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  1. #16
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert JerseyPearl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl Dreams View Post
    Hi SK2017 and welcome to Pearl-Guide.

    I think you are mixing up the terms. Allow me to clarify.

    Natural pearls = wild pearls = not cultured/not farmed, pure accidents of nature. While there are still some collectors of natural wild pearls, they are still rare. You can see natural pearls on websites like The Pearl Collector and Kari Pearls.

    Cultured pearls = real pearls that have been farmed. The pearl industry today is a cultured pearl industry. This includes akoyas and South Sea pearls.

    Mikimoto sells cultured pearls. They are good but you don't need to pay for the brand name to get fine akoya pearls. Top of the line akoyas are called "hanadama" and are certified in Japan. You can see hanadama grade pearls on assorted online vendor websites.

    Many freshwater pearls don't have a bead nucleus but they are still farmed-- the technician places a piece of mantle tissue from a donor mussel into the mussel that is to grow the pearl, and that triggers the formation of a pearl sac, which makes the pearl.

    In the case of Tahitians, akoyas, South Sea pearls, Sea of Cortez pearls and some freshwater pearls like Edisons, in addition to the mantle tissue there is a bead nucleus implanted into the oyster or mussel, over which the creature deposits nacre.

    The south sea pearls or akoya pearls you desire are farmed, cultured pearls. There are many honest vendors of cultured pearls, including Pearl Paradise, Pearls of Joy, Pure Pearls, TahitianPearls.biz, Kojima Pearls etc. in the USA. I bought my white South Sea strand from Pure Pearls.

    There are many, many vendors on eBay that list freshwater pearls falsely as Tahitian, akoya and south sea. So I can't recommend you buy non-freshwater pearls on eBay.

    Honest vendors may use the term "natural" to refer to natural colors. E.g. Freshwaters come in natural shades of lavender, pink and peach and some fancy colors. Pearl Paradise sells "natural white hanadama" which are cultured akoya pearls that are naturally white. (They have not been bleached or pinked, unlike basically all other akoyas.)

    Does this help?
    Excellent explanation Pearl Dreams. I would only add that as a vendor/retailer/wholesaler you must identify the origin of the pearl first...whether it be natural (wild) or cultivated (cultured). You may only describe a pearl as "natural in color" after its origin has been identified. There are many who describe "natural cultured pearls" which causes confusion. I like to think of cultured pearls like farm raised salmon. It is still a salmon...just grown in a hatchery and raised in a controlled environment.
    Last edited by JerseyPearl; 12-26-2017 at 10:18 PM.
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  2. #17
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert JerseyPearl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SK2017 View Post
    I've read that natural saltwater pearls are NOT cultured pearls; yet so many pearl vendors call their pearls natural and cultured. Some are produced at pearl farms----which I don't associate with the natural saltwater variety.

    I believe the only peals i've seen on the website for Pearl Paradise are cultured; beautiful, but not what I want. I also have seen lovely pearls occasionally on ebay, but simply do not trust the sellers regarding their quality.

    I would love to purchase a necklace of South Sea pearls or Akoya pearls as an heirloom gift for my daughter when she marries. I don't want to mistakenly buy her a fake/cheap set that has no real value.

    Are there any vendors who can be trusted to sell truly natural pearls at a more reasonable price than Mikimoto?
    Any vendors who sell vintage natural pearls that might be more affordable?

    Finally, if shopping abroad is there a particular country where they can be purchased more affordably over those sold in the US?
    Thank you!
    You have received some great information! I will only add how lovely your thoughtfulness is...what a great gift for a father to give his daughter!
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  3. #18
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    What a lovely gift for your daughter ! You, by now, understand that all the pearls you are considering are cultured pearls. Top companies like Mikimoto, Paspaley and Jewelmer have absolute top quality and prices that match. The very best will always be very expensive. Personally I would go for South Sea if you want them to last a lifetime. Akoya have a thin nacre and can wear off over many years of wear. It’s not a pearl I would trust from just anyone. You should do a quick read up on the Hanadama grades and the difference between that grade and AAA.

    I always suggest a visit to a very good jewellery store and have a look at the sizes of pearls and the types, to be sure of exactly the size and length and type of pearl you want.

    One possibility is to consider top quality pearls but in studs and a pendant . You get the very best but at the cost of 3 pearls. ( won’t be cheap but will certainly cost less )

    Best of luck

  4. #19
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Even Mikimoto has different grades of pearls, however.

  5. #20
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl Dreams View Post
    Even Mikimoto has different grades of pearls, however.
    Very true and big price differences between the grades !

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