View Full Version : Black freshwater vs. akoya pearls
04-03-2007, 03:52 AM
I am interested in buying a black pearl necklace but I don't which kind of pearl I should get. Of course I'd love to get Tahitians, but until I can afford them it looks like I'm "stuck" with akoyas or freshwaters. (Hey - it could be worse. :) )
I know akoyas are traditionally better quality than freshwaters, but since both varieties are dyed black, does the quality or luster really matter? Would top quality almost-round black freshwaters be just as good as black akoyas? Any advice? Thanks for your help!
04-03-2007, 06:00 AM
Hm... I'd bet that you have a better chance to find high quality freshwater pearls died black rather than high quality akoya died black. It makes sense to me that any akoya good enough to sell bleached white, will be left white. Possibly the same applies for freshwater pearls, but with their lower cost across the board, exceptions are possible. At least that's what I came to believe with the scarce info around... Run a search on this forum for 'black freshadama' for an example. There must be others as well.
Hope my 2c helps :)
PS: Since you are interested in tinted pearls, THIS (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIBlEeKJxDw&mode=user&search=) might be fun (a video showing one way treatment is done). THIS (http://pearl-guide.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1411) thread explains where it is comming from...
04-03-2007, 07:16 AM
Thanks for the input! Yeah, I figured freshwaters might be a better bet. As you said, if they were good quality akoyas, they'd stay white, yes?
Thanks for the links - I'm checking them out now! :)
04-03-2007, 04:25 PM
Valeria is right, high quality Akoyas simply aren't going to be dyed black, but the same holds true for Freshwater pearls also unless there is a special request made.
From my experience I'd say most people appreciate the look of black freshwater pearls over black Akoyas.
04-03-2007, 04:34 PM
Plus the cost of the black freshwater will no doubt be considerably less!!
04-03-2007, 06:19 PM
With this kind of concensus, I hardly need to chime in, but if you get high quality CFWP, you will have a better buy for the money and a long lasting, solid nacre pearl.
the luster on the dyed black freshwaters has been extraordinary this year. I hope it contnues this way, because black freshwaters have become quite beautiful.
I saw you think Tahitians are out of your range, Tahitians are also large, so I ran a little price check for you.
If you like baroque, the Tahitian baroque necklaces are as low as around $500 for an 8-10mm.
while a round in a Tahitian in the same size range (the smallest they come in) starts at around 3k.
You can't get an akoya larger than around 9.5 mm and that runs about $3k too.
Black CFWP in the equivalent large size, (9-10mm) are around $400, very close to the baroque Tahitian in the same size.
Of course smaller CFWP are much less expensive in the smaller sizes
a 6-7mm in black is around $130. I saw a 7-8mm black for $125 - now that's a bargain!
04-03-2007, 09:06 PM
Wow! Thanks to everyone for their help. :)
I've been looking around a lot on the Internet and I've seen some black strands. Is there a particular overtone I should be looking for or is it really just up to personal preference? Some of the freshwaters have almost rainbow-like overtones, which are very pretty but I'm not sure if that's as dignified as solid black or peacock-ish. Tahitians seem to be muted in terms over overtones. I'm not trying to pass these off as Tahitians, but since they occur naturally, should I try to find some with similiar coloring?
04-03-2007, 09:44 PM
Of course it is personal preference.
I think many of the commercial grade cfwp 10mm and over were dyed black to mimic Tahitians. I have some very large silvery blue black dyed CFWP commerical grade pearls that I am positive were dyed to mimic Tahitians. People who do not know pearls mistake them for Tahitians because of the size and the color.
Chinese CFWP black dye techniques are still trying to approach Tahitian colors. The best Tahitian colors, loaded with orient, have not been achieved in the CWFP so far, though the colors are improving with each harvest, and the rainbow-y ones represent a big step in highlighting natural orient- if it isn't some kind of vapor deposition job doing it :p- but wearing them will reveal that soon enough.
Some of the less glamorous Tahitians (and they are found at the gem show for about $150-$350 per) look worse than nicely dyed CFWP.
I read somewhere on the forum that the Japanese can and do process a certain number of Tahitians with akoya-like treatments to doll them up and make them look better than they actually are. So some Tahitians are as dyed and processed to mimicTahitians as the black CFWP are!
04-03-2007, 10:17 PM
Freshwaters are often dyed to mimic Tahitians because so many people want to get "the look" without spending quite that much. If you purchase the large black Freshwaters, it is easier to get the look and feel of Tahitians because that is often the pearls farmer's goal.
The largest issue with the Akoyas is you can't get the nicer looking ones in the large sizes like you can with the Freshwaters. I absolutely love our large, black Freshwaters. They look similar to Tahitians but are very unique in their own right.
04-04-2007, 07:55 AM
Some of the freshwaters have almost rainbow-like overtones, which are very pretty but I'm not sure if that's as dignified as solid black or peacock-ish.
Well, I don't know what you have seen... Some black freshwater (fwp) get to look like dried black ink - 'overdyed'. Some look like the absolute most fantastic back pearls that DO have peacock orient way more than the average and may also look unfamiliar. And then there is everything else. I don't remember green overtone on black fwp - and obviously other Tahitian colors are never there; would bet that the full spectrum of true Tahitian pearls would also come as a surprise to most!
In fwp, only the light gray and peacock Tahitian colors are there, as much as I know. And at their best, look like the best Tahitian (i.e. with strong orient), not like the ones with solid dull color.
Again, it isn't all that great to 'fumble in the dark' without seeing the things...
Edited to add:
Speaking of crazy peacock Tahitian color... just happened upon a picture of what I had in mind: and it isn't common to find either such pearls or good pictures of them! The pendant is in the works and the progression of its manufacturing will probably turn up soon at the SOURCE (http://platinumsmith.com.au/Pending_update.htm):
by Phillip Schmidt @ PlatinumSmith
04-05-2007, 12:46 AM
Great advice from everyone! Thanks for your help!
I think I'm going to go with the akoya because I think I like the uniform overtone color of each strand. The freshwaters I've seen have pearls of all different colors, and the effect to me is more "rainbow" than "black." So black akoyas will probably be lower quality, but does the quality really affect the dye job? Will the flaws be less noticible?
04-05-2007, 06:27 PM
So black akoyas will probably be lower quality, but does the quality really affect the dye job? Will the flaws be less noticible?
Well, assuming 'flaws' mean scratches, circles and dimples (i.e. geometrical departure from round, flat surface).. maybe not. However, that would be because of more invasive treatment and thinner nacre, not exactly a matter of 'quality' IMO. After all, plastic beads and synthetic pearls are all perfectly round and matched - that's not making them more valuable or 'better quality'. The look is there too, and it remains a matter of preference...
04-06-2007, 02:04 PM
I found a few necklaces - can anyone tell me anything about the quality/value/vendors?
04-06-2007, 03:28 PM
I do know The Pearl Outlet is owned by Terry Shepherd, Jeremy's brother. He participates in this forum at times. They have honest descriptions of their pearls, a generous return policy and I would feel very comfortable ordering from them. Somewhere on this forum is a list of forum participants who also have online stores. I would feel totally confident in ordering from any of them, that the merchandise would be the quality stated, and that if it didn't suit for some reason I could return with no problem.
Can you help, Caitlin, maybe you can remember where that list is????
If you do a forum search on American Pearl, there is a lot of info about them, and you can judge for yourself if you want to do business with them. They certainly wouldn't be my choice.
Let us know what you decide and how you like your necklace!
ps Be sure you let them know you are a member of this forum, and researched here!
04-06-2007, 03:52 PM
Admin & Caitlin
Please is there a way or a thread where we could list the forum members who sell pearls? That would be easy to find? Sometimes I like to just go and look at everyones' sites to see what is new and designs and such. And sometimes buy also! It seems frequently someone asks for ideas on where to make purchases.
04-06-2007, 04:54 PM
Yes please! I've been searching everywhere for a list of vendors and I couldn't find one in the forums. I couldn't remember if American Pearl was in the forum... everyone has "pearl" in their company name and I get confused. :)
I was already thinking about going with The Pearl Outlet but now I'm convinced. This forum is so helpful - I don't know how I managed to accmulate pearls without it before!
04-06-2007, 05:09 PM
Jeremy made a list, but I forget where it is.
I know you've only made 6 posts, but it always helps for a newbie to research the site.
I think the CFWP from AP are a better choice that any akoya. The price is not high for the size, but please notice, they are off-round enough to actually call them 9x10mm, which is the reason for the price. Personally, I like off-round.
The Pearl Outlet would be a fine choice.
04-07-2007, 08:22 AM
I noticed you are located in Osaka, so thought I would chime in. I ordered a strand of dyed black CFWP from Pearl Paradise and am thrilled with them. The reason I am writing in about Customs. Make sure you keep your email reciept from whomever you buy. Jewelry items get opened at customs a lot here, and they compare the customs declaration on the outside of the box with the papers inside. When they saw the appraisal value was triple the declared value, they called me for an explanation. They had an English speaking representative call(actually FedEX called) and had me send in the receipt from email to prove the declared value. It went very smoothly and the woman was very polite and helpful. But if I hadn't sent the email in while I was on the phone with her, it could have been long delay/hassle.
Customs fee is only about ¥500 or 2% (whichever is higher)so it isn't bad at all. I look forward to hearing about your experience.
04-07-2007, 09:49 AM
[QUOTE=Angela]Yes please! I've been searching everywhere for a list of vendors and I couldn't find one in the forums.
here some of the vendors I remember right now:
The Pearl Outlet.com
Pearls of Joy.com
Pearls by Angela Caroll.com
Pearls and Jade.com
Selectraders.uk (there are Selectraders in different countries as well)
Integrity Pearls.com (if You want to do your own pearl jewellery).
All of above companies are either sellers or members of this site.'
04-07-2007, 10:40 AM
Ugh! Japanese customs - those guys are SERIOUS. I've had problems getting jewelry past them before but I didn't know about the issues with payment/appraisal discrepancy, so thanks for the heads up! I'll be going home for a visit in a few weeks so I thought I'd just have them shipped there, but arigatou nonetheless! :) I'll let you know how it goes... when I finally make my mind up. ;)
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