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  1. #1

    Default Pearls from my father's estate

    I received these from my father's estate. I have not had them certified. It contains 138 pearls. The have the skin of real pearls, meaning they are not perfect and symmetric upon very close inspection. They are quite beautiful. Any thoughts from the "experts" as I am really not that knowledgeable. I will likely get them certified if it will help me settling my father's estate. Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    How about some close ups?

  3. #3
    Ready For Grafting
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    Red face

    Maybe cultured Akoyas, but I close up would be more helpful.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caitlin View Post
    How about some close ups?
    I will try and take some close ups this week.

    I had an interesting visit with a "gemologist". He said they were real pearls. I asked if they were cultured or natural. He said cultured. I asked what he based that on as the skins and shapes of each pearl are unique and distinct upon close examination.

    His reply: 1.) The odds of you having 136 natural pearls on a necklace would be unheard of. 2.) If they were natural, they would not be in a clasp like yours.

    It is a gold diamond encrusted clasp, so I am not sure about that part. The first part, the odds, I agree with, but I need more than just "it is not possible".

    In any case, I will get some more close ups.

  5. #5
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    If those pearls were not cultured, but natural, it would be a highly, highly unusual necklace, given that all the pearls are round and the same fairly large, size. It would be worth at least 30k, if not 300k. We have hundreds if not thousands of photos of natural pearls. Not a single 3 strander that well matched in size, color and shape, among them. I dare say if your ancestor acquired that as a natural, it would have been extremely expensive for a pearl necklace of any given time. The only person I have ever seen wear a necklace of natural pearls of that size and shape is QEII. this necklace is in that league, if natural.

    Most natural pearls are off round to a greater or lesser degree. They are extremely hard to match in that large size. Even if all are the same size, in a natural strand, there will be variation in shades of color and overtones on each pearl that could easily be seen in each photo. The pearls would be visibly off round to the trained eye.

    My grandmother had a natural choker with good sized pearls in it. They were well matched for size, but the colors and even shapes varied from pearl to pearl, which is visible in the photo I have of her wearing it.

    If your necklace is a natural; it is rare and extremely valuable. The clasp would probably be turn of the century with old cut diamonds. The odds of your not knowing about this necklace are highly unlikely. In my family, our natural pearls were well discussed by all and we kids were told many times that these were not cultured pearls, but REAL pearls and we were told that most people did not know the difference. That is still true. I know my pearls are natural because my grandfather sponsored a pearl dhow in the Persian Gulf for years and collected all the pearls that were his share. It took him years to put together the choker of that sized pearls. I have another post from 2004, where I talk about that.

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  6. #6

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    Each of the pearls is off round and not perfectly matched upon close inspection. The colors are not perfectly matched either. I agree the odds of having that many natural pearls in one necklace is not likely.

  7. #7
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Amanda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caitlin View Post
    If those pearls were not cultured, but natural, it would be a highly, highly unusual necklace, given that all the pearls are round and the same fairly large, size. It would be worth at least 30k, if not 300k. We have hundreds if not thousands of photos of natural pearls. Not a single 3 strander that well matched in size, color and shape, among them.
    The double-strand pearl necklace of natural pearls that the Queen often wears is probably worth more than 4 million, I gather. They are called the Queen Anne and Queen Caroline pearls, as they are thought to have belonged to Anne (Queen in her own right, after King William III, before King George I) and Caroline (wife of King George IV).

    This photo shows the pearls being worn by Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George VI, and mother of Queen Elizabeth II.



    Here, they are worn by Queen Mary, wife of King George V, mother of King George VI, grandmother of Elizabeth II:



    King George VI gave them to his daughter, Princess Elizabeth, in 1947, as a wedding present, and she wore them on her wedding day:


  8. #8
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Amanda's Avatar
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    Forgot the close up of the pearls - here it is:


  9. #9
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Well, some pix are of two strands, some of three and the lengths vary. How to prove it is the same necklace in all photos!!!

    BUT, look at the closeup. Even the queen's pearls are all over the map for shapes!!!
    There is no doubt those are naturals. And believe me, they were trying for consistency in size and shape. And yet. look how far off these pearls are- far greater than the one under question in this thread.

    So when I see such a perfectly matched necklace, as the one pictured above, I do not ever think it is natural unless I can see that each individual pearl varies greatly in shape, even if matched for size and shade of color!

    People often think that cultured pearls are "real" pearls and they are- as opposed to synthetic pearls, but most "real" pearls under this definition are not natural, wild pearls, but cultured.

    I sincerely doubt you should waste the money to certify to necklace as natural, because a close inspection of the pearls by a pearl expert can reveal if the pearls have nuclei. Looking the drill holes of each pearl under a loupe will prove positively that this necklace has MoP nuclei which give it its consistency in size and shape, a feat that is well nigh impossible for the finest natural pearls- as you can see in the pix of QEII's pearls.

  10. #10
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jccode View Post
    Each of the pearls is off round and not perfectly matched upon close inspection. The colors are not perfectly matched either. I agree the odds of having that many natural pearls in one necklace is not likely.
    The odds of having a necklace with mixed natural and cultured pearls is even much more unlikely. Natural pearls sometimes have some cultured on the strand, but that is highly frowned on and ruins the value!

    The variations you see in size and shape are just not visible to me in the current set of photos. What is remarkable is the closeness of shape and size. I don't see one that can't possibly have an MoP nucleus!

    Your pearls look better matched and better shaped than the QEII"s! Do some macro shots and try to examine the drill holes and photo them. Natural pearls have no bead visible at the drill hole and the pealing of the nacre around the drill holes has an entirely different look.

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  11. #11
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Here is a closer view
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    It is clear there is no nucleus in the two on the right the left one is a bit dirty inside, obscuring the view. The peeling is entirely different than around the drill hole of a cultured pearl.

  12. #12
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Peeling nacre is easier seen on dirty pearls :
    Name:  a worn place onMickey's pearls 01.jpg
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  13. #13
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Amanda's Avatar
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    They are two separate strands, but always worn together. Queen Mary (never one for understatement, I think) added a third.

    The longer strand, Queen Caroline's, was put together from 5 or mor strands she owned, choosing the best pearls from each one. So even royalty couldn't end up with entirely even, matched pearls, as Caitlin says.

    The close-up strand is definitely the pearls (from the royal collections website) and the wedding photo pretty definitely shows them, as Princess Elizabeth is known to have worn them. She also had seed pearls sewn on to her dress.

    Queen Elizabeth is a great fan of pearls - even when she's not wearing the multi-million pound lot, she's almost always photographed wearing "lesser" pearl necklaces. "Lesser" only in the sense of a Royal jewellary box, though!

    The Queen today, wearing pearls (so is the Duchess of Cornwall for that matter)



    And just as she became Queen - she was in Kenya when her father died, 60 years ago this year:



    And the day she took the Royal Oath, in February 1952:



    Last month, touring King's Lynn in Norfolk:



    And in December last year:



    She keeps up an impressive pace - she's 86 years old this year, she's been Queen for 60 years, and married for going on 65 years. And she keeps up a lifestyle that would exhaust most people a third of her age.

  14. #14
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    She is a pearl of a pearly queen with the most pearlicious collection of pearls outside of India- Maybe even including India!

  15. #15
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Amanda's Avatar
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    Only of the large, white, round type. Our Lizzie isn't a Tahitian or baroque freshwater kinda gel.

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