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  1. #1

    Default Trustworthy Vendors Please

    Hello All,

    Brand new to online pearls in every way, ie, shopping and discussions. While definitely a novice, have learned much and purchased some Tahitian pearls during previous visits to Tahiti and Moorea.

    I apologize in advance if my inquiry may offend/annoy some. I read several of these threads after many attempts in the search fields, and admittedly, am short on avail time; hence new registration to just ask directly.

    Would like to know which online vendors are most trustworthy in terms of accurate descriptions? Fair pricing I can get a sense of after much comparison shopping, but just don't know whether to trust the "grading" and quality descriptions. I am an avid Amazon consumer and some ebay, so the level of doubt in my mind is always strong for online purchases since I need to trust reputations and reviews. I rather save money online tho, and not buy from brick and mortar. Sorry. Also short on time (again).

    I am interested in Tahitian pearls, dark body with green, purple overtones, 18" necklace, anywhere from 8-13mm, round, high quality with budget anywhere from $3000-6000.

    Checked out AmericanPearl, Pearl Paradise, Pearl Source, Blue Nile. Firm believer in getting what you pay for, but some of these quotes in comparison to retail seem over blown to me. For instance, Pearl Paradise has a necklace say for $3250, retail $16,500.

    So thanks so much for your advice and guidance in advance, and apologize for risk of being repetitive.

    AP

  2. #2
    Pearl Journalist Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
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    Have you price-shopped Tahitian pearl strands in fine brick and mortar jewelry stores? They certainly do sell for those prices. They have a large overhead that online sellers do not have to match. Out of your choices, personally, I would recommend Pearl Paradise in respect to the grading being accurate, good value, and the photos are of the piece you will get. Pearls of Joy is also a great seller and we have a lot of members here who stand by what they sell. I highly suggest you call the vendor and ask for the color that you are looking for and they can send you photos.

    Here's something fun: http://kojimapearl.myshopify.com/pro...pearl-bracelet.
    GemGeek
    The World Is My Oyster!

  3. #3
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    As a third choice, try tahitianpearls.biz. He has a big inventory posted of all qualities, prices and many varieties of Tahitians.
    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.

  4. #4
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    This recent blog post by PP about how they put together Tahitian necklaces may also interest you:

    http://blog.pearlparadise.com/?s=tahitian

    Consider that PP (and POJ and other large pearl vendors) buys pearls in large quantities, so they can get the pearls at lower prices and pass the savings along to customers. B&M stores do not have this clear advantage-- they have to pay more for the pearls themselves, so they must pass that higher cost along to customers.

  5. #5
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Sarah's Avatar
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    It's very hard for any vendor to take completely accurate photos of pearls since they look different in various lights, and each pearl rotates completely. I've found that the most reputable ones have very long return periods, so you have ample time to evaluate in person. To me 30-45 days to decide to return a purchase is exceedingly generous, but that seems to be a standard.
    Sarah Blue

    "She is mine own, and I as rich in having such a jewel as twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl, the water nectar, and the rocks pure gold." ~ William Shakespeare

  6. #6
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    When I first got to p-g.com, I tried counting the number of people Jeremy and his ilk bypassed. First, they go straight to China and cultivate relationships with various factories who do the processing. Though it is possible to visit the farms that feed the factory, no one buys from the farms except the factories. So you find a couple of good factories and order a lot of pearls. Then you have them shipped to your business site. Many are already knotted with clasps the buyer approved. Then they get shipped to the customer. Two steps.

    Band M stores usually buy from people who buy at the Agta show, or the equivalent wholesale to wholesalers show. If they did not go to the AGTA show themselves, they wait for salesman to drop a few necklaces off at their store. Most of the B&M wholesalers buy from wholesalers some of whom who buy from distributors who buy from importers who buy from exporters who buy from the factory. Please correct me if that chain is wrong. Jewelers can circumvent a few steps if they shop at the Agta booths themselves, but they rarely do, only artisans who then wholesale to retails stores and people who buy to resell to B&M buy from them. Maybe 5 steps.At best, 4.

    That is a lot of steps for the average B&M and most often his pearl stock is fronted to him on commission for resale. That is why all B&M's charge top dollar.
    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.

  7. #7
    Pearl Journalist Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
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    Yes, Caitlin is right that sales people visit jewelry stores with gems that may have gone through many hands. Also, thanks for the tahitianpearls.biz - I couldn't remember the name, but there are people here who have made good purchases.

    And Sarah Blue is right that pearls can look different because of lighting. Sometimes you can be surprised at how different they look in person.
    GemGeek
    The World Is My Oyster!

  8. #8

    Default

    Appreciate everyone's for your input. Tahitianpearls.biz has some nice designs, thanks. I like sites that can help with designs and options. Will do more homework.

  9. #9
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert waimeamomi's Avatar
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    Where are you located? That would help to know if you wanted to see what you were getting.
    Sheryl

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/mkmPearls
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    ?All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography? Frederico Fellini
    Momi means pearl in Hawaiian!

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by waimeamomi View Post
    Where are you located? That would help to know if you wanted to see what you were getting.

    Sheryl, I'm in NJ. No exotic options here. Well, really just wanted the most bang for the buck. So kinda need to trust the vendor's description. Thnx.

  11. #11
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member LitGeek's Avatar
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    I highly recommend PP. Beautiful pearls, great prices, fantastic customer service, and a good return policy. This is their busiest time of year, so I would pick up the phone instead of emailing them if you decide to go with them.

    Pearl photos are tricky. I received glamor shots of my blue-green Tahitian strand from PP and they are pretty true to real life depending on the lighting I am in. That is the thing with pearls, they are little chameleons and change with the lighting and the colors you are wearing...sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. You might want to check out this thread on Tahitans...vendor photos vs customer photos: http://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7415

  12. #12
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert KarinK's Avatar
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    Also be aware that for the most companies, including PP, custom orders are not returnable.

    - Karin

  13. #13
    Perpetual Pearl Student Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lisa c's Avatar
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    Kamoka Pearls. Josh farms and sells, and he nucleates with the shell of the critter that grows the pearl.

  14. #14
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member LitGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisa c View Post
    Kamoka Pearls. Josh farms and sells, and he nucleates with the shell of the critter that grows the pearl.
    Yes Josh is super nice and his pearls are amazing! I have made several purchases with him and have been thrilled with them all!

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