Grades of pearl

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Is there any objective way to grade pearl. I see it called "exhibition grade" or "presentation" and AAA etc, etc. Does it really mean anything?
 
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Yes it really does mean something, it's graded by color and quality. The lower grade pearl will usualy have cracks on the back side and imperfections in it.
The low grade stuff is a nightmare for the maker, where the high grade pearl is a pleasure to work with and it shows in the finished product. You get what you pay for in pearl. ;)

Don Hanson lllsunfishforge.com
 
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In My experience, Darren, :) dealers will call the grade of pearl anything that sounds good at the time, however, when makers buy it from the suppliers, it is graded in a way that's more meaningful, but by the time the dealer or maker sells the knife, it's anybody's guess what the grade actually was. The only way to know is to see the pearl with your eyes and decide for yourself how nice it is. I love "exhibition grade" pearl, because this means, the knife is now suitable to be looked at. :)

One way to try to judge pearl, short of seeing it in person, is by the maker, some makers are known for the quality of their pearl and keep it consistantly high, same with stag and ivory. For example, I have never seen a Pease folder with less that top of the line pearl, nor a Dake, for stag, Pease is also one of the best, and from my recent, though limited experience with Don Hanson, I would say his pearl, ivory and stag are exceptional.

Here is some pearl on a Pease folder of mine, it remains the best white pearl I have yet seen.

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Hey Don, stop screwing around on BF and pack up my knife. :) Which, by the way, sports some very sweet fossil walrus ivory... :)
 
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OK, OK, Ari, just calm down and take a deep breath, you will get your folder soon. ;)
That is some killer pearl on the Pease folder.

Don Hanson lll
 
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I appreciate the responses, I was mainly talking from a finished knife perspective. I guess that's where I got the impression it didn't mean much, and some dealers (especially of factory knives) use the term "presentation or Exhibition grade" pretty loosely.

By the way that is awsome pearl on that Pease folder, and a great pic ;)
 
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I don't belive the factory guys use presentation or exhibition grade pearl on there knives, the stuff just cost too much. They have ways of working around the flaws and imperfection to were the finished product looks pretty good.

Don Hanson lll
 
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Has anybody ever seen: "Super-Duper, mega-riffic, astounding-grade, show and tell quality, knock your socks off pearl" ? :)
 
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This all just serves to remind me that I don't presently have a pearl-handled custom in my collection. Darn. Something else to add to the list. :grumpy:

Roger
 

SharpByCoop

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Pearl is the hardest to photograph, and it almost *never* does the real thing 'justice'. That's because it is irridescent, and so it changes appearance with every degree of motion. Any snapshot of a good pearl knife is like a still frame from a movie sequence. It's never quite the same.

White and gold pearl also benefits from having LESS light reflected off it, rather than more. When I have enough light to capture the rest of the knife, the pearl is a little washed out. I have, in rare cases, resorted to taking two images of the same knife at different f-stops and overlaying the darker pearl onto the brighter image. The eye makes this distinction, but the camera isn't so smart.

Hovering a darker reflector over the handle area also works.

That said, Ari's shot of that pearl is about as dramatic as I would hope for. Nice job. :)

Coop
 

Danbo

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Sorry, Coop. You're no longer allowed to post in this thread without posting a picture or two. ;) :)
 
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SharpByCoop said:
Pearl is the hardest to photograph, and it almost *never* does the real thing 'justice'.
Coop

Well, it's nice to know that even the pros have a hard time with this. ;) Every picture I have ever taken of past pearl-handled knives has been a fairly lifeless rendition of the real thing.

Damn. This pearl-craving is not going away. :rolleyes: Hey Murray, I want my Bradshaw dagger back! :grumpy:

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Cheers,

Roger
 

SharpByCoop

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OK, I'll pay....

White pearl

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'Black' pearl

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Both are very good examples. (No tricks on Andre's shot). Sorry, I couldn't find any images of gold pearl.

Funny, but I just shot a sequence of images of a LARGE raw pearl shell and some cutouts that would be made into handle materials from it. They are going to be in the upcoming 'Custom Fixed Blades' book by Dr. David Darom. But.... I am not at liberty to post them now. You'll see them soon enough... ;)

Coop
 
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Wow, thanks Jim,, coming from you, that's a high compliment, since my goal is to one day take pictures as crisp and professional looking as yours.

Here is a shot I took of a really sweet Dake double action auto, 4.25" blade of Mary Dake forged damascus, I believe the bolsters are by her as well, this Dake is a little unusual because instead of his usual damascus semi-hidden, flush oval release button, here, it is a nice inlay of black pearl. Nice combo. And, the white pearl is pretty choice, definitely super-duper grade. :)

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Family Photo... :)

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OK, while I'm at it, I figured I'd post a pic of the last 2 of my pearl knives, man, I'm running low on pearl knives, need to get some more... :) This one is the handle of a Corbit dagger.

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And, last but not least is a Kious folder. Don't you just sometimes want to eat your knives? :)

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OK, let me stress, the following knives are not mine, hard as I might wish it to be true, but they are some pretty nice pics of pearl. :) One is a bowie from some guy named Jerry, hey Rog, you like bowies, right? :)
 

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Won't let me post another picture, so, one more post, then I have to get some sleep, but, anybody happen to catch this new Newton MS. folder on KA? Holy CRAP!!! :eek: :eek: :eek:
 

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Hey Ari,

I remember when that pearl-handed bowie by that no-name maker came up for sale. It had me contemplating bank robbery in a big way. :D

Nice collection of pearl and other knives you have there.

Roger
 

Arthur Washburn

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This is taken from Culpeppers MOP website.

Presentation Grade is the highest grade of Mother of Pearl obtainable. This grade of pearl has no fractures, defects, discoloration, holes or unfavorable markings.

"A+" Grade is very similar to Presentation grade. Usually, this grade will have one very minor flaw at one end of the scale. This flaw will usually include yellow coloration, and/or a slight fracture. Usually, this flaw can be cut around or trimmed away.

"A" Grade is also a very high grade of pearl. Pieces will have a flawless front side. The reverse side will generally have minor shallow fractures, some yellow coloration, and/or a slight worm hole that can be avoided.

"B" Grade is still a workable grade of Mother of Pearl and is commonly used by beginning knife makers or knife makers that make relatively inexpensive knives. "B" grade Mother of Pearl will still have a flawless front side. The reverse side will have some deeper fractures, more discoloration, a larger worm hole that has been filled, and/or some exterior bark.
 
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