Disclaimer: Please note that all pinmakers have their own criteria when grading pins so what is considered B grade in one shop may be considered standard in another. Below is how I determine grades of my pins to make things less subjective.
There are three grades in my shop available: Standard, B Grade, C/Seconds Grade
Before I go into grading, just want to reiterate the same thing stated in my FAQ that as pins are 100% handmade, enamel is hand mixed and pins are hand filled. Please understand that there is no such thing as a perfect pin, so there occasionally will be very minor errors even in standard graded pins. If you are a super perfectionist, please understand this. By purchasing a pin from my shop, you are agreeing to my grading standards, if you don't agree with them, then please refrain from making a purchase.
Please also note that standards are the best pins out the batch. If the whole batch has issues, then standards will be considered the best out of the bunch since unfortunately I have no control over the quality I am receiving.
STANDARD: Standard graded pins are the best pins out of the batch that I have received. My standard graded pins generally are ones that are the closest to unblemished as possible out of the batch. They may have some minor errors that can only be seen if you look super closely or under certain lighting. These pins would be ideal for collectors!
Examples include: minor blemishes may be: light scratches, minor dust, very minor area of overfill or underfill
MONO SPECIFIC NOTES:
Forever Rain: Almost all of my batch, all the standards will have slight underfill to the black moon. This is noticeable under certain lightnings, but do not take away from the design
Seoul: Due to the sheer detail of this pin, there may be small areas of overfill
B GRADE: B grade will have small imperfections that are more noticeable, but still don’t take away from the pin’s overall aesthetic.
Examples include: small dust/dots, small scratches on the enamel or metal, underfill/overfill areas, small areas of missing enamel (small detail areas)
C GRADE/SECONDS: These are pins that that have noticeable flaws. These can be seen without close inspection. I would recommend C grade pins for normal everyday wear as they’re still great to show off and you don’t have to worry about them.
Examples include: large areas of majorly underfilled enamel, missing enamel fill in large area, wrong colored enamel in large areas, large enamel leakage
Standard vs B Grade: When I inspect pins, my main concern is 1) is the enamel flat and 2) are the colors correct. Below are several things I take into consideration when differentiating standard from B grades.
Dust/ specs: Are there more than 3 noticeable dust specs? If no, then it will be standard grade, if yes it will be B grade
Holes: Are there any needle holes? If yes, the it’s automatically downgraded to B.
Underfill/overfill: Most underfill pins will fall into B grade category, UNLESS if it’s only in a really small area (this may occur in a heavily detailed pin such as Seoul). For overfill pins, if the area is small (less than 5 mm), they are considered standard.
COMMON QUESTIONS/ AREAS OF CONCERN
Swirls in enamel: This is either caused from hand mixing the enamel color OR when the pin is being filled (since it’s filled with a needle and that needle can be swirled around to cover the area. That being said, swirls are considered minor and unless if the color was not mixed well at all in the enamel, or if it’s severely causing the area to be underfilled, overfilled or bumpy, this will not be a reason why a pin will be considered a b grade vs standard as most of these are negligible
Underfill/overfill: Standard grades may include VERY small areas of underfill or overfill. B grades will have more noticeable areas (10-20 mm), C grades will be areas that are larger than 20 mm. Only exception will be for underfill areas, the amount of underfill will also determine a grade. For instance, if it’s a very shallow area of underfill but in a larger area, it will be graded B. On the other spectrum, if a pin has a small area of underfill but is deeply pitted, it will be graded as a C.
Specs & Spot & Stray Glitter: I general if the spot is super noticeable, it will be graded as a B, if it’s minimal and in less than 2 places, it will be graded as standard.
Wrong colored enamel: If there are no other issues with the pin (such as unfill or overfill), these will be B grade. If there are other issues with the pin alongside a wrong color fill, it will be a C grade.
Back of pin: Any blemishes on the BACK of the pin will not be taken into account during grading with exception of pin posts.
Please also understand that due to volume, there may be human error when it comes to grading as I normally do a glance over to check for unified fill, metal, and color so there is a possibility that I've missed something. That and lighting, I usually grade my pins at night without natural light, so that also can impact things that are noticeable to me.
If you think you've received an incorrectly graded pin, please read this guide and let me know via email and we can work something out. I will be following my guide up above to determine proper grading.