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Freshadama Pearls or Saltwater Pearls Dirrect from China

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  • Freshadama Pearls or Saltwater Pearls Dirrect from China

    I would like to get a gift for my wife... I have a separate post going on the specs/style, but what I want to specifically cover here is Freshadama pearls Vs Saltwater pearls direct from China. A co-worker of mine is headed to China for business and offered to pick up pearls from me. I did this in the past (7-8 years ago), and remember they were 9mm+ and sub $300USD for an 18" necklace strand and stud earrings. Years ago the person who picked them up knew her business and was very knowledgeable. I'll confess this time around the guy going is less of a pearl expert. I gave the original set from 7+ years ago away as a gift and no longer talk with that person so I do not know how they held up, but I still believe it was a great deal and the pearls were of high quality. So with that background I have a few questions:

    1. Does anyone know if the prices are still that low if you are actually buying them local in China? If so can you think of a reason to get the Freshadama's over those?
    2. Any advice I can give my co-worker about picking them out since he will actually be there in person?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    If the person isn't very knowledgeable about pearls, I would be leery and recommend buying from a trusted source. I haven't been back to China in about five years but my husband still travels there several times a year. When I was going, there were a lot of fakes and many of the sales clerks will say what they need to say to make a sale, esp if they know you're a tourist and won't be back. I don't recall seeing too many akoyas, but I honestly was not shopping for pearls except when we went to Sanya, where ladies sell pearls on the beach and follow you around until you buy. We have been to several cities and they all have huge indoor markets that have at least one floor or section dedicated to jewelry. We brought one of my mom's pearls with us to exchange the clasp and asked for a 14k gold clasp be put on. Turns out we had our white gold clasp taken away and replaced with a yellow gold plated silver clasp which we didn't find out about until mom took the necklace to a jeweler in the states. They did string the pearls in front of us, so there was no issue there. My husband purchased a nice set for me a while back. This is before fwps were round, so these were very near round and about 8-8.5mm. He paid about $250, which imho was too much, but he said he went to a trusted jeweler and since his Chinese was limited, he couldn't communicate well with the salesperson. There is more than just knowing about pearls when you shop in China. You have to be able to bargain and walk away. It takes time (although we perfected a few methods to halt the bargaining). Do look online and see what $300 can get you and then decide for yourself if you're willing to take the risk of getting something you don't like, possibly fake, or something not up to par with what you expected.


    • #3
      Just to add to what Amti said, not everyone has the ability to identify nice pearls. I wouldn't trust someone who doesn't have an 'eye' for picking out nice pearls to buy stuff for me.


      • #4
        Trusting someone other than yourself to buy such a special gift is very risky; I agree with the others. Probably no way to get your money back if you're not pleased. Your wife will be much more pleased to know you did the research and shopping yourself.

        Freshadamas are absolutely top quality!





        • #5
          I agree, having a non-pearl-expert friend picking out your pearls in China sounds not very likely to end well. It is a shame when, well, you have a friend who will be right there where they come from. But there's just way too much trickery that goes on, unfortunately. I think the Freshadama from PP is much more likely to be your best deal. (Note: I do not work for them or anything, lol).


          • #6
            Thanks for all the notes!

            We are still in Hong Kong finishing up the show, but I saw this thread and wanted to point something out really quickly. There are no 9 mm saltwater pearls in China unless they've been imported from Japan. They may be sold as saltwater here, but they are freshwater.

            China has only had very limited saltwater production for the past few years, and they have never produced (even in their heyday) saltwater pearls in the 9+ mm range. My friends who used to grow akoya, and still process a lot of akoya, now buy most of what they sell from Japan.

            Your friend might do well with freshwaters here if they find the right place, but if they try for saltwater and succeed (unless they are paying Japan import pricing), they are going to be getting taken.
            Jeremy Shepherd
            President and Founder
            PearlParadise.com, Inc.
            The PearlParadise.com YouTube Channel
            PearlParadise.com on Flickr
            PearlParadise.com on Facebook
            Some of My Favorite Pearly Finds on Instagram


            • #7
              Jeremy, one would be well advised to heed your advice! As a consumer, I am forever impressed with your honesty and accessibility of approach...the original poster would also be well advised to browse your site or speak with your staff to acquire that special piece he seeks!
              Instagram: Ocean's Cove