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  1. #1
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Default The Pearl Trap: What are these pearls purchased from exotic locations?

    More and more often we have people coming here with their pearls from exotic locales. The pearls were bought at a tourist destination in any number of places in Indonesia, Arabia, the Philippines, Greece, Margarita Island off South America, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India or any one of a number of Pacific islands, including Hawaii. All that is needed is a body of water nearby.

    What these destinations all have in common is- people love to buy pearls while visiting exotic locations. So, while the sale gratifies a fantasy for the tourist, the product is all too often Chinese Freshwater pearls, sold as "natural" local pearls. The sellers have great stories. They say they just got the pearls from local fishermen, or that they themselves are from the 11th generation of a glorious pearl family and they stand by their claims with impeccable pedigrees. Or that the pearls are a family treasure passed down for generations, but bad times, etc.....

    The only thing never said is, that they are inexpensive Chinese freshwater pearls. If they are curious enough, they research their pearls and come here with the fabulous story and locale of the pictured pearls only to have the truth revealed. Fortunately they all seem to be pretty pearls so many times the people don't mind when their eyes are opened to the scam. Often, the price of the pearls alone tells you they are freshwater pearls. Even though the tourist may have bought a story, the price of the pearls is no where near what it would be if the story were true.

    Did I leave anything out?
    Caitlin

    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.

  2. #2
    Administrator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Kevin Canning's Avatar
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    Even though the tourist may have bought a story
    This, people want to come home with the story as much as the pearl.
    Kevin Canning
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  3. #3
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Extremely thoughtful observations, Caitlin and Kevin.
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

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    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  4. #4
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    It only gets found out if the people want to find out how much their pearls are worth. When I wrote that, I was thinking of dozens of times when people came here with their romantic purchase and gotten a dose of cold water thrown on it.

    Better not to take the romantic story too literally.
    Caitlin

    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.

  5. #5
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert KarinK's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Caitlin View Post
    Better not to take the romantic story too literally.
    Or to just leave it at that and not go checking up on it

    - Karin

  6. #6
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lilliefuzzysocks's Avatar
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    I love to buy jewelry on vacation. Unless you know exactly what you are looking at before you buy, you set yourself up for trouble. Unfortunatly depending on what you want to buy, seeing the real deal in person before hand in order to make a educated purchase is impossible so you are at the mercy of the seller.

  7. #7
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    People like romantic stories on eBay as well. I recall reading one seller's candid post, on eBay boards, about how she would routinely lie about the provenance of what she was selling (dolls) because people liked to be told a story.

    Some of those pearls on eBay that are listed as having been handed down from grandmother may just as easily have been bought at a yard sale, flea market or thrift shop, for all we know.

  8. #8
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    I was recently in Singapore and was doing some window shopping at a popular departmental store. I came across a substantial section selling pearl-like strands; all perfectly matched with no blemishes and selling at SGD$200-250. Upon closer inspection, these appeared to be imitation pearls. It is all fine until the sales person approached me and the conversation went like this.

    Salesperson: These are cultured pearls from Austria.
    Me: You mean Australia?
    Salesperson: No, Austria. These are special new pearls from Austria.
    Me: If these are cultured pearls, it should be more expensive.
    Salesperson: Yes. But these are special pearls from Austria. And by the way, the other cultured pearls from Mikimoto...their pearl prices have been dropping a lot recently. That's why we sell ours so cheap.
    Me: (After inspecting the drilling hole) But inside the pearl, it's hollow inside. And the colour is around the drill is peeling off. These can't be cultured pearls.
    Salesperson: Ok then. Look, these are real pearls. (starting to sound angry). I have a big store here. And these pearls are real. If you like it you buy. If you don't like it, you don't buy.
    Me: Ok. I am not buying. (And walked away)

    I am thinking of writing an email to the departmental store about this incident and how can a reputable store be misrepresenting its products. It seems like a deliberate attempt to trick the ignorant public.

  9. #9
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Thank you for reporting this incident. It happens all too often...
    Caitlin

    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.

  10. #10
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Austria, huh? Maybe they are Swarovski-- the company is Austrian. Imitation, of course.

    So either the salesperson was lying through his teeth or he doesn't know Swarovski aren't real. I vote for lying. Swarovski (if they are that) should have a brand label.

  11. #11
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    I think you are correct, PD. Those swarovsky pearls are from Austria and they are imitation pearls. I have seen some I would wear, even though they are fake, they are pretty.
    Caitlin

    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.

  12. #12
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    Swarovski Pearls? I am learning new things everyday! Thanks PD and Caitlin.

    PD, if it's Swarovski, then the salesperson could have explained it better. The fact he got angry when questioned shows that he is most probably lying.

    These Swarvovski Pearls are really tough. From the many websites selling them, they seem to be "resistant to scratches and abrasions, UV light, perspiration, and perfume. You can even wash them and dry-clean them if they are sewn onto clothing or other articles that need washing." Apparently due to some special coating. I know some clients would probably love their pearls to be that tough!

  13. #13
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    WOW! The imitation Majorica Pearls from Spain go for those kind of prices and even higher, perhaps Swarovski do also in a high end B&M shop.
    Pattye


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    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  14. #14
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Swarovski has its own mall stores and their things are not inexpensive, even though they use base metal. 15 years ago I paid $40 for a very simple necklace for my MIL.

    Our local Nordstrom carries Swarovski jewelry. It's in the section for fashion jewelry, not the real stuff, but the prices are not low.

  15. #15
    pearl lover Senior Member perlinda's Avatar
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    One time I told a sales person in beading store that the pearls are fake/imitation and her reply was, "No, it's Swarovski pearls." Hmm......
    Indonesian South Sea Pearls and more...
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/IndoSeaPearls

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