View Full Version : Mikimoto or hanadama certified?
11-22-2007, 09:30 PM
Hi, im pretty new to pearls and i am ready to buy a nice strand for my girlfriend. I am trying to stay at $2,500 or less. My girlfriend's mother has a mikimoto strand that was given to het by my girlfriends father and she has always mentioned them and it seems that she is set on the mikioto brand for pearls. Would I bet better off buying some hanadama's form an online website such as pearl oasis or one of the recomended sites on here or getting mikimoto's? Im not sure if there is a big difference in quality but i hear that tha hanadama's are the top pearl of all and i can get hanadamas for the same price as mikimoto's or even a little less. I was thinking about mikimotot's because thats what she has always wanted but if the quality is better for the hanadama is significantly better than the miki's i might buy those. I have found a Mikimoto stand of 7-7.5 16 in. A1 quality for $2300 that i really like and i know mikimoto is a well trusted company but im still a little confused about the hanadama's.
also would a 16in or 18in be better for a smaller girl about 5'3 115 lbs?
and is white gold or yellow gold better matched for pearls?
Thank you in advance for your help and sorry about and stupid questions. Jim.
11-22-2007, 10:05 PM
The hanadama would be the much, much better deal. The A1 grade Mikimoto sells is 6 grades down from the top. The top grade Mikimoto sells is hanadama. You will get the name Mikimoto with the A1 grade, but for the same grade pearl you can shop online for about 80-90% less. The hanadama top Mikimoto grade will cost you about 10 times what the A1 grades costs. You are paying for the name... a silver bracelet will cost you $250 at Tiffany's, but only $10 to make.
A 16-inch strand would probably work best for a small girl, especially if she is going to wear it on a regular basis.
11-23-2007, 03:40 AM
I figured that i would be paying for the name but both my girlfriend and I are not pearl collectors or know a ton about them so would the difference be huge in term of looks? I know the hanadama are better quality as you say but but she really likes mikimoto and thats what she thinks of everytime i mention pearls. If the difference isnt something that would be really notcieable without really examining, say if you were a foot or two away at least and they were on a table or around someones next together would you be able to pick the hanadama out easily? I guess in the end im trying to make sure its not a bad idea to buy the miki's because as i said in the original post she has always loved her mothers "Mikimoto's" and she has always wanted mikimoto pearls.
Also thank you for your quick response. Ive been browsing the site for a coupe days now and Ive found a lot of great infomation that i woulve never know.
11-23-2007, 03:57 AM
The difference would be night and day. A Mikimoto AA and Hanadama would not be too different. But Mikimoto's highest grade line (hanadama) and their lowest grade line (A1) would be completely different. You would be able to distinguish them across a large room easily.
What I suggest is going to the Mikimoto store and asking to see their AAA grade. Not a store that sells Mikimoto, but an actual Mikimoto store. Compare their AAA against their A1. If their A1 sells for $2500, their AAA will likely sell for closer to $25,000.
11-23-2007, 04:54 AM
It sounds as though you have two people to please with this gift. That's a mighty tall order. Considering your budget, you'd hate to have either of them disappointed. Is this gift a secret? If not, include them in the education and experience so everyone is pleased with the final outcome. Just my thoughts.
11-23-2007, 04:59 AM
Thanks for all or your help. The only bad thing is that my decision is harder now, I'm goin to have to find out if she would rather have a higher quality pearl or if she really dreams about the mikimoto name due to her mothers miki's. Thank you again for the quick help, Jim
11-23-2007, 05:13 AM
Yes the gift is for her birthday. I am very picky when it comes to buying gifts for her and I try to make everything as close to perfect as i can. I have mentioned the hanadama to her but only quickly so i dont hint to her that i have been looking. I dont think she really understood the hanadama when i told her. When i did mention pearls i was joking around saying I should get a $50 strand from jcpenney's she pulled up a $300 strand of sea magic pearls for ww.kay.com. To me it seems tat she has a little sentimental value of Mikimoto pearls from her mother and she wouldnt be expecting a true mikimoto strand. We are young though but have been together for almost 5 years and I would like to really "WOW" her.
My budget would be good for about $3000 max. I think that would be a good price to get somethiing of good quality and not have me always thinking about the amount of money just spent
11-23-2007, 10:36 AM
Just a thought, but why not buy a strand of Hanadama from, say, PearlParadise, and compare them to your girl's mother's pearls ?
For $2565 you can have a strand of 7.5 - 8mm. Hanadama from PearlParadise.
They have a generous return policy, so if you are unhappy with your purchase, you will be able to return them.
Personally, I don't think that you will be returning them...
11-23-2007, 03:23 PM
Don't hesitate. The Hanadamas are the best and you can get a very good deal for them online. Hanadamas are guaranteed to have a decent nacre depth. That's important if your lady is going to enjoy them for a long time.
The "name" can't give you a strand of pearls so beautiful that strangers will stop to ooh and ahh over them. (Unless you want to take out a mortgage!)
My two cents! Good Luck:)
11-23-2007, 03:45 PM
Go Hanadama hands down. She may want Mikimoto at first but as she learns more about her strand she'll be glad you purchased the finest pearls, not the most expensive name brand.
Don't be a victim of marketing - especially with when spending that much.
11-23-2007, 04:16 PM
Have to entirely agree with GemGeek re. the strangers oohing and ahhing....
And just to even things up a little, PearlsOf Joy have Hanadama in the 7.5mm. - 8mm. size too.
And I can thoroughly recommend both PearlsOfJoy and PearlParadise.
11-23-2007, 04:18 PM
Pearls are all about luster. Go for the luster more than the name. Hanadama will give you the luster.
If she later still seems to be pining after the M name, you could, for her next birthday (or Valentines day or anniversary of your relationship) offer her a strand of Sea Magic (take her to the store to actually see them.) I think once she sees that what she received is so much superior, she will lose her fascination with the name.
11-23-2007, 05:22 PM
just have her walk into a mikimoto store with the Hanadama strand you bought her on and ask see something in the $2000 - $3000 range, you'll be glad you went with the Hanadama.
11-23-2007, 08:49 PM
I'd get the Hanadama. Can't say I admire the sentimentality for Mikimoto pearls. I had a strand that flaked off completely exposing only the MOP nucleus. Not impressed. That was one of the cheaper ones from eons ago my mom received as a gift. Mikimoto? Don't think so. Get the hanadama and if she's still fussed, get it restrung with a vintage Miki clasp. It's very sweet that you're taking time to research and be a savvy consumer. Bodes well for a long-standing relationship. Shows that you're budget conscious and always want the best for your money. The middle class get way too squashed in the middle. Smart spending is the only way to go.
11-23-2007, 10:23 PM
I appreciate all the responses but they're not what i was expecting. I was thinking that the feeling would be mixed but its hanadama all the way.Im going to have to look around to see if i can find some hanadama to see in person. Im not saying that i dont trust you guy and girls but i am just curious about them and would like to see them before any online purchase if possible. I am 21 and she is turning 20 in a few days (late shopper, but i always thought mikimoto pearls were on top)so i was thinking get the mikimoto's first while she really likes the name and then introduce her to the facts and knowedge of pearls and later down the road if she would really like a better strand. I could always get the miki's and after i give them to her i could explain them to her and see what she thinks. It might not be the best idea but hey, im still young and stupid so its always good to hear froom those who know more.
One more question to add on, i was thinking about buying a cheap strand like $60-100 (thanksgiving day sale) so she could have them to wear often. I know she would only wear the miki' or hanadama's a few times a year max. would i be better off buying the $60-$100 freshwaters from like a jcpenney kind of store or just buying a cheaper $20-$30 fake pearl strand?
11-23-2007, 10:49 PM
I hope you put some more thought into the idea of buying lower end Mikimotos, cause you really are wasting a lot of money on the name. There is nothing wrong with buying a middle of road quality strand, but paying several thousand dollars more then its worth isn't a good idea.
would i be better off buying the $60-$100 freshwaters from like a jcpenney kind of store or just buying a cheaper $20-$30 fake pearl strand?
Neither, those are really going to be poor quality strands. For around a $100 you can get a AAA quality freshwater strand online. Those JCpenny strands are going to be A quality or lower.
Just my 2cents and its not advertising to shop with me, plenty of other online vendors that offer good value.
11-23-2007, 10:52 PM
If you want to spend a small amount, I would recommend getting a 16" GENUINE pearl strand in freshwater--be brave and try one of the online sellers. choose a high quality and smaller pearl, that would be great on a smaller gal for every day or frequent wear, lots of young women wear white metal these days--I can assure you for $30 you won't even buy a pretty faux pearl necklace. If you spend $100+ with one of the online sellers you will get a necklace that would sell in a retail store for many times that amount. I have bought from several myself over the last few years and been well pleased. I have also in the 90's sold fine jewelry and pearls, including Mikimoto, and feel you can do much better spending your money than on them.
so many pearls, so little time
11-24-2007, 12:01 AM
I had never ordered pearls online until this month.
A few weeks ago, before placing my order with PearlParadise.com for a Freshadama strand, I visited a local mall and tried on every jeweler's pearls. Both akoya and freshwater, everything from Mikimoto to Sea Magic to Imperial to Ross-Simons to no-name pearls at the mall jewelers. I spent several hours.
What I saw: few high quality akoya (the best were the Imperial ones at $5400), many mediocre and off-round freshwater. The best Mikis currently available at the store were A1 grade (below A grade) and were about $2600. (The sales rep thought A1 meant a step above A.)
At another store, I saw a strand and asked if they were freshwater or akoya. The sales rep replied, "cultured." I said, "Yes, but cultured akoya or cultured freshwater?" She asked the manager the same question I had asked her-- he replied the same as she did, "Cultured." That seems to be the level of knowledge about pearls the salespeople have. Not inspiring.
I visited BJ's warehouse and looked at their pearls. Lower cost, but they didn't hang straight.
I went home and ordered the Freshadamas. I am delighted. Great luster, great price, excellent matching, and I can wear them every day and never wear them out-- there is no bead inside to ever be exposed.
If I wanted to spend less than Freshadama cost, I'd buy the AAA from PearlParadise. You could get a AAA 16" strand in the 6-7mm size for $105 + S&H.
I'm sure there are other great sellers on this forum, but I only have experience with PearlParadise, and I was happy with what I got.
For what it's worth!
11-24-2007, 12:23 AM
Wow my thoughts have changed so much after reading these answers. Thanks for al the advice, ill check the site of some of the vendors on here and go from there. I never knew the mikimoto name was that unworth it uless the AA or higher. Thanks for all of your help again. Jim
11-24-2007, 04:17 AM
Seriously, if you are a first time buyer I highly recommend the freshadamas. This will open your eyes to the highest quality freshwaters out there. The 7-8 mm strand is only about $280. I'm sure even that will beat the lower end Mikimoto Akoyas, though the luster is slightly different. Freshwaters are submetallic but have this beautiful warm glow. If you are not convinced about commiting 2-3K to an Akoya strand (which is beautiful in its own right) then that's a better option. You will find that many of the pearl aficionados here will not go for inflated brand value. The pearls are formed in exactly the same way, and I refuse to buy into the hype and mystique of a brand. It all goes into the advertising, and it's not smart consumerism. Only when consumers show the industry what we want will it improve and protect our rights.
I've only just noticed that you do not seem to know the subtle differences between different pearl types. There are plenty of freshwater options out there that would be more suited to everyday wear, and it's only getting more popular. I think you really need to do more research as to what you want, rather than go along with a brand name. The metallic luster of Akoyas is beautiful - I've recently fallen in love with them, but I still find it difficult to coordinate with most casual clothing. And unless you're rich or you're nearing marriage, I'd find it way too much to spend a few grand on a piece of jewellery especially if you do not know much about it. While many girls are wowed by a brand name, I think the fact that you have gone into detailed research exhibits that you might be better husband material, if you are heading down that way.
11-24-2007, 07:42 AM
if I were you I would order a Hanadama strand from one of our online vendors, they all offer a very good return time, your girlfriend could get the strand, wear it and compare it at any stores You have near by, and if she should like some other strand better, You still would have plenty of time to return the pearls without any questions asked!
Raisondetre has bought a lot of pearls, very often the highest grade available if I remember correctly, so You can rely on her knowledge and expertise.
The same I can say for myself, I have bought quite a lot of strands and never ever been disappointed!
Good luck and let us know what You did get and later on we all would appreciate a photo:)
11-24-2007, 12:55 PM
I'm so glad you came to this site to ask advice! Sure, Mikimotos are pretty....but actually the correct way to say that is, sure cultured akoya pearls sold by the Mikimoto company are pretty. There is nothing magical about the pearls they sell. You're just paying for the name.
I'd rather save a ton of money and have higher quality. Some folks are so name conscious, though, they'd rather have the bragging rights, BUT, I would hope once your gal gets a little educated, she'll go for the gleam and not the name.
I've been doing pearl jewelry for seven years ...I LOVE to see a gorgeous strand of Akoya pearls. But NOTHING prepared me for the JAW-DROPPING stunning beauty of the Hanadamas. :eek: Good gosh!
Seriously....God's just trying to show off with those!! :D
If you can afford to buy some hanadamas, then RUN don't walk before they're all gone!
11-24-2007, 10:09 PM
are the pearlparadise.com hanadamas available in 16in 7-7.5 or 7.5-8?
11-24-2007, 10:31 PM
You are at a point now that it would be smart to call the company or companies you are thinking of buying from and discuss what is available. Whomever you purchase from will want to help you make a purchase that will truly delight you and the recipient, They can also help you choose a flattering "overtone" complimentary to the wearer and explain a bit about how the subtle colors work.
First thing Monday, please plan to pick up the phone and call!! Websites often cannot list everything available.
Buy the way, you could also consider an amazing single pearl pendant(!) of the finest quality, and later build up to the amazing strand you envision!
Best of luck!
so many pearls so little time
11-26-2007, 01:27 AM
are the pearlparadise.com hanadamas available in 16in 7-7.5 or 7.5-8?
The reason 16-inch strands are not available as standard items is because the strands are certified in Japan as temporary 18-inch strands. They can be strung to any length, but the certificates would not match if we did that as standard items.
11-27-2007, 08:14 PM
The issue of Freshadama over Hanadama is a very personal one. However, you can never, in my opinion, go wrong purchasing a Freshadama necklace as a special gift. The shine of the akoyas is great, but the softness and richness of the Freshadamas has completely sold me on freshwater pearls. Their luster is hard to describe. I personally cannot even drive with them on because a bracelet of Freshadama distracts me from the road so that I have to take them off to drive safely. They catch the sunlight and become luminous.
Previously, I believed that akoyas were where it was at. I only did the Freshadama because I wanted a multicolored strand and didn't like anything I had ever seen.
Also, the great thing about Pearl Paradise, is you can send them back if she is not totally in love with them in 90 days. You can always give her Hanadama's for a wedding present...
And, that would give you more time to look at them and see the real thing.
Footnote: Mikimoto got started about 100 years ago with the cultured pearls. Now they are worth a fortune. Pearl Paradise is 10 years old, and there are a couple of other great young companies out there. Once you know what you are looking at, there is a good chance you are getting in on, so to speak, the ground floor, with your purchase. In 50 years, who knows how much it will be worth with proper care?
11-28-2007, 01:32 AM
I own both high-quality Akoya & fresh water pearls. Each is beautiful in its own way. You could go to big jewelry stores to have a look at highest-quality pearl earrings (or pendant) and compare between Akoya vs FWP. This might tell you the differences between the two types of pearls. However, FWP is more durable than Akoya.
My AAA Akoya (http://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1450) look not different from Miki. I have good experience buying pearls from online venders in this forum.
12-05-2007, 06:05 PM
Personally, I am dying to get the Freshadama set at Pearl Paradise... for $375 you get a necklace, bracelet, and earrings of the highest quality. I have an akoya necklace and earrings, but I am worried to wear akoya too much for fear of ruining them. Once I own some freshwaters, I'll be able to wear them as frequently as I like without worrying. So.... if you decide against the hanadamas or just if you want to get your girlfriend something she can wear on a regular basis and not ruin, I would get her some Freshadamas. If you still want to get her hanadamas and just something under $100 that she can wear daily, go to pearlparadise.com and look at the selection of freshwater pearl necklaces. You can find better bargains online than anywhere else, 99.99% of the time. If you want to see in person, go to a department store and browse, but buy online! When I started getting into pearls I liked akoyas better just because they were more valuable and I thought that meant something... but the more I started learning about pearls, I realized freshwaters are really your better bet.
Also, as far as necklace length goes... I am 5'1" and my akoyas are 17.5 inches. They're not overwhelming at all, but they are a smaller, graduated necklace (3.5-7mm). Not graduated, or for a more casual look, I would definitely go for 16". Along the same lines, keep in mind that a smaller mm will probably look better. 6 or 7mm will probably look best.
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