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  1. #1

    Default My grandmother's pearls...

    These belonged to my grandma, I know nothing except my grandfather had the dinner ring custom made for her and I know they lived in Japan for some time in the 40's. I'm hoping somebody can shed some light as to what kind of pearls they may be. thanks!
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  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum!

    During the 1940s and 50s, graduated strands of cultured akoya pearls were sold in large numbers in Japan, often to servicemen, who bought them for their ladies at home. Typically the end pearls were about 3mm and the center pearl about 7mm. They were called 3.5 momme strands (momme being a unit of weight-- pearls are sold by weight) and were relatively affordable since most of the pearls were smaller. Here is a page that has some more information about these strands:
    http://www.imperial-deltah.com/news2...pied_japan.htm

    I think that is probably what you have, but I've also seen fake graduated strands. To be sure they are real, you can rub 2 of the pearls near the clasp against each other (gently!) and see if they are gritty. Fake pearls are smooth when rubbed together. It would be interesting to check the clasp also for a metal hallmark (could say 925 for sterling silver, or 14K for white gold.)

    These older pearls had thicker nacre than the average akoya strand today as the farmers left the pearls in the water longer. That is great news as it means they are durable.

    I've found these strands clean up very nicely and look great when restrung. You can clean them with mild soapy water and a soft cloth. I have a restringing tutorial that is stickied on the Lowly Beaders Club forum. I found 10# PowerPro to be a good size thread for stringing the 2 strands I have that are like yours.

    I expect the ring is also cultured akoya pearls, which are very round due to their having a bead as a nucleus.
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 02-18-2013 at 09:52 PM.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the info, loved the article. The clasp does have a marking, but my eyes can't read it. Any idea of the value of such pearls? I think the ring says 18k gold on the inside of the band. I should probably get a magnify glass.

  4. #4
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    The value is whatever people will pay for them. You can get an idea by looking at completed sales of such items on eBay- search for vintage/graduated pearls and pearl rings.

    Here is one search for the strands, from least paid to most paid, omitting freshwaters and faux/imitation/simulated/glass (even so, some dyed ones and freshwaters sneaked into the results):
    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw...fresh&_sacat=0

    Mikimoto brand draws the higher prices.

    You could also check out Ruby Lane, where a lot of vintage jewelry is sold.

    If the ring is 18K then of course it will have a higher market value, now that gold is so expensive.
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 02-21-2013 at 11:13 PM.

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