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  1. #1

    Default Value of my mother's natural baroque pearls?

    Hi folks--

    This is my first post in this forum, as the only pearls I own are the ones I'm inquiring about. I'm going to attempt to post some pictures of them along with this post, though I just tried to do that and your system logged me out and I lost everything I had written! So here goes again. If I'm not posting this in the right part of the Forum, I hope that someone will move it for me.

    I inherited these pearls when my mother died in 1982. The story she told me is that her grandfather, who was a Naval Captain, collected them for her during his trips to the Orient(?), natural pearl by natural pearl, usually in pairs. When he had enough of them, he had them made into a finished necklace which he presented to her at her college graduation, in 1934 or '35. They became one of her most beloved possessions and she wore them often until her death.

    They are strung on a fine white gold or platinum chain, with a clasp of the same metal that has small diamonds set into it. The necklace is 18" long. The pearls have a wonderful lustre--sorry it doesn't show too well in the photos, but I can take more if the need arises.

    Like so many of us, I am experiencing great financial stress these days and am considering selling these pearls for the first time. Since I know virtually nothing about their value, I am turning to you folks for an objective estimate of their value and perhaps some leads on the best way to sell them. I do not want to get ripped off, especially with a treasured family heirloom!

    Thanks in advance for any help and leads that you can give me.

    Attached Images Attached Images    

  2. #2
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    I'm sorry to hear that you are going through bad times. These are druzy/rosebud pearls. I'm not familiar with their pricing as I don't see it in the B&M shops. Maybe others could help?
    Wishlist: 13mm GSSP earrings

  3. #3


    If you say they are natural, then I am guessing that they are American pearls... I've been through the "n'ah they're 'druzy' cultured" a while back and a couple of such things with a lab report convinced me that there are 'druzi' natural pearl somewhere and you may be pleasantly surprised by the price tags on similar things.

    The American Pearl Company has them and might be one place for you to find out a price - and market, if interested, for the pearls. Here's the link:

    (see the 'rosebud' pearls among the naturals)

    Sure, there are cultured pearls that look like that and cost nothing (or whereabouts), so you may need a convincing ID for the strand, but that's another story. I cannot tell from pictures (and probably in person either!) just write this answer assuming you the pearls are natural. You will need proof.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Valeria101; 05-31-2008 at 02:32 PM.

  4. #4


    Hi ladywolf,

    the advice given by Valeria101 is very good. You could also contact Care Ehret of Druzy Design (Ebay seller), it seems to me that she too is an expert on unusual pearls, perhaps she can help you too. If they are natural freshwater then Gina Landresse of American Pearl Company is the natural expert to ask. Dont mix the company up with American Pearl.

  5. #5
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Mervione's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    The thought that first come to me is that it?s such a shame you have to sell them... I?ve always been weak to family heirlooms.

  6. #6


    Hi Ladywolf,

    That is certainly an unusual strand you have there. It is important that you get an accurate appraisal to get the proper value for the pearls. I can personally recommend Sharon's services as a trained, experienced pearl appraiser, as can others on the forum. Do not take the pearls to just any appraiser. Most will not be able to appropriately help you. She does travel some, so if you cannot reach her right away, be persistent.

    It is intriguing to me that your Great Grandfather would choose druzy pearls to collect! They are one of my favorites also! And to have naturals would be truly special. Please let us know what you find out. I too am saddened that you might have to sell such special pearls.

    so many pearls, so little time

    Northwest Gemological Laboratory
    Appraisers and Brokers of Gems and Fine Jewelry

    Sharon Wakefield, BS ChE, GG, ISA-CAPP
    PO Box 8243
    Boise Idaho 83707


    phone 208 362-3938
    fax 208 362-2889

  7. #7


    Hi all you kind folks--

    Thank you so much for your input and sympathetic thoughts. Yes, it is sad but true-- I AM down to selling the very last things I own that have any value, just to be able to buy people food, dog food, gas and dish soap--in other words, just to survive on the physical plane. (My emotional plane is pretty wrecked by now...) I have no progeny, no one to leave family memorabilia to, and this does make it easier to think of selling the last family heirlooms...sigh.

    But on a different note: I know that the pearls are natural ones, but how would I go about proving it? I have a couple of old appraisals somewhere I think--done perhaps in the 60's and 70's, when they were worth $300-$500. I believe that this was before druzy pearls that look like these began to be cultured and became cheap and easily available. My great-grandfather apparently decided to collect pearls for my mother that would be different and unique, so that HER pearl necklace would stand out from the smooth pearls the other "girls" were wearing in the thirties. I remember her telling me that she wasn't sure she liked them when he first gave them to her, since they did NOT look like everyone else's strands--but I also know that by now, they are of more value than many of those strands of round pearls.

    And as I think about it, the pearls may indeed be American as you suggest, not Oriental. I have two gorgeous gold/diamond pins and some vintage silk that I remember hearing that my great-grandfather brought back from the Orient, and I may have confused the origin of the pearls with that of the pins.

    Can the pearls speak for themselves in an appraisal--can they tell their own age and history? I don't have the money right now to have a very costly appraisal done. I'm running out of time right now, but later I'll try to get a couple of really good close-up shots and post them.

    Later, too, I'll follow through on some of the ideas you have suggested. Thanks!

    Last edited by ladywolf; 05-31-2008 at 07:05 PM.

  8. #8
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    near Tucson AZ


    Can the pearls speak for themselves in an appraisal--can they tell their own age and history?
    They can tell a lot about themselves-

    If your grandfather got them in the "Orient" it would blow the American freshwater story, though America is the only place freswater naturals were coming from at the time.

    If he got them in the "Orient", they could be Persian Gulf pearls, but I doubt they were from the far east and I don't think they are salt water pearls. I have never seen pearls like that from the Persian Gulf.

    If those are natural , it will be worth the expense to send them to Sharon. You need certification of somekind.

    You should dig up the old appraisals and put them up. That will help us decide.

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  9. #9
    First-graft Pearl
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Atlanta GA metro area


    Really unique. The clasp looks like it has a diamond in it -- perhaps and old mine cut because the table is small. Is the metal white gold? Could be platinum. Are there any markings on the clasp? Just a thought -- you might be able to sell the clasp and keep the pearls since they are definitely one of a kind.

  10. #10


    Hi Richipat (and everyone else)--

    Actually, the clasp has ten small diamonds in it--five on each side. I can't find a mark on the clasp right now--will have to use a magnifier tomorrow. I'm certain it's either white gold or platinum, but am not sure which. (I'm a jeweler myself, by the way, and a glass beadmaker--just not a pearl expert.)

    From past experience, I know that I would get very little for the clasp alone, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to want to sell the whole necklace. Re/finding old appraisals, even if I can, I don't think they'll help a lot, as the pearls were "just" one item among twenty or so that were appraised as a batch, so they got short shrift compared to the diamonds, emeralds etc. that were sold long ago.

    I think I do remember the pearls being listed as "freshwater Baroque" on the appraisal list--were they maybe not using the term "druzy" yet in the sixties/seventies? (Forgive my ignorance re/these things.)

    I'm going to attach a couple more photos now--extreme closeups of a few of the beauties on the strand. (Sorry about the lens shadow in one of them.) Perhaps they'll give us a bit more to go on. As a jeweler who has worked with beads of all kinds for forty-some years (as well as metal and glass), I've seen plenty of gorgeous cultured pearls, but these are something else again.

    Thanks for your continuing input. Roughly, what might it/should it cost to have an expert appraisal done?

    Attached Images Attached Images   

  11. #11


    Can't say for sure what Sharon charges now, but probably around $100-$125? for the appraisal, plus fee to send registered---------. Since she is also a broker she may be also able to advise you regarding selling-------the old appraisals maybe hold information you have forgotten, so hope you can find them. Be sure to let Sharon know you heard about her on Pearl-Guide------------

    so many pearls, so little time

  12. #12


    Hi again everyone--

    Thank you so much for all of your helpful information and ideas. I really have appreciated your sage input, since I know relatively little about old pearls.

    A question now, though--I wrote to Sharon about two weeks ago, attached a few photos, and asked her if she would do an appraisal for me, but I haven't heard anything back from her at all. Does anyone know if she is travelling and is out of touch? And...if I don't hear from her fairly soon, can any of you recommend someone else who could do a good, honest, expert appraisal for me? I really had hoped to do something about selling my pearls this summer. (I'm a substitute teacher who has no work--hence no income at all!--during the summer.)

    Again, thanks in advance for your help!

    Ladywolf a.k.a. Margi

    P.S. Don't the extreme enlargements of the pearls above look pretty wild on the screen of a monitor? I have an old Sony Mavica digicam which does lousy distance shots, but fabulous macro pictures. On my monitor, each of the pearls is about 3 inches long!

  13. #13


    This is a test post from Margi--real post to follow

  14. #14


    Hi again folks--

    Well, it's taken a long time, but I finally got my mother's pearls sent off to GIA, and...good news!...they are INDEED real!

    So now I need to find someone excellent to appraise them for me. I live in the Tucson area--anyone know of anyone around here? Or a great place to send them? I've written to Sharon but she never responded at all this time, and I don't know which way to go with them now.

    Any tips would be much appreciated. Not only did my pearls come back today, but I finished teaching summer school to 23 screaming little demons today too--a fine day!

    My best to everyone--Ladywolf aka Margi

  15. #15
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    You can send them to any auction house with the certificate and they will put a value on them and sell them for you.
    Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]

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