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  1. #1

    Default Advice on Cook Island pearls

    Hello I am on vacation in the Cook Islands and would like to buy a strand of black pearls. I have visited several authentic sellers that can provide certificates. However I would appreciate advice on the prices I have been quoted so I do not overpay.

    I am interested in 2 strands.
    Strand 1 is 46cm long of black pearls (varying in shade in the black, purple, green spectrum) size range from 9.34 to 12.23 and the seller advises the strand is C quality

    Stand 2 is a similar length and quality but the pearls are larger from 11.07 to 12.86

    Can anyone pls advise the sort of price range I should expect that represents good value?
    I'm here for a few days so appreciate your advice as soon as possible.

    Many thanks
    Elaine

  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    elainemary1,
    Welcome to Pearl-Guide!

    One thing about pearls from the Cook Islands is that historically they did not have the same legal minimum nacre thickness standard of 0.8mm per side as pearls from French Polynesia, a.k.a Tahitian pearls.

    (*Note however that that minimum standard was lifted this January. But older pearls already in stock in vendors' stores would have met that standard-- and in any case, vendors wanting to keep their reputation will continue to buy only better grade pearls.)

    Add to that the fact that the pearls you are looking at are C grade; and you would not be getting high quality pearls. IMO you should be offered a roaring good deal to buy them.

    If you would like better grade pearls (which may even be a better price, due to high volume buying by online vendors and the tendency of shops in tourist areas to inflate prices) may I suggest you have a look at what online vendors are carrying, so you can see how the pearls, and the prices you have been quoted, compare?

    In the US: larger vendors Pearl Paradise, Pure Pearls, Pearls of Joy, also smaller vendors Kamoka Pearls, Kojima Pearls and sorry for anyone I forgot to list!
    In the UK: Pearlescence

    And remember that most vendors have more pearls in stock that are not up on their website, so you could always contact them and ask about what you desire.

  3. #3
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert JerseyPearl's Avatar
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    I agree with everything PearlDreams has mentioned. Why don't you snap a few photos with your phone of the strands you are considering, and then share them here for opinions? One thing I wouldn't do would be to buy a strand on impulse. Get photos, and contact names for the shops you are visiting and ask if they will ship.
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    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl Dreams View Post
    (*Note however that that minimum standard was lifted this January. But older pearls already in stock in vendors' stores would have met that standard-- and in any case, vendors wanting to keep their reputation will continue to buy only better grade pearls.)
    I spoke with Loic Wiart about this in Hong Kong last week and he told me that he didn't know whether this was going to go into effect or not and pearls are still going through the government inspections before export. That's why we are still getting sealed pearls with certs from Tahiti.

  5. #5
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Ah! Good to know!

  6. #6
    Third-graft Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BlackPearlDudeDC's Avatar
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    This is good news. I've been fretting over this ever since I heard the news last year.

    Quote Originally Posted by jshepherd View Post
    I spoke with Loic Wiart about this in Hong Kong last week and he told me that he didn't know whether this was going to go into effect or not and pearls are still going through the government inspections before export. That's why we are still getting sealed pearls with certs from Tahiti.

  7. #7
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert JerseyPearl's Avatar
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    Yes, very good news...thanks for sharing Jeremy!
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  8. #8

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    Many thanks for your words of caution. I've attached a photo of the pearls, unfortunately it's not the best photo as not 100% in focus. The larger pearls show lighter pearls at the end of the strand and these would be replaced with others to match the rest of the necklace. Any opinions on their value based on the sizes I quoted earlier. The prices are c3800 NZ dollars and 8000NZ dollars for the larger pearls . Im more interested in the lower priced necklace
    Pls advise opinions
    Many thanks
    Elaine
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  9. #9
    Third-graft Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackPearlDudeDC View Post
    This is good news. I've been fretting over this ever since I heard the news last year.
    My thoughts exactly! Thanks for the update, Jeremy!

  10. #10
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Elaine,

    As you've mentioned, unfortunately the photos are not good enough to actually see the quality of the pearls. At $2700-2800US for the less expensive strand, consider your purchase carefully. Most of us pearl lovers value high luster over round shape. High luster makes any blemishes less noticeable. Are the pearls just gray, or do they show some color? How does the seller explain C grade?

    Another member here who has beautiful pearls for sale is Jersey Pearl in her etsy shop here You can see the sharp reflection of high luster instead of the blurry reflection of low luster on each pearl.
    Last edited by pattye; 03-17-2017 at 01:52 PM.
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

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    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  11. #11
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    I'm sure you probably were hoping to buy something from the Cook Islands as a wonderful souvenir of your trip. To better judge these we need a close up of the pearls - just take some of the less expensive strand as that's the one you are interested in. Try to get them on a white background for preference.

    It's worth taking a look at lots of pearls that are for sale to try and get a feel for what better quality pearls look like. As mentioned C grade is a lower grade on the Tahitian scale A B C . But , that said, it might be that they are still very pretty. $3800 NZ seems a bit high..but then it's a holiday/tourist bricks and mortar store...it's never going to be cheap.

    My suggestion is that you might be better off buying some very good Tahitian Stud earrings! The pearls for earrings should be A grade and look fabulous. Or a pendant and earrings ! You will get excellent quality and will be cheaper than a C grade strand.

  12. #12

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    Thanks everyone for your very helpful feedback. I understand that Cook Islands has a different scale to Tahitian so instead of AA AAA and AAAA etc they use A B C D. I wanted to buy in the Cook Islands to associate the pearls with a wonderful holiday, but I am continuing the shop around and compare to get the best deal! I agree with your points about lustre, it does make a difference. The colours in the pearls I've looked at really do show different hues of green, purple, grey and blue and not as flat as the photos I've attached.
    Thanks again for your advice
    Elaine

  13. #13
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    Tahiti also uses A B C D. In the states A AA and AAA are most common (but not AAAA).

    If you can take a photo with the macro lens on your camera to get really close, that would definitely help. Value is heavily influenced by color and surface quality. I can't really tell either in the photo. The most valuable colors are dark green and any type of peacock, which typically shows as a pink halo or cherry center. Dull gray is on the opposite spectrum.

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