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In this blog, I'll share how I grade my enamel pins and what each grade means. Enamel pins are handmade so it is very rare to come across a pin that is absolutely perfect. There's no one-size-fits-all grading system. Every artist has their own unique grading system, and some may be more lenient than others, so it's essential to read through their grading system before making your purchase.
My grading system consists of two categories: A Grades represent the best and the closest to perfection in the batch, while B Grades are those with minor imperfections. I inspect my pins under natural lighting and carefully check for imperfects such as scratches, spots, low fill, and more.
A Grade pins are the closest thing to a perfect pin. They might have tiny flaws that are only noticeable up close and under bright light. Minor imperfections may include but are not limited to:
- small surface scratches or marks
- slight enamel under fill
- minor offset in screen printing
- faint dust in the enamel
- minor specks on the enamel surface
- light imperfections in the metal plating
A Grade pins are sold at full price and are perfect for collecting, displaying, or gifting to a friend!
B Grade pins may have some noticeable flaws, but they still showcase the artwork beautifully. The flaws are not significant enough to compromise the design. These pins can still make good display pieces if a collector doesn't mind some blemishes. Flaws may include but are not limited to:
- deep scratches or marks in the enamel
- noticeable areas of under-filled enamel
- noticeable air bubbles in the enamel
- missing enamel on a small portion of the pins
- missing metal lines
Even though B Grade pins are not perfect, they are still highly wearable and can make great display pins on hats or backpacks.
All my pins come with rubber clutches unless otherwise specified. I do check these for visual flaws, but minor imperfections are to be expected.