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  1. #1
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    Default Conch Pearl advice appreciated!

    Hello everyone,

    To start, I'm a goldsmith! I recently came back from a trip to North Caicos island in the Turks and Caicos island chain. I met a fellow who gave me a 4 ct pink conch pearl to make a mounting for, and I'm not sure where to start. Every bit of information I've managed to find on mounting them suggests that it devalues the pearl to drill or glue into mountings, but almost every mounting I've seen has them drilled into settings! Drilling gives a much greater range of designs to work with, can hide blemishes, and shows off much more of the pearl. Mounting into wraps and prongs would cover much of the pearl to keep it secure- godforbid you'd want to lose it- but in addition to covering up the beauty of the gem, you also have the added risk of causing rubbing to the surface with the metal touching the surface to hold it in place. I visited with another jeweler friend of mine in Minneapolis, who suggested that drilling the top with the small cream blemish would potentially increase the value of the pearl, because a carefully constructed cap bail would cover the blemish, making it appear more "perfect" all the way around. I'm so conflicted! I have a graduate gemologist that I work with who is going to try and evaluate the pearl for value, so that I can have a reasonable price tag for it when I try to sell the piece I make.

    Advice appreciated!Name:  IMG_4538.jpg
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  2. #2
    Pearl Journalist Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
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    That is a valuable pearl. Someone just gave it to you as a gift?
    GemGeek
    The World Is My Oyster!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by GemGeek View Post
    That is a valuable pearl. Someone just gave it to you as a gift?
    I'd say it was "lent", more than "given". The kind gentleman I met has a friend who works at the conch farm on Providenciales, and he purchases these from him for a couple hundred dollars each. He had a small pile of them and sent me back with one, asking that I make a mount for it and hopefully find a buyer. We both do not know how much this pearl is worth!

  4. #4
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert JerseyPearl's Avatar
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    GemGeek, I am reading this that someone gave him this pearl so that he could design a special mounting for it. As far as drilling, that will most definitely impact the value...but adding a gold or platinum mounting, especially if it includes other stones, will add value so there's a balance there. That said, I've not heard that glue can devalue a pearl...but I don't work with conch pearls so maybe they are more delicate and prone to chemical damage? I would think that a glue and prong setting would be the answer if you didn't want to drill it. You also might think about a custom cage style mounting which leaves the pearl unset, but encased so that it can be worn. In any regard, the color is lovely and please share what you decide to do!
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  5. #5
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    The flame pattern is gorgeous!

    What about some sort of cage?
    (Ah, JP beat me to this suggestion! )

  6. #6
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    I have two rudimentary drawings, I would like to put some more thought into this but these are my ideas so far.

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  7. #7
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    SarahLadd, whatt are the dimensions of the pearl?

  8. #8
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert JerseyPearl's Avatar
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    Sarah, your drawings are lovely! I especially like that top one, simple and elegant.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl Dreams View Post
    SarahLadd, whatt are the dimensions of the pearl?
    10.2mm long, 7.48 for its widest width dimension and 6.65 for its shallowest width dimension. It looks much like a jellybean and is very three dimensional.

  10. #10
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    A nice size! It will make a fabulous piece of jewelry.

  11. #11
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    I have handled quite a few mounted conch pearls. Many are drilled or partially drilled. Have seen standard necklaces of drilled pearls too. Just look at some of the auction catalogues for examples. So drilling is not "bad" if the client is happy to proceed and I don't think they are structurally likely to suffer, but like all drilling it has to be done with care! Melo pearls on the other hand are never drilled. It is bad luck, so I have been told, to drill them, hence any you see mounted are never drilled. Not the ones I have seen anyway!

  12. #12
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    SarahLadd, your conch pearl is stunning!! It has lovely color and a striking flame pattern. I like the idea of a cage, although I am not aware if there might be any potential for harm due to possible rubbing against the metal that may occur. That said, I also like your drawing, especially the sketch directly above the pearl on the left. The front and back drawings show a very elegant and simple design. Please keep us updated on your progress!

  13. #13
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    Thank you all for the compliments and advice. I am going to draw up a few more ideas before I decide on a design, I welcome any input on drafts I come up with. I rather like the designs Mikimoto has for their conch pearl necklaces, but his are all mounted by drilling, so I hope I can achieve a similar effect without drilling. I'm disinclined to drill as it's not a pearl I technically own, and not drilling would give the buyer the opportunity to easily re mount it if they would desire to do so in the future so there is that plus.

    As an aside, what would be the easiest way to find a buyer for such a piece? Pearls are not very prized in South Dakota, much less a conch pearl, which are pretty unusual and rare. I'm uncertain I could find a buyer locally. If this is an unacceptable question to ask here, let me know.

  14. #14
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Some here sell their jewelry creations in their Etsy shop. But the forum can't be used for selling anything.

    My daughter has always loved this historic Tiffany conch pendant:
    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...deb7e51741.jpg

  15. #15
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Open an ETSY shop - it's free... you can just have a couple of things in it. As a Goldsmith you must have a few things you could list. Good luck !

    PD - Oh wow I love that pendant !!

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