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A few questions about "what kind of pearls do I have"

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  • A few questions about "what kind of pearls do I have"

    Hello Everyone,

    A couple of weeks ago I posted to inquire about the kind of pearls I had. I was told the pearls were Akoya aprox 4.5mm to 5mm. The necklace is hand knotted, 18 1/8" long with 14K gold clasp and 12.3g weight. I do have a few more questions and was hoping someone would be able to assist me.

    While doing some reasearch I came across a site that mentioned Akoya pearls in this size are rare. Is this true?

    I was also wondering based on the pictures provided if someone would be able to comment on the quality of the pearls based on the grading system for surface quality, luster, and perfection of shape and nacre thickness?

    Doing an expection I did find one pearl that has what I think would be a significant scratch (but maybe not) and the one next to it looks like it has some significant rubbing. I posted of pic of just the two pearls. The majority of the pictures were taken under a window on a cloudy day. Two were taken from the auctioneer. I used a magnifying app to take photos. I hope thats not a bad thing. Let me know if I need to upload better pictures.

    I have not cleaned the pearls yet. I want to make sure I have read a lot of info before I go ahead and do so. I don't want to damage them.
    Also I was wondering about the marks on the clasp. Looks like AS 14K. Is this a makers mark for the pearl necklace or for the clasp its self? Maybe its nothing. This picture was taken from the auctioneer.

    I have seen listings for similar type necklaces listed as vintage from 180.00 Canadian to 615.00 canadian. I am just wondering exactly what it is that I have. Seems like a pretty big range.

    I am so sorry for all of the questions however these are the things that came to mind as I was doing research since my last post.

    Thank you for your expertise and time.

    Attached Files

  • #2
    Can someone let me know if I have posted in the wrong area to ask these questions or if each question needs to be posted under different subjects on the site? I have not received a response yet. Usually responses happen very quickly. Just wondering if I have made an error. If not, I will wait. Just want to make sure its not something on my end.



    • #3
      Akoyas of size 4.5 - 5 mm are not rare. You don't see them used as much as in the past, as they were often the back or side pearls in a graduated strands that might have a 9 mm pearl in the center graduating to 2 or 3 mm at the clasp. Most strands these days are all one size, such as all 6, 7, 8 or 9 mm.

      The pearls look very nice, and the scratch is barely visible.

      The clasp is a basic fish hook, and any markings refer to the maker of the clasp, not the company that strung the pearls.


      • #4
        You're fine posting here-- we're all just volunteers here with normal lives that take up our time. I'm posting before going out to pick up my husband's Rx.

        They look like a nice enough strand of akoya pearls, but nothing very valuable IMO. The clasp is generic and the marking is most likely that of the manufacturer of the clasp. The thread is attached directly to the ring of the clasp, a low end way of finishing (connecting) it-- a fine necklace should have a loop of "gimp" / French wire there to protect the thread. The luster is nice but basically what I would expect for a strand finished that way.

        Akoya pearls are round because of the bead inside, but sometimes the nacre is laid down irregularly and pearls become semi-baroque or baroque. The camera can distort shapes but if they look fully round to you, then they are round.

        I would not call them rare. This would have been a nice size for a young girl, a teen or pre-teen.

        If you are thinking of selling them, remember that used pearls do not tend to hold their value, especially generic ones. One buys at retail but sells at wholesale. Small pearls are not so much in fashion at present and that could affect the price you would get for the strand. Remember, listing prices are not the same thing as achieved prices. If you are trying to figure out what you might get for the necklace if you sell it, you should really look at sold listings.


        • #5
          I agree with everything mentioned here. I don't know if it is worth your expense to use an auctioneer. The pearls look like a nice quality but the clasp is very generic. To get higher prices, you need to have a strand of larger sized, good quality pearls, a nice clasp, and a lot of luck.


          • #6
            Imitation pearl necklaces may be sold as 6mm, 8mm etc.-- because the pearls are made in a factory and are deliberately made to be a calibrated size.

            Real pearls grow in oysters which lay down nacre at different rates, so the pearl sizes when harvested fall along a continuum. A straight size necklace will actually contain pearls that fall within 0.5mm of each other. This is why akoya necklaces are listed as 6-6.5mm (alternately written 6 x 6.5mm) or 7.5-8mm rather than 6mm or 8mm.


            • #7
              Thank you everyone for your feedback. I actually think I will be keeping these for myself. To be honest the reason why I purchased them was because my initials are on the clasp. They kind of screamed out "buy me".

              Also thanks for confirming that I am posting appropriatly. Its been a long time since I've done forum postings (since university) so I maybe a little rusty.


              • #8
                I think they are a beautiful, nice quality strand and that you will get loads of enjoyment from them. Lots of helpful, informed comments above—as always here. I think the only pearl “rule” about value is whether you like or love them. The market is just not that high for anything but wild pearls, cultured pearls of extreme high quality, vintage Mikimotos, or other pearls with provenance. Wear them in good health!


                • #9

                  If you would like an alternate way to wear them, I find small pearls can also look very nice twisted together with small gemstone beads.