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  1. #1

    Default Antique Natural Pearl Strand Value ???

    Hello,

    Is there any way to try to establish the value of an antique strand of natural pearls?

    I have a strand with 120 pearls, each about 6mm in diameter and just about perfectly round, the color of each pearl is a creamy white and the strand is about 28 inches long with a really unique little clasp marked "835" which is an older marking for silver.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    You need the get the strand certified before you can gauge any sort of value. The EGL will do it, as will the GIA.

  3. #3
    Valeria101
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    Quote Originally Posted by ardec1
    ...120 pearls, each about 6mm in diameter and just about perfectly round...

    Any idea how old they really are?

    Natural - i.e. not cultured - that large, well matched as you describe, many and round would be a TREASURE.

    On the other hand, matched size and close to geometrically correct round shapes for such a long strand hints at cultured pearls. And I wouldn't know if and who could value them online from pictures. There should be a jewelry appraiser in the area who could help you. A few were mentioned on this forum.

    A report by a major gemological laboratory would be desirable if the pearls were natural (not cultured) as such things are desperately rare and valuable...so certain ID means allot. It makes little sense to have a report from AGTA, GIA, SSEF or whatever saying that the pearls are bead-nucleated cultured. Besides, these reports do not record quality or monetary value - so they'd not be useful in the same way/situation as an appraisal would.


    My 2c. - just about the use of these 'papers'. I can't know exactly what your pearls are and what would best fit your intentions with them (curiosity? impending buy or sale? etc.)...

  4. #4

    Default To Valeria101

    As far as I know they are early to mid 1800.

    They were supposedly bought by a family member who was a captain on one of the old "Clipper" ships.
    That part of the family lived on an island in Denmark named Bornholm up until about 1860.

    That is all I remember being told about them but then again, it could also just have been a tale by my grandmother who claimed she got them from her mother who got them from her mother who was married to the captain.

    I have uploaded two pictures of them.

    I am considering selling them, that is why I am asking.
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    Last edited by ardec1; 07-27-2007 at 01:41 AM.

  5. #5
    Valeria101
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    The story gives them a chance to be natural... so... I have to go with Jeremy's post that a lab report is a good thing here.

    AGTA would be the choice for 'color' in the US. Although GIA is the giant institution in the branch... because of their ever successful diamond certificates. But again, that's one unrelated debate and whichever lab says 'natural' it'll be what they say.

    If they are natural, that's f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s!

    And I am not saying they are... I wouldn't have guessed from the pictures without the story. No expert here.

  6. #6
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    They look way too perfect to be natural. There is no variation in size, shape or color. I doubt they are the pearls of your family's story, but if they are natural they would be worth over $100,000.

    They would usually be graduated, in size if natural)

    You must have them certified if you hope to sell them as natural.

    Here is a photo of a natural strand the sold at christies for some record breaking amount. Notice the variation in size shapes and color. Most aren't even that round- and this one probably blonged to royality a couple hundred years ago.
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  7. #7

    Default Thank you all very much for your input.

    I was not aware of what these pearls were before my mother told that she had them restrung several years ago and the jeweler who did the work told her that they were natural pearls.

    I have a friend who is a dentist so I am going to ask him to take a couple of x-rays of a couple of the pearls just to see what is inside of them. If those x-rays look good then it is probably worth to have them certified.

    Thanks again to all of you for your input.

  8. #8
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemsveritas
    If your family got a strand of pearls that long ago, they have probably been restrung more than once. Someone may have replaced the originals with newer pearls without anyone noticing.
    Just my 2c

    Regards
    Wendy

    Oh my God, how horrible would that be. Hopefully this will not turn out to be the case. But I find it rather unlikely. From the pic Caitlin posted, I think most women would notice the sudden roundness of the pearls and know they weren't the same. It is a rather profound change, even for someone who isn't a NCN. lol still love that term. Of course, I could see a scenario of a disreputable jewelry offering to replace the natural pearls with cultured if the woman really preferred the round shape. Obviously the jewelr wouldn't tell the woman the real value of the natural pearl and act like he was doing her a "favor".

    I must admit, my mind tends to go into very elaborate scenarios without any basis in fact. So, safe to say, I do NOT think this happened, just went off on a tangent of "what if". I think this family has too much invested in the history to consider changing out pearls for a shape preference. Good luck with your search, ardec1, and let us know how it develops.

  9. #9
    Satine De La Courcel
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    I am Not 100% sure that all pearl strands were graduated in the 1800's, yes in the early to mid 1900's that was the norm but not so sure about it beign a steady for the 1800's.

    I did some really quick Digging in my pearl books and this is what I found In Joan Younger Dickinson's Teh Book of Pearls on page 122 there are photographs of Isabella Stewart wearing a large necklace about her waist they do not appear to be graduated but not all uniform in shape either no date gicen but I suspect it's either 1890's or early 1900

    the other pic on this page is of Mrs George J Gould, wearign several pearl necklaces the longest is not graduated they are better in uniform but not all exact either this picture indicates possbly 1890's

    On pages 60-61 in the same book ther is a portrait of Mary Queen od Scots and Queen Elizabeth both wearign what is thoguth to be teh same strand of pearls again not graduated and not 100% uniform in shape either. Both portraits from the 1500's

    George Frederic Kunz' The Book of the Pearl, Pg 321 there is a picture of Great Pearl necklace of the frenc crown Jewels again not graduated... Pearls not 100 uniform to one another.... on page 472 teh ame portriat of Mrs George J Gould as in Dickinsons book.

    any number of things may be in play here. from pearls being replaced by patrons request to pearl sbeing replaced unknoingly, to it may just have been created or ordered that way.. to the strand being newer than thought with pearls being replaced to be more uniform.

    I have a hunch many pearls may have been replaced by a previous family members request and that tidbit of history forgotten over time.

    I do not think we will ever know the real deal with these..

    I wish you luck with your findings and hopefully these are the original strand purchased!

    Please let us know what your findings are! I for one would love to hear all about it!

    Cheers

    Ash
    Last edited by Ash; 07-28-2007 at 06:03 PM.

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    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Good work Ash! I did say "usually". And you will note WHO was wearing the non graduated gems. Some of the wealthiest people who ever lived.

    I have seem some of those as old as QE I, so they do occur, but if these are natural, these are far better matched for color and shape than most of the ones you cited which were worn by royality and those who wished they were royalty.

    If there is any possiblilty these are natural, they are worth getting certified, because this would be a VERY important necklace and it should not be hard to develop some provenance. Not even the Baroda pearls which just sold for 7 million plus had pearls as evenly round as the above --they are perfectly matched, but graduated. Even so there is visible variation in the way the individual pearls photograph.
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    Last edited by Caitlin; 07-28-2007 at 06:29 PM.

  11. #11
    Valeria101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caitlin Williams

    ...note WHO was wearing the non graduated gems. Some of the wealthiest people who ever lived.

    The V&A Museum negatives archives I've linked in another thread here contains some quantity of studio photos from around 1910 featuring pearl wearers (see the wedding photos in particular). It gives a good sense of who owned them and what the range was from royalty downwards. Quite interesting.

    Wonder if anyone ever did a targeted 'pearl survey' through such photographic archives , aside tracking specific pieces of royal jewelry.

  12. #12
    Satine De La Courcel
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    Hi Caitlyn,



    You Lucky Duck to see some pearls from QEI time... I can only imagine. Sigh.....

    I am looking forward to the findings on these pearls...

    I do love a good intrigue!!!

    Cheers
    Ash

  13. #13
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Hi Ash

    Remember the pink freshwater necklace that belongs to the Norfolk family and went into some big exhibition. That necklace was given by Queen Mary to the Duke of Norfolk as an engagement gift. His family has owned it ever since.
    Here is the link
    Last edited by Caitlin; 07-30-2007 at 05:28 PM.

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    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Kevin Canning's Avatar
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    I have a friend who is a dentist so I am going to ask him to take a couple of x-rays of a couple of the pearls just to see what is inside of them. If those x-rays look good then it is probably worth to have them certified.
    That is not going to work, its a different type of machine - the one your dentist uses is not suitable for examing pearls.
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    Super Moderator Senior Guide Member
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    If I were you, I'd send them off to get them certified.
    Amanda Raab
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