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  1. #1
    Pearl Designer & Collector Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Default Opinions on "BIWA' Pearl Ring - needed

    Hi All,

    About Biwa Pearls I know virtually nothing but I would love to know what the opinion is of this so called Biwa Pearl and also the setting it is in. I find the setting interesting but of course it is large and would not be worn everyday by any means.

    But is this a Biwa Pearl and if not does anyone have a "legal" photo of a True Biwa that they could post for all to see and learn from.

    Thanks, Bo - Dawn
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  2. #2
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    I don't have a picture though I have seen them. I think it could be a genuine biwa. Hope someone who knows will speak up and/or post a picture of one.
    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.

  3. #3
    Pearl Designer & Collector Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Thanks Caitlin,

    I saw another one too and they both looked very much the same. Prices vary a lot though.

    Dawn
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  4. #4
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    i have one picture .is fw pearl with silvers and zirconium.
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  5. #5
    DFrey
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    Hi Bo,
    The pearl rings that you posted pics of could be pearls from lake Biwa and the organic flowing look of the rings is certainly from the right time period, but then they may not be as well. The problem with pearls from Lake Biwa is they don't look that different from some Chinese keishi. The "stick" pearls from China are what most people think of as Biwa because the dealers call them that. The Biwas that I used in the 1970's and early eighties came in different shapes, not just the long stick shapes.
    IMO unless you have provenience on pearls being sold as Lake Biwa production it is difficult to impossible in most cases to tell the difference between them and Chinese production. Some of the Chinese "exotic" colors and some of the extreme orient and lustre on Chinese Keishi I never saw in the Biwa Pearls I handled.

    My wife has a couple of pieces of jewelry with pearls from Lake Biwa in them that I will try to put pics up of today.

    DFrey

  6. #6
    pattye
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    Hi All,

    This is my Biwa ring, purchased in Hawaii in the early 80's.
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    It is in a 14k gold custom ribbon mounting. The colors were described by the appraiser as multicolor copper, silver, yellow and white, good lustre orient and measuring 25mm x 6.4mm x 8mm.

    My ring color and shape differs greatly from the Biwa ring Heidi and I saw at the recent Jewelry Show. It was a lovely rosey lavender color with some teal blue iridescent, as I recall, without the extreme changes in color my ring had. Also the pearl was irregular shaped, not the long bar shape, It more squarish, like a smaller double bar shape.

    Strack says on page 416, "The colors range from white, cream, silver white and grey to light pink, pinkish violet, violet, red, yellow, orange, gold, brown and to bluish and greenish hues." She describes them as coming in many fancy baroque shapes.

    I don't know if there is a definitive way without provenance to know if it is truly a Biwa ring or not.

    Dfrey, you were indeed fortunate to see the real pearls, I look forward to your photos.

    Pattye
    so many pearls, so little time
    Last edited by pattye; 05-03-2008 at 04:47 PM. Reason: fix photo

  7. #7
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    The pearls I've seen which are idenitifed as actual Biwas are more of a nugget shape and not long. I've looked through Strack many times looking for a definitive photo but have found nothing. Caitlin, have you been able to find any in Strack?

    I have a girlfriend who was given pair of pearl earrings many years ago. When we discussed them and she told me the shape and age, I thought they more than likely are real Biwas, not the fakes around today. I saw them and they exhibit a great orient. We were discussing this just last week as a matter of fact. I asked if I could get photos to post and she said yes, but I have to figure out how to do that. I'll make it priority to get that done.
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  8. #8
    pattye
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    There are pictures in Strack on pages 412, 413, 416 and 417.

    Pattye
    so many pearls, so little time

  9. #9
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    Thanks! Also, here's a link to some photos from American Pearl. http://www.americanpearl.com/ksbw3.html

    Pattye: Am I reading this right? The pre-WWII production is of the nugget shapes. In the 70's they introduced the American hosts with MOP nuclei resulting in the more varied shapes and colors? I'm going to have to spend some time with this tonight.
    Last edited by knotty panda; 05-03-2008 at 06:44 PM.
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  10. #10
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    This is my Biwa ring, purchased in Hawaii in the early 80's.
    Pattye of the endless pearls.....
    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.

  11. #11
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Early 80's might too early for Chinese "biwas"

    Because of issues AP may have/had with touting their "Japanese" akoyas, I would not fully trust this pearl without the original bill of sale. Back when the founder of AP was in charge, they were probably biwas from Japan, but now that Japanese don't have biwas and the Chinese do, ??????? He doesn't say WHEN he got them....
    Last edited by Caitlin; 05-03-2008 at 08:58 PM.
    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
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    And I think that's the whole point of this thread. Who can trust anything labeled Biwa? We can only make educated guesses unless there's more to go on besides the pearl itself especially since the word Biwa has become ubiquitious with stick pearls and even freshies in general. Bo asked for an identification. Shoot from the hip answers aren't good enough for this one, IMO.
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  13. #13
    DFrey
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    This is a gold brooch I made in 1980-81 that has a 10.2x 8.6x 5mm pearl from Lake Biwa in it. Creamy color, great luster with good orient in direct light. China is producing stick pearls that are very similar to the long pearls from Lake Biwa and I believe that there are pearls similar to the one in this brooch being produced in China. After sorting through a lot of Chinese Keishi pearls I came to the conclusion that with some of the nice fat Chinese Keishi and what are labeled Chinese biwa pearls ( stick pearls ) the best of them don't look a whole lot different than the pearls from Lake Biwa that I gave to my wife .
    Dfrey
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  14. #14
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    I think Pattye's pearl ring predates the Chinese biwas.


    If Eddy's are from original Japanese biwas, I am surprised he doesn't claim it is old stock he has hung onto until now. And even say they aren't Chinese.....Well I guess I'll just blow on my six shooter and put it away


    Dawn, does this one have a hallmark? The style reminds me of the freeform design of the late 60's and later.
    Last edited by Caitlin; 05-04-2008 at 04:58 AM.
    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.

  15. #15
    Pearl Designer & Collector Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Hi Caitlin,

    I didn't buy the ring but was researching it for someone else, but I will find out if it has any hallmarks. I can't remember off the top of my head. I have the feeling it is the real thing but it is so hard to be sure. I do have a ring with 2 pearls in it that I bought some time ago and listed on PF then but that one was in doubt as to whether it was Biwa although I think the age of it made it possible. Will try and find that post when I have a few minutes. I think the style is from before the stick pearls were being sold as Biwas so in my opinion it has a good chance of being the real thing. Also believe that anyone with genuine Biwa pearls have a hard time getting anywhere near what they are really worth because so many sellers call their stick pearls Biwa. Calling a pearl Biwa now is like saying this is a cheap mass produced cultured pearl and in fact probably 95% of sellers and buyers alike think that is what the fancy name for stick pearls is. All except the Chinese pearl producers that is.

    Thanks to all that chimed in here. I know the lady did win it and I believe she is very happy with it. I will check with her and see what she thinks now and if it has hallmarks.

    Dawn