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  1. #1

    Default Source for Filipino White Pearls

    Hi,
    I am hoping for some help sourcing white south sea pearls from the Philippines to mount in an engagement ring. I have a source in Manilla but would like to exhaust absolutely all of my other options before using her. I have spent the last few days reading about pearls and trying to find a source for white pearls from the Philippines and have met with little success. I contacted a local (Ireland) jeweller to discuss sourcing pearls and his pearl source quoted him 1500 euro for a single 10.5mm white pearl which seems very steep to a layman like myself.

    So I turn to you, hoping someone here knows some hidden website or some really obvious thing I've missed in my searches and can help me out.
    regards.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    The Philippines are primarily producers of gold South Sea pearls, not white. Most of the pearls produced in the Philippines don't stay there either, which is why it's difficult to source single pieces there. The dealers at Greenhills, for example, all come to the Hong Kong show to source their pearls - even South Sea.

    White South Sea pearls now come almost exclusively from Australia, Indonesia and Burma.

    The value of a South Sea pearls will come down to it's luster and surface. Surface quality is the easiest to determine and you will want a perfectly clean pearl if you're going to set it in a ring, or at least a pearl with a single drill spot (blemish) where the pearl will be set. That's important because the difference in cost can be 5-10 times for a pearl that sets clean or one with 1-2 visible blemishes.

    The price from Ireland is a bit steep. Pure Pearls has one for about 1/4th the cost here. If you were to call Ashley, she could select a perfect one.

  3. #3
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    €1500 for a single pearl? You can get a beautiful strand of south sea pearls with that money. If you buy from Ashley, even if after the import tax you still pay far less!

  4. #4
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    Hi there! Any specific reason why you were looking for a white south sea pearl from the Philippines? If you are still keen on getting something from the Philippines, get a golden south sea pearl. I'd recommend Jewelmer.

    I have a few friends who bought white south sea pearls from their jewelers in the Philippines, but whether they are really sourced from the Philippines is debatable (there's still this schtick going on about have Badjao diver contacts, blah blah blah) To be honest, I prefer the Aussie wssp ones over the "Philippine whites". Most of the ones I saw had rough surfaces, or one too many bites, or the white is a bit grey... basically there's always something off.

    Long story short, get a south sea, but not in Greenhills.

    Whether it's whites or goldens, there are quite a lot of reputable online vendors here who can help (some are based in the UK as well, I think), their signatures usually have links to their site (Jeremy - Pearl Paradise, Ashley - PurePearls, Kevin - Pearls Of Joy, etc etc) . And they're definitely cheaper than EU 1500. :P

    Keep us posted on your pearl journey, and good luck!
    Last edited by CrazyMissy; 11-16-2017 at 03:33 AM.

  5. #5
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    I'd be very careful purchasing any golden SS in Greenhills or anywhere except from a trusted knowledgeable seller. Lots of goldens are dyed these days; very difficult to tell. From what Jeremy said I don't feel he recommended buying GSS at all; I reread his statement several times.
    Pattye


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    had to re-read and edit my post, thanks pattye.

  7. #7
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    thank you, CM!
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

    facebook.com/PatriciaSaabDesigns

    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  8. #8
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    It is extremely hard for an inexperienced eye to tell the difference between a genuine gold south sea pearl and a well-dyed freshwater pearl.
    There are also some extremely similar white south sea and white freshwater pearls out there, even down to the satiny lustre. I had some big white bead nucleated freshwater pearl strands a couple of years ago and I had to look twice.
    If it is the look you want go for freshwaters. If you want the real thing, pay a lot more and go to a supplier who knows the difference

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyMissy View Post

    I have a few friends who bought white south sea pearls from their jewelers in the Philippines, but whether they are really sourced from the Philippines is debatable (there's still this schtick going on about have Badjao diver contacts, blah blah blah)
    I wouldn't call it debatable. Back in the natural pearl days of the 1800s, yes. Not today. Anyone who claims they get their pearls from Mindanao or Badjao divers are simply lying.

  10. #10
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Jeremy knows what he's talking about.

    As for the trustworthy nature of the jewellers there...I'm sure there are good ones. But I
    ran into two friends who had been to Greenhills...they were both wearing long ropes of Fireball ( bead nucleated freshwater pearls that look like a comet or goldfish) pearls. Both told me they had gone to a good jeweler who had sold them their Baroques White South Sea pearls .. long ropes of 25mm pearls...for 250.00 . Very proud of their WSS pearls. I didn't say anything as they actually paid a reasonable price for the White Freshwaters lol

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jshepherd View Post
    I wouldn't call it debatable. Back in the natural pearl days of the 1800s, yes. Not today. Anyone who claims they get their pearls from Mindanao or Badjao divers are simply lying.
    Thought so too, but you'll be surprised that a lot of people still believe the Badjao pearl diver story. Seriously. I just put on my diplomatic/poker face but at the back of my mind...

    For me, it doesn't really matter where the pearl came from, as long as the quality is there. My biggest gripe is that, well, the quality just isn't there!

  12. #12
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    That's often the biggest problem with these mis-descriptions...tell or don't tell!

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