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Black Pearls - What are they worth?
I received these as a gift. I plan to keep them, but I don't know how much to insure them for. Even if it's a rough guess. I have no clue myself, and all the jewelry stores around here want to "send them out" for evaluation.
1. They feel gritty when rubbed against my teeth
2. The necklace is 44 cm in length when laid out straight, 22 cm when clasped. The pearls are a little under 1 cm (.95). The earrings are 1.2 cm.
3. The marking on the clasp says 14/204.
4. The pearls are mostly round, though there is clear distinction when comparing them.
5. The pearls are of similar size.
6. The pearls are distinctly different in shape and color is not uniform. There are some lighter and some darker.
Thanks for any help!
I can't see any of the variation in the photos, but usually that kind of black is found in freshwater pearls.
They look very consistent in the photos.
What is the clasp made of?
We need more closeups in different lights to see the variations you see.
The earrings look like freshwater button pearls.
These look like color treated freshwater pearls to me..
I also got the impression of dyed cultured freshwaters. If so, I would not worry about insuring them.
Just one question: are those tiny beads between the pearls, or knots?
Senior Guide Member
They are dyed freshwater pearls. If you're going to insure them, only insure them for what they can be replaced for. I'd recommend visiting several reputable pearl sites to find out what a similar size and quality strand of black freshwater pearls cost to get an idea of value for insurance purposes. The earring backs/clutches appear to be sterling barrel clutches with plastic guard backs. Are the posts and ball clasp sterling as well?
I think it's also important to point out that the pearls are Chinese freshwater. They didn't originate in Hyderabad where they were sold.
New to the forum
Great info! Thanks!
Yes, there are sparkly silver beads in-between the pearls. I have sterling silver (that tarnishes) on other jewelry and the clasp is not the same. It's shinier, so I don't know what kind of metal it is... Similar the the earring posts, just with a patterned surface, so it could simply be stainless steel or something like that.
Great! I'll do some searches for chinese black freshwater pearls and see what I come up with. Thanks! And let me know if you think of anything else!
Pearl Designer & Collector
Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
I would say they are freshwater pearls, dyed from China but if you are doing a search for them just type in Black Pearls or Black Freshwater Pearls, or just Black FW pearls. Don't worry about adding China or Chinese if you are looking for a comparison on eBay. They are very, very black as others have pointed out and as such worth very little.
Don't worry about insuring them. You could pick a necklace and earrings up like them for under $50. Probably way under. To me the pearl clasp is the most expensive part of them, especially if set in silver and if the pearl is cultured. That pearl has a nice colour. Your friend may have paid way to much for them and it might be wise not to mention to him/her that they are worth virtually nothing. Sorry to tell you this but they are not worth much and are a dime a dozen, especially with that deep black colouring. Look on eBay at a lot of black pearls and you will get the hang of good pearls whether FW or SW Tahitians and just cheap ones.
Dawn - Bodecia
eBay Seller ID dawncee333 and natural pearl collector and all round pearl lover
New to the forum
Swati pearls are exceptional
I've received pearls from Swati Jewelers in Hyderabad. The black pearls I received cost $20,000 US.
Originally Posted by treefrog76
If I were you, I'd take them to a Jewelers to get an appraisal for insurance purposes, just in case.
The experts who have already replied could still be correct but you won't know until you take them to a professional.
Swati is known for quality, so don't write them off as selling anything substandard.
Well, I don't know you aussiegirl or what you know about pearls, but freshwater pearls are big in India. On my last tour through there, practically all I saw was vastly overpriced freshwater pearls, weakly pretending to be saltwater. Indian certifications are worth nothing when they just say, "hyderabad pearls"or "Basra" pearls. Those black pearls are dyed and that alone tells you they aren't worth much. They are freshwater pearls and everyone on this thread is correct- except you.
In India they never tell you if pearls are Tahitian, for instance, but the only naturally "black" pearls of any quality are from Tahiti and other such islands-from the black lipped, or margaritifera oyste,r and they usually have overtones other than black or silver, or they aren't worth much. Since this thread was stated back in July, we have had other pearls from India that deliberately obscure their origins by calling them "hyderabad pearls" and "basra" pearls and the sellers just get angry if you ask what kind of oyster they grew in. Unless I saw a good photo of your 20k necklace, I wouldn't believe it was Tahitian or Polynesian at all.
I would never buy pearls from India. They do not use the standard pearl ID practices and do not tell people what kind of pearls they are. If I didn't know freshwaters and what their prices in China were, I would have been fooled many times. ALL the pearls are called "Basra" pearls in their so-called "certifications" more and more are selling freshwaters for ridiculous prices based on their "reputation" from before the freshwater explosion since the 1980's or so. If that is what Swati calls "black pearls", then I would say the company is doing just that- riding on their pre-freshwater reputation and jacking up the price of freshwaters to near saltwater prices.
For 20k, I would invest in a GIA certification, because you can get the most magnificent Tahitian strands for far less than that. $20,000 would buy you a necklace with huge 14-15mm colorful pearls with very few pock marks, if any at all. And you can get a really marvelous Tahitian for less than 5k. Hyderabad has inflated pearl prices far beyond what the equivalent necklace will get anywhere else in the world.
For natural pearls in that part of the world, I would go to Bahrain, where pearls are exactly what the lab says they are and you will never find a cultured pearl until they change the very strict laws- which they have no intention of doing. That is where the genuine "Basra pearls" come from, not Hyderabad. India has a huge internal demand for pearls and they collected many before cultured pearls came into being. They tend to eschew the beaded pearls and like freshwaters because they are 100% nacre, like natural pearls, but try to sell them at vastly inflated prices. I never saw one honest price for freshwater pearls in India and I doubt it has changed, because freshwater pearls are even better than they were when I last went.
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