Yes, all black Akoya pearls are dyed! It is hard to say what your pearls would be valued at without seeing them. Typically, smaller baroque Akoya pearls are not valued very high. They are very unique but because they are not perfectly round, they do not carry much weight in terms of value in the pearl industry.
The strand would probably wholesale for around $25 if it has a nice color and luster. FOr a rule, the baroque Akoya pearls are not very expensive. And if the look is not good white, they are dyed black.
Actually, there are two common methods for creating black Akoya pearls. The most common is dyeing, and the second is irradiation.
Dyeing a strand affects the nacre of an Akoya pearl. The dye permeates the nacre, but not the bead nucleus.
Irradiation (gamma ray radiation) affects the nucleus of an Akoya pearl. It literally burns the mother-of-pearl nucleus to make a black pearl.
And to state the obvious, Akoya pearls are never naturally black. Only Tahitian pearls have this attribute. (There are a few exceptions such as Cortez Pearls and quahogs.)
Baroque Akoya pearls generally have a very low value. A black baroque Akoya will have an even lower value since it has been treated. The retail value on a the nicest black, baroque, Akoya strand of this length and size would be around $250, while a very poor strand like this might retail for as little as $15.
Last edited by The Pearl Outlet; 02-24-2006 at 07:28 PM.
Baroque pearls are always going to be valued less than the round version of the pearl. However, baroque pearls are very "designer" and unique which is part of their allure. Baroque pearls are popular for their uniqueness and ability to attract attention. Personally, I love baroque pearls (my personal favorite are the Tahitians) and though they are not valued as much as round Tahitians are, they are very exotic and eye-catching!
Baroques may be the least expensive when it comes to shape of the pearl, but in terms of quality, baroque necklaces can carry a very high value. A poor quality round pearl can bring much less than a high quality baroque pearl.
Also note another common characteristic of baroque pearls is they often display a very high orient. Once they've been treated though, this orient is often destroyed.