can anyone tell me if pearlsonly.com offers good quality. .
Last edited by Admin; 02-06-2006 at 05:36 AM.
That's a loaded question, when many of the members of this group are retailers and wholesalers with their own web sites or brick-and-mortar stores. A few things to note about PearlsOnly's web site.
They advertise that all of their pearls are Japanese. See this article: Japanese Pearls?
I feel their advertising is intentionally dishonest as they must know (if they are "experts" as they claim), that the term "Japanese Akoya Pearl" is no longer an indsutry recognized term. It is the equivalent of "the world is flat" 700 years ago. They use it to deceive the consumer.
They also state that Japanese pearls are 70% more valuable that Chinese. This is an outright lie with no basis in fact whatsoever.
Keep in mind, when grading Akoya pearls, the country of origin is never disclosed. Furthermore, many Chinese Akoya pearls surpass Japanese Akoya pearls in quality and thus will appraise for more.
Lastly, I believe all of their pearls ship out of China. Thus the reason they have to give away "FedEx Express" shipping.
To answer your question the best I can without getting into legal trouble, I'd recommend you buy a similar pearl necklace for half the price, from one of their competitors, and compare the quality. Then judge for yourself and return the one you don't like.
Last edited by jshepherd; 04-26-2006 at 12:04 AM.
One other note of interest, PearlsOnly also grades many of their Akoya and Tahtian strands as AAA+. Thus, this begs the question, "Are their AAA quality strands of lower quality than a competitors AAA quality?"
Then, to make matters more confusing, they go so far as to call many of their freshwater pearls AAAA quality. That's right, it's not a misprint. There are 4 A's there. Remind you of the typical eBay scam?
Thank you for your honest opnion. I for sure don't want t to get anyone into legal troubles. It's good to now that there are still a few honest people in the online world.
Senior Guide Member
They definitely do ship out of China, Beijing to be exact. For some odd reason a lot of people call me to return their (PearlsOnly's) pearls. I am really not sure why their customers get our Sites mixed up, but it has happened several times – once one of their customers actually sent a return to my office.
In regards to price and value, for those of us who watch trends on the Internet, their prices have been steadily increasing (with a big jump near the beginning of the holiday season). What is more notable, however, is that the "retail value" of the same items has jumped tremendously for the same items, and same qualities. I guess it is just a justification of high prices. It appears to me that the average mark up they carry for freshwater is 8-10 times the price they probably pay.
I agree with Terry about the Japanese Akoya pearls as well. As a buyer that deals with both Japanese and Chinese Akoya factories I know, and it is common knowledge in both Japan and China, that the Japanese purchase nearly all of their smaller pearls from China. They then process them and sell them as 'Made in Japan'. I only buy 8mm and larger from Japanese factories because in fact if I were to purchase smaller pearls from them I would only be paying an additional middleman, and I would not be providing the best value to my customers.
So basically, the statement that "all our pearls are Japanese" I feel is disingenuous as they are certainly aware that they were not all farmed in Japan. The statement that Japanese pearls are 70% more valuable is certainly not true. Quality for quality there is no appraiser that would be able to tell the difference.
Hello all of you. Been a way for a while. It is good to see alively conversations continue.
I did a little my own research on this and Amanda is correct. If you see the web archive of the Site here:
The necklace is selling for $549 and is valued at $2000. The price selling for seems about average and the value a high retail plausible price.
Then, today the site shows the same necklace with the price for $999 (but on sale today) and the value for $4000 (I never see a freshwater necklace in this not-so-big size sell for this price). It is the exact same necklace. How can the value go up when the prices for the freshwater pearls have been going down on the market? It should be the opposite!
This site receives a 'no confidence' vote from me. There are actually several things that I do not like nor trust about.
Last edited by Kenji; 02-08-2006 at 01:05 AM.
My sister bought a "AAAA" freshwater 18" necklace from pearlsonly last month, she got ripped off and paid about $350 for the 7~8mm size, she showed it to me the other day, while they're not spherical but they looks round to naked eye, luster is decent but not as shinny or mirror like as most Akoya that I've seen, though the surface is perfectly smooth and I can not find any blemish on them which I think is pretty impressive. And yup she told me the necklace was shipped directly from Beijing China, I have a sets of AAA freshwater necklace and bracelet coming from pearlparadise next week so I'll see how they compared.
Amanda, the reason that people end up calling you to return their Pearls Only pearls is that they have a return box in Houston. Even though their office is in China and they ship out of China, they list their address as Houston TX and they have a return box set up there that will forward to China. So, my guess is that people do a search for an address on the web and come up with your store.
Terry also pointed out that a AAAA (4A) grading scale is used. You could easily match this against the more accepted grading scales in use by most other retailers. Basically the equivalents would look like this:
AAAA = AAA
AAA = AA+
AA = AA
A = A
So if you were to compare similar pieces, their AAA 6.5mm - 7mm White Akoya would compare against most others AA+ quality. This is only as estimate however because the one thing they do not divulge in their grading is Surface Purity. For Surface Purity they use terms such as "clean" or "near clean" rather than stating the percentage of the surface that is unblemished.
You know what else I have noticed on Pearlsonly.com? They call all their pearls 'Japanese Akoya Pearls', but are careful that no claims are made on their Site that the pearls are actually farmed in Japan. If the pearls are treated and drilled in Japan they are still sold as Japanese Akoya pearls. They hint that the pearls are farmed in Japan but do not actually say it. This way they apparently think they are not being dishonest to their customers - I personally feel it is very dishonest. One should point out that because they then string their pearls in China, are they not once again Chinese Akoya pearls - the necklaces are now made in China and this is Japan's whole argument for calling their's 'Japanese Akoya pearls'.
The statement that all people should look for the blue tag before purchasing is, I feel, just a way to make others' pearls look bad. The blue tag means nothing to a real pearler, and almost no one pays the extra money for the tag - it is just a marketing gimick. How many jewelry stores have ANY of you been in where you see Akoya pearls with a blue tag? Not even the highest end like Tiffany or Mikimoto use it. They are trying to claim a standard that does not exist anywhere but on their own Site.
I would ask them, 'where do you string your pearls'? If they are based in China, and they offer differing lengths while shipping same day, they obviously string them in China. Therefore, by their own argument I am sure, the pieces become made in China.
I do not actually completely subscribe to this belief, but I just find the wording infuriating, especially since the term 'Japanese Akoya Pearls' is seen by the industry as now be invalidated. I also have always felt that the Japanese practice of importing Chinese Akoya and making strands to call Japanese Akoya pearls is deeply dishonest. The honest thing to do would be to ONLY use the term for pearls they know are 100% Japanese - larger than 8mm!!! If I were to call Tahitian necklaces that I personally drill and string 'British Pearls', and make no referrence to actual origin, what would people say? They would probably call me dishonest as well!
Last edited by Selectraders; 03-01-2006 at 02:18 AM.
They are calling their pearls "Japanese Akoya Pearls" because they were purchased in Japan and they have the blue tag that is issued from JPEA. The tag system evaluates (not 'grades') any pearls that are submitted to them on nacre thickness, luster and clarity, blemishing, nacre damaging and processing. It does not evaluate or even stipulate country of origin. According to the JPEA, any pearls cultivated for an appropriate period of time, and processed without damaging the quality of the pearl will meet the Cultured Pearl Standards.
I have been doing some reading on this lately and the most interesting thing is that the JPEA will evaluate any pearl that is submitted and according to them "all kinds of pearls can be submitted to inspection". When you combine that with the growing number of Freshwater pearls that are imported into Japan from Hong Kong and China, it seems entirely feasible to have strands of Freshwater pearls cultured in China being sold to US distributors with the JPEA tag attached.
That just seems to devalue the importance of the tag even more.
Now, I am not saying that is what is happening. I am just saying that my opinion of the Tag System has changed. While I did not think that it signified that the pearls were "made in Japan", I did previously think that it was a good way to offer the consumer assurance that the pearls were of good quality. My opinion now is that it is purely a marketing tactic playing on the consumers lack of knowledge of pearls. If any pearl from any country of origin can be submitted and have a tag attached (providing that it is in a shape to be sold)... well, you get the picture.
I asked Pearlsonly.com why their Japanese pearls were shipped out of China.
They replied that they have a main office in Beijing and that their buyers go
into Japan and purchase the best of Japanese Akoyas, bring them back to
China and there the necklace size you have ordered is made. So, that would
tell me that the pearls are indeed Japanese (came out of Japan) and the
necklace is made in China.
Basically what I have discovered is that a buyer has to trust the seller
until they have the product in their hands and can judge for themselves
wither the pearls are what they want for the money paid.
The good part is that most have a return policy which takes away a
little of the anxiety of the purchase.
This does not mean that the pearls they buy are cultured in Japan. This only means they are paying a higher price for the same pearls available in China. The Japanese farms do not sell directly to wholesalers, they sell to processing factories. These same factories also import Akoya from China at the rate of up to 80% of the pearls that are processed there (Japan is currently the largest importer of Akoya from China). The strands that are purchased from these factories are a mix of both.
Originally Posted by Elizabeth
So, them telling you they are buying the best of "Japanese Akoya" is not true. They make no distinction between Japanese and Chinese Akoya in these factories.
Them telling you that they are strung and shipped out of China is true. All their pearls are shipped from China. The Houston TX address listed on the site is simply a mail forwarding service that forwards mail and packages to overseas addresses.
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