want to spend to AA right now. Also, from what I can see from the photos, it seems AA and AAA are much more metallic looking if that makes sense? I actually prefer A or A+ for more casual wear. It sounds like maybe I should go for A? Also, it is 18in, which I believe to be a very classic length. If I want it shorter, could they change it to 16 down the line? Thank you so so much!
 
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This was such a helpful reply. My preference is 6.5mm since I prefer dainty and I am quite small. I actually already have a pair of studs, they are A+. I was thinking since mikimoto is already the top in terms of quality, maybe A is sufficient? I do not want to spend to AA right now. Also, from what I can see from the photos, it seems AA and AAA are much more metallic looking if that makes sense? I actually prefer A or A+ for more casual wear. It sounds like maybe I should go for A? Also, it is 18in, which I believe to be a very classic length. If I want it shorter, could they change it to 16 down the line? Thank you so so much!
Hi! Yes, I think A is perfectly fine. They will be gorgeous as all Mikimoto pearls are beautiful.
The metallic you see in photos is actually the intense luster, the shine! AAA is like glass, you can see your reflection.
But go for A.

On length, here's my two cents on length...
First, buy the length you want, not what is classic. 18" is classic, but if you are small, 18" may land odd on you, too low on your chest. My guess is if you are quite small and you want to get 6.5mm, my gut feels say 16" may suit you better as it will land at a nicer spot.

If you know 16" will work and might want to lengthen to 18", I would 100% get the 16" first. I would not buy 18” with the intent of shortening it. Why?
Because for Mikimoto pearls, every pearl is money. If you buy an 18" and shorten it, you are now stuck with 2" worth of pearls that are useless. Each strand is perfectly matched, so one option to reuse your leftover 2" is to add 5" to make a 7" bracelet.

However for me, the better option is to first try the 16" length to see if you like it. If you like it, buy that first.
Then, down the line, if you want 18", you can ask Mikimoto to add 2".

For me, I don't like the idea of having leftover pearls that you can't do anything with.

As FYI... I did just this.
I had an 18" 8.5mm strand. However, I then bought a 18" 9.5m strand, so I never wore the 8.5mm anymore. Hmm... what to do with it? I made three bracelets! A bracelet is 7", so I needed a total of 21". I already had 18", so I asked Mikimoto to match pearls and add the 3". It worked out perfect!

So... in the future, if you decide say, you want a larger strand of pearls, this is an option too.

I am so excited for you! Good luck! You will love your pearls!
 
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Hi! Yes, I think A is perfectly fine. They will be gorgeous as all Mikimoto pearls are beautiful.
The metallic you see in photos is actually the intense luster, the shine! AAA is like glass, you can see your reflection.
But go for A.

On length, here's my two cents on length...
First, buy the length you want, not what is classic. 18" is classic, but if you are small, 18" may land odd on you, too low on your chest. My guess is if you are quite small and you want to get 6.5mm, my gut feels say 16" may suit you better as it will land at a nicer spot.

If you know 16" will work and might want to lengthen to 18", I would 100% get the 16" first. I would not buy 18” with the intent of shortening it. Why?
Because for Mikimoto pearls, every pearl is money. If you buy an 18" and shorten it, you are now stuck with 2" worth of pearls that are useless. Each strand is perfectly matched, so one option to reuse your leftover 2" is to add 5" to make a 7" bracelet.

However for me, the better option is to first try the 16" length to see if you like it. If you like it, buy that first.
Then, down the line, if you want 18", you can ask Mikimoto to add 2".

For me, I don't like the idea of having leftover pearls that you can't do anything with.

As FYI... I did just this.
I had an 18" 8.5mm strand. However, I then bought a 18" 9.5m strand, so I never wore the 8.5mm anymore. Hmm... what to do with it? I made three bracelets! A bracelet is 7", so I needed a total of 21". I already had 18", so I asked Mikimoto to match pearls and add the 3". It worked out perfect!

So... in the future, if you decide say, you want a larger strand of pearls, this is an option too.

I am so excited for you! Good luck! You will love your pearls!
Omg youre amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge. 18 inch looks decent on me, maybe i will go for A in 18 inch and then ask mikimoto to make me a bracelet with my extra 2 inches if i ever change my mind and want the 16. I normally never buy the “worst” quality in these things, but again if theres not a worth it enough jump between A and A+, i think A will suffice :smile:
 
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Omg youre amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge. 18 inch looks decent on me, maybe i will go for A in 18 inch and then ask mikimoto to make me a bracelet with my extra 2 inches if i ever change my mind and want the 16. I normally never buy the “worst” quality in these things, but again if theres not a worth it enough jump between A and A+, i think A will suffice :smile:
Okay, based on what you just said that you "never buy the worst quality"
My gut says you should go for the A+. Why?

Because...
I think you are already mentally biased and trying to convince yourself it's okay to get the A, just to save a few pennies. It's hard to love something that you feel you "settled" to buy. I've done that in the past, and in the end, I ended getting rid of it and buying what I really wanted.

You already have a 6.5mm A+, and while the difference in A to A+ is minimal, once you take the strand home, if you are going to keep staring at the A+ studs and A necklace to compare, purposely looking for that difference, yes, you will eventually see that minimal difference, especially if you are a detailed person. I'm a super detailed person, so for me, I can definitely see even the slightest difference. It's not a major jump, but it's there.

It's like diamonds... when one first looks at diamonds, it's hard to see E color vs F. Over time, as the eye gets trained, you can see it immediately.

Ask yourself if even the slightest difference is going to bug you, especially since you already have your A+ studs.
If yes, get the A+ because mentally, you will not regret it. Pearls in the same grade will look different as each pearl is unique. However, just knowing both are A+ will give you that peace of mind. This is especially if you think As are the "worst quality."

The extra money you spend now will soon be forgottten, but mentally, you'll know you have matching studs and necklace.
Don't "settle" as you won't be happy. If you go with the A, you need to truly be happy with it.

A few others thoughts I want so share as you continue with your Mikimoto collection...

Size...
You said you have 6.5mm studs. I am sure you know you have 6.0mm-6.5mm studs, as when people use a single number, it is always the larger number. However, there are some people new to pearls that use the first, smaller number. That's not correct, and it can cause you to buy the incorrect size. For example, your pearls might be 6.5mm-7.0mm, which then you really need to buy a 7.0mm strand. Just FYI as that 0.5mm difference is definitely visually apparent.

Overtone...
Akoyas come in rose overtone or silver overtone. I have both. The look is slightly different. Overtone is different than the pearl grade (e.g. A, A+, AA, AAA) which is based on Luster and Surface. Overtone is not part of the grade, and it is pure preference. When you look you at the strands, don't look at just the overtone. You can have a A with rose overtone or a A+ with silver overtone. Be sure to look at overtone separately than luster. For me, Surface is not a big priority for me; Luster is king in my mind.

Oh... you can practice your eye with pearl grading now as you already have studs!
Look at your studs. Luster is the glass, mirror-like finish. Stare at your pearl, you should be able to see a reflection of your head, albeit it a bit fuzzy. With AA and AAA, you will see a much clearer, more mirror like, crisp reflection, that "glow." So.. yes, since you have studs... go play with them! Move the pearl around in your hand, put the pearl close to your face and look for your head reflecting back from your pearl! :biggrin: :heart:

Also you can guess, the stud is just two pearl beads, and you will see a lot more pearl beads on a 18" strand. Just something to think about.

I am sure you will wear your studs when you go to the boutique to compare. Once you see the strands next to your studs, I think it will be easy for you to decide. Again, good luck!
 
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