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  1. #1

    Default Southsea pearls or not?

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    Hi! I hope you can help me with these pictures of pearls. i am new to pearls and i'm not so sure how and what to look for.
    1. white southsea pearls? i paid $100 for this pair. it is around 13mm
    2. are these golden southsea pearls? two 14mm & one 15mm loose pearls. i'll be paying $225 for all three.
    3. green and brown. are these southsea pearls? i thought they come only in white and golden. or are they freshwater? they are between 12-13mm. are they worth $70 per pearl?
    4. my mom bought this necklace for me. according to the seller's tag it is baby southsea with southsea pendant. is there such a thing - baby southsea?

    i would appreciate some feedback. thank you.

  2. #2



    1: could be, would need better photo to be sure
    2: 14mm - 15mm for that price would not be possible being genuine south sea pearls ( i assume that they are round )
    3: they look definitely dyed to me, many lesser grade south sea pearls are dyed with some 'fancy' colors :l
    4: the baby south sea look more like freshwater pearls, the pendant could be a south sea pearl.


  3. #3
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl Expert waimeamomi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    PV Peninsula, California


    Sven beat me to it - everything he says, except that I think a matched, round pair of 13mm SS for 100. would be suspect. #3 could be Tahitians, but any pearls that color brown are dyed.

    ?All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography? Frederico Fellini
    Momi means pearl in Hawaiian!

  4. #4


    thanks for the quick reply. if picture #2 is not southsea (golden), could it be freshwater then? if it is, is it worth $225 for all 3? picture #1 the (white) pearls have blemishes and imperfections that's why i assumed it was cheap. how would i know if it is southsea?

  5. #5
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    near Tucson AZ


    The colors on the golds look dyed;theyre totally unreal looking. Baby south seas specifically means "freshwater pearls", esp aat Greenhills plaza, If the 13mm earrings are freshwaters and not shell pearls, they are worth the $$ but they could be shell pearls. I don't think you have any Southseas there. Real ones would be prices 10x higher, at least.

    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.

  6. #6


    thanks for your feedback. i've always suspected that the 13mm are fwp despite the seller's claim of them being southseas but never thought of shell pearls. what are shell pearls? how would i know if they are shell pearls or not? and the gold pearls, do you think they're freshwater or shell pearls? i haven't actually seen them yet - just through this photo. I'd rather spend my $225 on a good fwp. sorry for all the questions, i never thought that buying pearls would be this complicated. i'm really glad i found this site - i'm looking forward to learning more.

  7. #7


    For $225, you could get a stunning pair of top quality 9.5 to 10mm white freshwater pearl earrings with rose overtone on heavy-weight 14k gold studs...if you're paying $225 for the whole lot (of what's pictured), I agree that it's possible they are all shell pearl...or lower quality fwp

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Vancouver, BC


    Do the tooth test to check if they are shell pearls.

  9. #9
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl Expert KarinK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Copenhagen, Denmark


    Quote Originally Posted by DerekJ View Post
    Do the tooth test to check if they are shell pearls.
    In case you're unfamiliar with it - it means rubbing the pearls gently either against a tooth or against each other. If they are pearls they should feel slightly gritty. Shell pearls will feel smooth.

    You might want to look at some of the vendors from this site to compare prices before you buy anything from the pictures.

    - Karin

  10. #10
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007


    Shell pearls are simply fake pearls dressed up in a fancy name to disguise the fact that they are fake pearls. They are beads painted with a sort of stuff which is based either on mother of pearl (south sea shell pearls use the shells from south sea pearl farming) or fish scales (majorcan /majorica pearls)

  11. #11


    i agree with what Sven said.

    Who says pearls have to be white and round?

  12. #12


    They cannot be genuine south sea pearls unfortunately.

    In Indonesia, where many SS pearls can be found, for 15mm+ diameter AAA SS pearl, it would have cost around 250 US dollars per GRAM (and 15mm pearl alone would be about 5 grams, so a single pearl costs roughly 1250 US dollars).

  13. #13


    South sea pearls price depends on the quality, size, tax and store. Stores charge high because they are paying high rent and tax and they charge even higher if they are reputable jewellers . I bought some golden and black pearls in Greenhills but i wanted to make sure they were real so went to a gemologists paid 1500 pesos per set for appraisal with certificate. They were genuine south sea pearls and were dyed and low quality. Don't buy from PINKY or maybe they are all the same. Pinky even gave me a certificate saying she sold me high quality south sea pealrs but as i was in doubt i took it to a gemologists. I also have a suplier from palawan where they have pearl farms and where JEWELMER is from. And i asked her about the brown, chocolate and green south sea pearls if they are dyed. She is also new in the business she said she would ask her supplier and she claims her supplier is jewelmer which i didn't believe. Her supplier said they weren't dyed but they were injected something to achieve the color while still in the sea and said the color will not fade. I said i checked Jewelmer's website and they didn't mention any green or brown color and she said of course they won't published such things like that. I am waiting for my golden color order but will take it the appraiser again before i order more coz i also want to start selling . I am just looking for a trusted supplier

  14. #14
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Marina del Rey, CA


    I would actually take what the first gemologist told you with a grain of salt. The pearls couldn't be dyed in the Philippines (you need an actual pearl processing factory for that) and South Sea pearls are rarely dyed.

    The second supplier is making up stories; both about Jewelmer and the injections. Jewelmer doesn't sell brown and green, and no South Sea producers inject their shells to achieve color.

    Post some photos so we can tell you what you really have.

  15. #15


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    I didnt talk to the appraiser face to face as she was in her lab/office. It was the appraiser's assistant who said the black and golden set were real cultured SSP but dyed and low quality that's why they both have PHP18000 market value. They black turned out more green in the pictures. When i am looking at it there are purple overtones and greenhills seller said they're peacock. The white south sea set has the highest market value of PHP36000 and bought it from the last supplier that's why i ordered another set of golden and if they turn out to be good then i will purchase bluish grey and black south sea set. The golden earrings with PHP10000 market value was purchased in the souvernir shop in Palawan. All setting in 14k yellow gold but appraised as 12k gold only. The gemologists studied at GIA so i don't know. The only gemologist i found who appraise SSP coz all gemologists here are only interested in golds and diamonds as people here are not really into pearls more on golds and diamonds that's why thieves and snatchers won't bother with SSP. SSP is most appreaciated in the West i think. Just my opinion

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