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Another little mystery…

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  • Another little mystery…

    I bought another strand of pearls ( please don’t tell the husband!) from an elderly lady,who said they were natural river pearls.When I asked her why she thought so,she said she had bought them from an antique dealer over 50 years ago and he said they were natural,but couldn’t be saltwater pearls because they only had a cheap marcasite clasp,natural saltwater pearls would have a much better clasp.They don’t look like any freshwater pearls Iv seen,but I have candled them and to a novice eye they all look different,in colour and internal structure,no obvious signs of a bead within.
    All comments welcomed.

  • #2
    Sorry,last photo somehow didn’t arrive,strand is 22”” long,largest Pearl 11mm.

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    • #3
      They're lovely. They could be naturals, but whether fresh or saltwater, I can't tell.

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      • #4
        It's a strand of graduated akoya pearls. The pearls aren't round, but they have the shape of beaded saltwater. The bead is what gives the rounded-drop look.

        Most antique strands are graduated like this. The most common were referred to as 3.5 momme strands, because they weighed 3.5 momme. There were also 5 momme and even 7 momme strands, but the 3.5 were the strands most GIs brought back to the states from Japan after WW2.
        Jeremy Shepherd
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        PearlParadise.com, Inc.
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        • #5
          Thanks Jeremy for your comments.I know that a small bead is used to start the culturing process,but what would have been used in the really tiny pearls? By the way I don’t think these pearls ever got as far as America,they have lived their life in a small town in the north of Scotland!

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          • #6
            What is the size of the smallest pearls Barbara?
            These could be keshi or seed pearls!

            Now..imagine they really are Scottish River pearls...
            Douglas McLaurin-Moreno
            Admin to Pearl-Guide.com
            Pearl Farming Specialist
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            Your Life evolves in the same way a Pearl grows: with continuous layers of experiences/nacre that add to the Story of your Life on Earth and make you Unique and Beautiful.
            Douglas McLaurin-Moreno

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            • #7
              The luster makes me think they are akoya pearls - it does not look similar to any natural river pearls' luster I've seen on this forum. The shapes, especially the smaller and medium ones, also makes me think they are akoya, because their shapes are extremely similar to those in a strand I bought (and posted early this year here.)

              With that said, this necklace was sold to the last owner 50+ years ago from an antique dealer - does that add another 100+ years to it? Were there akoya pearls of this size 150+ years ago? Or, maybe that antique dealer was not so strict on pearl jewelry's age... No matter what, isn't it amazing that 50+ years akoya pearls can still have this level of luster? I thought akoya's luster could only last 20 years or so... Thank you for sharing such a special necklace, @barbaradilek .

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              • #8
                Some of the first cultured akoya pearls measured 3 to 5 mm, and from there -with the gained experience- they started getting bigger
                Douglas McLaurin-Moreno
                Admin to Pearl-Guide.com
                Pearl Farming Specialist
                Follow Me!
                Instagram
                YouTube


                Your Life evolves in the same way a Pearl grows: with continuous layers of experiences/nacre that add to the Story of your Life on Earth and make you Unique and Beautiful.
                Douglas McLaurin-Moreno

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                • #9
                  Goodness,I just miss a day,and suddenly lots more comments! Thankyou for your input.I think they must be akoyas,Iv never seen old fresh waters that had this shape or lustre,and it seems the only reason the previous seller thought they were “ river pearls” was because of the marcasite clasp.Scottish river pearls would be a dream find,but unlawful to sell them in Britain without a special license,and you can get prosecuted for even advertising pearls as such!The smallest pearls are 2 mm in diameter,which made me think they were unlikely to be cultured,and refering back to another thread,they have definitely looked more lustrous since Iv been wearing them regularly.End of blether( Scottish dialect word for meandering chatter)

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                  • #10
                    I have my grandmother's akoya pearls which were worn daily since the 1950s or 60s by her and me. They weren't the best pearls to start with, but they still have luster. Now, I have seen pearls become worn down, but it takes a lot of wearing.

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