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Cluster of nature pearls on mother of pearl shell

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  • Cluster of nature pearls on mother of pearl shell


    Am very new to this, but my uncle wanted to have a brooch left behind by my grandmother assessed. Would appreciate the help!

    1. Do the pearls feel slightly gritty or smooth when rubbed gently against your tooth or against another pearl?
    If they are gritty, they are likely to be real nacre (genuine pearls.) If they feel smooth, they are likely imitation pearls.


    2. Please provide clear, in-focus photos without flash against a white background (a paper towel works nicely.)
    Include close-ups of the clasp (front and back) and a few of the pearls. If there are flaws, include a photo of those. Also the box they came in, and tags if you have them.

    Click image for larger version

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    3. Any history you can give us about the pearls. Where/when you or your relative got them, any documentation you have (receipts, appraisals), their price range if you know it, etc.

    Believed to have been acquired by my grandparents in the 1950s in the Southern Philippines, from the deep sea divers through Sulu merchants, made by local artisans. Some info Iíve found about the Sulu pearl divers :

    4. Describe any marks on the clasp. These may be numbers (14K, 585, 750, 925 etc.) or brand names or even pictures.

    None, except the BEC initials that are engraved. These are my grandmotherís initials.

    5. Measure the pearls, with a millimeter ruler if possible. If they are graduated, measure the largest and smallest pearls.

    width : 38mm
    length : 58mm
    thickness : 19mm

  • #2
    What an interesting piece!

    It's difficult to tell via photos solely if a pearl is natural or cultured, but with the history of the piece it really could be either case. Other's here may have a better knowledge on the history of the location where it was purchased. But aside from that, sending the brooch to a lab for expert opinion on the nature of the pearl is the usual route for determining if they are natural or cultured pearls. Good luck!
    Check out my jewelry here


    • #3
      gats95, Welcome!

      An absolutely gorgeous piece! As the back is open, it might be possible to "candle" the cluster and see the forms of the nucleus. Here is info how to candle and interpret what you see.

      We'd love to see photos if you decide try this!



      • #4
        That piece is natural. I don't see any if, ands or buts about it, cultured pearls do not occur like that. It includes parts of the shell it was attached to to enhance the idea of a clump of grapes, a shape that is a fairly common occurence in natural pearls, though that one is the best I can imgine.

        The pearl Collector has several uncarved ones on his site. Where the following is offered for $80.00.

        Yours is unique as far as I know and it is just wonderful!!!!!

        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.


        • #5
          Thanks everyone for your feedback! It is pretty, but my uncle is looking to sell it. Will definitely have it valued locally. Thank you!