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  • Freshwater treatments

    Do freshwaters undergo the same treatments as akoya pearls? Bleaching? Pinking? Shining up? What about the peach and lavender pearls? Are they also color treated? What other treatment might they go through?

  • #2
    most freshwater pearls are polished and sometimes bleached or dyed(black freshwaters). Where as all Akoya's are bleached, polished and usually dyed.

    Akoya pearls have a bad history of being heavily treated, where the pearl looks great for a short time but quickly detoriates, sometimes in less then a year. The Japanese call these Shiro Gai, meaning "white shell". This is because the pearls are basically a shell bead with very thin nacre, but heavily treated to look like good pearls.
    Kevin Canning
    Pearls Of Joy
    www.PearlsOfJoy.com
    Read My Blog
    FaceBook Fan Page
    1-800-451-1411

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    • #3
      Do white with ros? overtone FW pearls also get "pinked".

      If akoya typically require more treatments, are more time consuming to grow, and wear less well in the long run than FW, what makes them maintain their status as THE pearl for so many people? Is it the sharp luster?

      I used to turn my nose up at FW pearls but I've really come to love them. I've put my white freshadamas side by side with my Mikis (the latter bought when I was a much more misguided consumer) you can just *barely* notice that the mikis have a slightly sharper luster if you really study them hard and if you already know that the akoya should have that sharp luster. They are practically identical. I think to most eyes they *are* identical. Considering purchase prices and that my freshadama strand should outlive my Mikis, I think the round, white, cultured akoya has lost some of its magic in my eyes.

      What keeps akoya in such high regard for most consumers considering the new-ish high end FW pearls out there?

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      • #4
        Hi Xeresana,

        IMO---Why Akoya's are still so popular?

        Marketing $$$$$$ took Akoya to the top and has kept it there over many years.

        High quality large CFWP have only been available for approx 10 yrs. Honora brand has done a lot to educate customers about the charms and great value of FWP, but LOTS of potential customers, including as we all know, many jewelry store clerks and owners are still clueless. (Previously told of my experience seeing my 1st CFWP strand when selling fine jewelry for Nordstrom in the 90's.)

        Because of the fabulous associations here with Pearl Experts too numerous to mention, we receive cutting edge info and opportunities to purchase amazing Gems. CFWP do not replace Akoya, SS, Tahitians, etc, but add another wonderful, affordable dimension!

        Pattye
        so many pearls, so little time

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        • #5
          Hi Xeresana,

          I think the main problem lies with the fact Akoya pearls have dominated the consumer market for so long... Since Akoya pearls were the first and only commercially available cultured pearl until the 1960's, and were marketed so well, consumers have easily swallowed the misnomer that Akoya pearls were the best pearls. And they were! For awhile...

          Our grandmothers and mothers wore them with pride and treasured them for decades, while we, as young girls and then young women looked on and admired our role models and later, aspired to own jewelry that inspired fond memories, meaning and of course, elegance. Popularized TV shows and celebrities wore them as well, and we live in such a consumerist society that it became even easier for Akoya pearls to attain such a lofty niche in the psyche of Americans. For many, perceived value is value...

          Cultured Tahitian and South Sea pearls were not available to the public until the 1960's- talk about having to play catch-up to a runaway train, right?? Their job was easier due to their exotic colors and unusually large sizes, while cultured Freshwater pearls maintained their small, rice-crispy shapes throughout the 1970's, the 1980's and potatoe-y shape in the 1990's. It was not until the 1990's and in our present time that Chinese farmers (with the help of Japanese technicians which have always guarded their secrets zealously) really started improving their pearls' luster and shape by leaps and bounds.

          The result is now Gem-quality pearls that can rival an Akoya anytime, anyday. Personally due to the facts that they are more durable, have a visual depth to them that Akoyas can never have and orient... well I think today's Freshwater pearls blow the Akoya right out of the water !And although these gems are gaining attention and with that, a rapidly growing share of the pearl jewelry market, Freshwater pearls still have more catching up to do!

          Time, tradition and one of the best orchestrated hard-core branding campaigns ever (beyond diamonds, but that's another story...) are formidable obstacles to overcome! I am certain though that Chinese Freshwater pearls will eventually attain their rightful place in the American markets as the pearl of choice.

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          • #6
            one of the biggest factors is the bad reputation that freshwater pearls have. When the average consumer thinks of FWPs they think of ugly blemished potato shaped pearls. China flooded the market with just complete garbage and its going to take a while for that memory to fade from consumers mind and realize that there are some exception FWPs on the market.

            Price is also a major factor, to a lot of people price is equal to quality. With the relatively low price of FWPs they are seen as the lowest quality pearls simply because they are the cheapest.
            Kevin Canning
            Pearls Of Joy
            www.PearlsOfJoy.com
            Read My Blog
            FaceBook Fan Page
            1-800-451-1411

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            • #7
              I used to feel like I was the onliest loneliest one on the CFWP train, but Ashley and Kevin have taken the words right out of my mouth, bless their hearts.

              About the only thing they did not say is that top quality CFWP (especially those with orient in the rounds) are a great win/win investment for pearls.

              A small investment in cfwp now and I daresay your grandchildren will thank you because gem quality solid nacre pearls can last hundreds of years. Just look at the pearls in the traveling AMNH show. The Queen Mary necklace with freshwaters from the river Tay in Scotland is over 400 years old and it as shiny as the day it was made.
              Caitlin

              How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

              My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

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              • #8
                Do you think we'll eventually see the high quality freshwaters having an affect on the akoya market? Do you think we'll see a rise in price of freshwaters if consumers truly realize the value? What do you see in the future of freshwaters?

                Caitlin, I think a lot of us are on the train with you. I certainly love my SS pearls and my Tahitians but, my untreated baroque FW strands are my absolute favorites.

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                • #9
                  Freshwater have already had a tremendous effect on the akoya pearl market. A lot of companies have moved away from akoya in favor of freshwater, and freshwater is the biggest competitor of akoya pearl producers. Across the industry akoya sales have been steadily dropping for almost everyone while freshwater sales have exploded. Freshwater are currently undervalued. They are undervalued in a big way in the higher qualities. This is not the case with akoya.
                  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

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                  • #10
                    Oh man! Should we start stockpiling??

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                    • #11
                      No one is giving serious advice here, but I am collecting quite a few strands for someone who hasn't actually gone into the business!

                      The prices have quadrupled in just the last couple of years and I thnhk they will only go up for gem quality pearls of all sizes and shapes.

                      I always like to get some for my birthday coming up this Sunday.....
                      Caitlin

                      How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

                      My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

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                      • #12
                        My strategy has been: get the bigger ones first! I think a lot of people don't realize that such high quality and sizes are available in CFWP - when they do, look out! Then again, judging from what's sold out on PP's website, maybe they already do . . . .

                        Everybody! Shhhh!

                        Perle

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                        • #13
                          I've been wanting to get some SS and Tahitian, but the plans have been put back because of all the FW offerings from the Shepherd brothers. I figure the untreated freshwater baroques are only available this once pretty much since noone else does them, as with the untreated Akoyas. I suspect my plans will be further delayed with the more exotic freshwater colors. But all in good time. Production for SS and Tahitian will probably increase unless there are natural disasters looking at how strong the market is, and the prices will drop a bit more I guess. FW will only go up in value so I might as well get it early. Classics will always be available, but with downsizing it's good to jump in now as well.
                          Aspiring ninja. Go Storm Shadow!

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