View Full Version : Thinking about buying these...
11-21-2011, 08:27 AM
I originally came to this site to look for some general information before I bought some pearls for my wife. I am overseas and pearls seem like the big thing around here. Unfortunately, once I got in the shops I couldn't tell right from wrong or indifferent.
The one guy I found seemed level and came recommended (by people with about as much experience as I have :(). He didn't seem pushy and me what was what in his shop. The pictures are supposedly of South Sea pearls. He even shaved one of the dark ones with a knife and it produced a golden colored dust. The pictures are blurry, I know. I had to take them with my Ipod. I can go back with a camera later once I find one to borrow.
Please let me know what you think!
11-21-2011, 09:13 AM
And welcome. I'm not one of the experts. They'll come around later when they wake up in the US :) But instinctively I don't like hearing that a seller will shave any nacra off a pearl. To me that is a very bad sign. If his pearls are valuable, why would he ruin it?
There are several scenarios that can be taking place, other than the pearls being SSP. I am not looking at the pictures here or stating an oppinion, just listing posibilities.
1) The pearls could be shell pearls. If that was the case, the pearls would be completely uniform with no variation in size or colour and no blemishes.
2) The pearls could be died freshwater pearls. This is getting very hard to tell by now. If some of the pearls tend to be potato shaped, I would be very careful, but the risk is always there, since the Chinese are getting very good at producing round freshwater pearls.
3) The pearls could be South Sea pearls but dyed gold to bring in a higher price. As I recall, you might find clues to that by looking at the drill holes through a loupe.Dye would collect there if they are dyed after drilling. Also look at the blemishes. If true golden SSP, the blemishes will mostly be lighter than the colour of the pearl. If they are died, the dye will collect in the blemishes and make them darker.
4) Check out prices at some on-line vendors such as http://www.tahitianpearls.biz. If the deal, you are looking at, seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.
Please, everyone with more knowledge than me - add to this. Caitlin, maybe we should put together some shopping guides for Akoya, SSP, and Tahiti pearls?
11-21-2011, 09:32 AM
They did have blemishes and they were not all perfectly uniform in color or size. I know it's hard to tell because of the poor quality camera :mad:. Thanks for your input though!
11-21-2011, 09:42 AM
That rules out one of the scenarios then :) There will be other comments for you, but people here will need better pictures to be able to tell you much. They'll need closeups with micro setting, preferably on a pure, white background (tissue is fine). A closeup of the earrings settings would be nice too. Often the quality of the setting says something about the value. Also, what size are the pearls? Are the clasp and earrings findings stamped? It should say something like 14K.
11-21-2011, 09:45 AM
Three cheers for you for looking for pearls for your sweet heart :)
11-21-2011, 10:47 AM
I'd be surprised if these were golden south sea pearls - at at least $50 a pearl (and more like $100) I don't think I would take a knife to any of my stock to demonstrate anything. Also it isn't necessarily so that gold pearls will produce gold dust. most pearls produce an off white dust when drilled
They look too small to be south sea as well. Most south sea pearls are big...and it also seems odd that the earring pearls are full drilled and not half drilled, which should be the case with anything other than very low end pearls
My best guess so far (hard to tell with the photos) is that these are freshwaters, should cost about $150 tops for the set if they are top quality freshwaters and that is bracelet, necklace and earrings and the clasp is a small size carat gold clasp. less for silver and less for lower quality pearls.
11-21-2011, 01:40 PM
The white strand appears to be a freshwater, and by the number of pearls, it should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 mm. So if the pearls are fine quality freshwater, you are going to be paying more than $150 for the strand, but they aren't South Sea. The brown strand appears to be a treated chocolate freshwater strand in the 10 mm range. Neither of them are South Sea.
11-21-2011, 03:39 PM
Well thanks guys!
You saved me from buying expensive freshwater pearls passed off as cheap South Sea pearls. Not that I have a preference either way as long as the price is right. I think I would be better off getting something like this from an online dealer. It's a shame too, we get a lot of visitors asking about pearls and I guess we can't take them to this guy. ;)
11-21-2011, 09:04 PM
shop with your Ipad and check here! That is so great!!!! Or iphone. No more oily salesmen who try to convince you that their pearls are anything but freshwater. Nothing wrong with freshwater pearls, they are my favorites, but they are from China and no great bargain in the Middle East.
If you can, go to a place where they sell Persian Gulf pearls. Then buy a pendent or a set of earrings at a modest price. You will get genuine real, natural, Persian Gulf Pearls. Yes, some sell for a lot!! That's why I said, buy a singleton or earrings. You will never regret it!!!!
My grandfather gave me a necklace and other pearls from there when he was in Bahrain. If you can, visit Bahrain. At least find and visit a pearl history museum. There is probably one near you. Tune into pearls. Natural pearls. Forget SS. Forget China. Forget Tahithian pearls!!!!! You are in the original lands of pearls!!! Now find a modest, but beautiful natural pearl!
And tell your buddies what I said. I am so saying this from my heart!!! Al Hashimi in Bahrain has modest pearls as well as fancy. Ask around where you are for the real pearls. Try not to buy from someone who would sell you anything but natural pearls..... Bargain for the pearl you choose.
11-22-2011, 12:07 AM
While I agree with Caitlin about the beauty of the pearls, I would be very careful about trying to buy them. Don't buy any natural pearls without a laboratory report from a reputable laboratory. If you aren't sure, ask. But, absolutely, visit a museum and there are lots of photos here to enjoy. :)
11-22-2011, 02:50 AM
That's a good caveat. You won't find a bunch of cheap pearl s in a place that really sells the naturals, and of course, they will be certified. In fact -ask for certified natural pearls!!!
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