The value of a pearl has much to do with the quality of the surface. The surface of a wild or cultured pearl will vary in cleanliness and the degree of marks on the surface of the pearl can be graded, although a pearl can never be considered flawless. The cleanliness of the surface can alter the look of the pearl and is one of the most important features in deciding the worth of the pearl. A pearl’s surface should always be clean, smooth and shiny with light reflecting properties. Lumps and bumps, scratches, fractures and lesions should be extremely minimal or lacking completely when it comes to the surface of a pearl.
The surface of a pearl is also graded on lustre; this is the quality and quantity of light that is reflected from the surface of the pearl. No pearl is 100% perfect and each will have a unique flaw. Irregularities are measured according to how they affect the appearance of the pearl and will affect the value of its worth. Any cracks in the pearl can seriously affect its worth, however minor abrasions are much less serious as they do not indicate a structure weakness and are often unnoticeable when it comes to the appearance of the pearl.