I am going there now.I know this is going to be a sleepless night.LOL
I am going there now.I know this is going to be a sleepless night.LOL
Welcome to the club Helen. You have a real treasure no matter what type the pearls turn out to be.
Hi Dave, no pun intended but a good one, and a good laugh nonetheless!
Wish we could see this necklace in person, or in a side-by-side with a whole bunch of the Voll's Biwas. I hadn't pictured how small they were before Helen posted the size. I'm on the fence, but now tipping toward Biwa.... but they're so plump and tiny (tipping away - did they ever harvest Biwa that small?)...And yet, I think too early for the little Chinese pearls we've come to know???
Last edited by lisa c; 05-05-2012 at 05:48 AM.
Lovely necklace! And a fun mystery
Can any of the PG with experience in vintage pearls chime in?
Hello and thank you Karin for the heads up.. I had my pearl-guide brain stuck in conch pearl farming
And welcome Helen!
Given what I can see from the photos, I lean towards Chinese fresh water, somehow those particular gold beads also tilt me in that direction. They definetly COULD be pearls from Japans Lake Biwa.. It is very hard to say with out either a tonne of very good photos or holding them in front of me. The neckkace looks like it is VERY good condition, which means it was rarely worn, or restrung. I would be interested to know if the pearls on any or all of the strands have room to move, or are they still tightly strung together? If they do move, could there be a photo of the side of a pearl, or better yet any places on any of the pearls where there is a dip in the surface (i.e. A place where the pearls may fold , or not have such uniform "plumpness". Flaws are generally the tell tale markers.
I do not THINK they are natural pearls, and I am only basing that on the style of the necklace.. So I am between Chinese and Biwa on what I can see. Maybe a photo closeup of how the thread attaches to the clasp, are there little metal cups that the thread is knotted into before it attaches to the clasp? Are there soldered rings on the clasp for each strand, or does each strand simply loop around a bar underneath the leaf work? I know these questions are a "stretch" in terms of determining provenance, but if we can narrow down how long ago it was made, or where it was probably strung it may help a bit.
I will ask Fuji to have a look when he wakes up.. Maybe he will recognize it
You are in good hands Helen, everyone asked great questions.. And I am glad that this has brought you to enjoy pearls in general in all their different forms.
I'm late to the party, but my first impression with a modern clasp and style, is that they are freshwater pearls from China. And like others, I also thought they could be Biwas, but that would be very hard to prove. A lot of non-Biwa pearls were sold as Biwas in the heyday of Biwa production. I'm guessing that it was an expensive necklace at the time of purchase. Thanks for sharing.
The World Is My Oyster!
Thank you so much.I am overwhelmed at how everyone has jumped in to help demystify this necklace.I am sure it is only a matter of time and much better pictures.Have a fab day Marianne.
Hi there Gem Geek,I have no idea how expensive it was and have no idea about provenance other than what I was told..I never thought in a million years it was so complicated.I have read the horror stories about pearl appraisers so that is why I am here.The voice of many is better than one.Until I can find someone close by in Ontario that specializes in pearls that I could take it to but even then I would like to be a little bit on the ball.This necklace will either be my daughters or granddaughters depending on the value.
Hi Sarah love your webite.Very elegant and informative.
I borrowed a 10x magnifier and here is what I can see,
There are 8 strands, and on either side there are 3 loops and one in the middle.The one in the middle has pearls on either side of it and that is the only one that looks like that.
They are round and quite thick,they resemble the old fashioned loops cemented onto the wall used for prisoners in the old days.
There are metalic threads gold wrapped around each string that looks like gold metal rather than string.
Each first pearl is knotted at the ends and then no more knots throughout the necklace.
There is some play especially around the gold beads.I would say that the play allowance is 1 to a max of 2 pearls depending on the string. Perhaps when my friend comes I will be able to photograph this.
On the clasp I found a Y and an asian symbol right beside it.Looks like this is the hallmark on the clasp.Not sure if this means anything to anyone.I don't think this was worn all that much.I remember only seeing it on my Mom maybe 3 times.Will send photo later on.
Thanks so much everyone.
I agree.You have been at it much longer than I but I can see why this forum has such high participation.
Sensory and information overload but yet so stimulating...Have a good day.Hopefully I will be able to post some pictures later.Thanks for the extremely warm welcome.Are all pearl people so nice and giving!!! Hugs
Hi Helen... Thank you for the compliment. Fuji says this definitely looks like a necklace of Chinese fresh water pearls... especially with such a distinctly Hong Kong style clasp. We both agree that this looks like it was made in the 80's. That is of course to say , with out seeing them in person. I would love to see this hallmark that you speak of, and I will try to sort through the archives of photos for some from the family pearl shop in the 80's with very similar designs. Hope you are all having a lovely weekend. Cheers from sunny Oakland
Sarah, I'm so glad you showed up! Do you think you and Fuji and the elders could fill us in on how early the Biwas would be harvested? That's an awkward way to put it... Would Biwa pearls ever be harvested as small as 2.5mm? My impression of the strands in Mr Voll's hands is of a larger size pearl, say around 5mm, in most of the strands.
Are Biwa pearls ever as plump as Helen's pearls?
I'm also wondering if the Biwa pearls harvested from the early years look significantly different from those harvested in the later, more polluted years.
Do you remember if you ever posted a photo of many of the resurrected Biwa strands laying side by side? I thought I remembered a close up, but then couldn't find it.
These resurrection pearls could be a source of much Pearly intelligence and further Biwa education.
Thanks for your answers, and popping up!
Last edited by lisa c; 05-06-2012 at 02:32 AM.
And, Helen I haven't been around that long (only 3 yrs) but I can tell you the long time posters here are a nice bunch, very welcoming, smart and patient, and sometimes rollicking wicked fun! So are the newcomers who stick around, just a great bunch!
Last edited by lisa c; 05-06-2012 at 02:35 AM.
The fact that your grandmother was born in Eastern Europe is surely a clue - I think the inclusion of gold "pearls" looks much more European than Chinese - surely these were manufactured in Europe from imported pearls? I don't think the clasp looks in the least bit Chinese - I thought as soon as I saw the photos that the clasp looks much more Italian or even Russian than Asian. If your grandmother was in her early 20s in 1918 - who knows? Perhaps these came from the Russian aristocracy? That might sound farfetched, but a friend of mine's Russian mother in Australia worked as a cleaner all her life - but had some amazing White Russian jewellery dating from before the Revolution, that my friend interited.