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An unusual bracelet from the Persian Gulf

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  • An unusual bracelet from the Persian Gulf

    A friend directed me to this post. I thought it was fascinating, and really complete, with a lot of research done on the piece for which I say, "Fantastic!"


    Hello everyone,

    My wife and I are looking for some assistance obtaining an estimated value for a pearl bracelet we own. The bracelet in question was given to her by her ex-mother -in-law approximately 25 years ago. We understand that those of you in the industry are inclined to be paid for your appraisal services and expertise. We aren't looking for a "certified" appraisal, just an off the cuff 'ballpark" number at what the bracelet might fetch out there based on the below description and photos.

    We will not use this information in an attempt to sell the item. Appraisals can be a bit costly so we want to get an idea of it's potential worth before putting up a possible $200 for something that costs less. We truly appreciate your assistance and expert word.

    Description
    Pearl (natural pearls not round) set in 20 ct gold

    Total Wt: 54 grams
    Pearl Type: Freshwater
    Pearl Count: 185 (182 set + 3 on clasp)
    Pearl Origin: Presumably Dubai as the bracelet clasp indicates the it was made in Dubai
    Pearl Size: Each measured at approximately .5cm (L) x 3-4mm (W)
    Gold: 20 ct
    Mfg'd Date: ca. 1970 (this is assumed at this point based on an auction house description of a very similar bracelet - see below)

    It should be noted that my wifes ex-in-law's were Persian and traveled quite frequently to Dubai so there is little to no doubt as to the bracelets origin of purchase.

    For your convenience, here is a link to a gallery of photos we have taken of the bracelet:
    https://plus.google.com/photos/11188...I6fpOXo__H4iAE

    Also, in my own search for something similar, I actually found an auction site that had an almost identical type of bracelet in their possession back in 2007. I say almost identical because the outside edges of the bracelet in our possession are slightly different - more "swirly".

    As you will note, they had an estimated value of $1500 but we don't know who set it's value. Nor if it was actually purchased at all. The company is in Australia so calling them is not an option and emails have gone unanswered. Here is a link to the auction catalog in question (it is item #1311) :
    http://www.downies.com/aca/auction30...logue_045.html

    Once again we thank you in advance for your assistance and we look forward to hearing from you...

    A & J
    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.

  • #2
    Although I have no doubts about the Persian Gulf origin of this piece, the fact is is made of freshwater pearls is extremely unusual, because the pearls themselves can not come from the Persian Gulf, but are more likely to be Japanese Biwas- less likely they are Chinese rice krispies. I say this because freshwater pearls do not grow in the Middle East- naturally or otherwise and never have.

    I found something interesting in Strack's book, "Pearls" 2006 on page 405:

    Dr. Masao Fujita of Japan, the founder of the freshwater pearl industry at Like Biwa, started selling them to India in 1935.
    "the connection with Indian dealers proved an advantage, as the pearls resembled natural pearls and were sold as such, from India to the Persian Gulf. This fact remained unknown for decades inside Japan, and hardly anybody knew Fujita himself promoted the sales."
    Whew! That was interesting! Thank you Elisabeth Strack.

    So, even though the Persian Gulf people believed they were natural pearls, they weren't. It seems that India was fooled at first, but they have continued to do the same thing, since. They appear to love to call freshwater pearls "natural pearls".

    Anyway, back to the bracelet and its value. It is now known that the freshwater pearls are cultured and no longer of much value. Their value comes in the beauty of the jewelry made from them. So although the pearls are no longer as expensive as they must have been, once, The piece of jewelry has some value because of its craftsmanship and high carat gold. A fine jeweler or an antique dealer jeweler could probably ask at least $1,500 for it as a high quality piece of jewelry, aside from the value of the pearls. If you were to insure it, it should be insured for at least $1,500 as the replacement value seems to be about that- if you could find one!

    I have to go, but I will continue to think about this piece and will add, if I find something.

    Hopefully others will come along and comment too.
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Caitlin View Post
      A friend directed me to this post. I thought it was fascinating, and really complete, with a lot of research done on the piece for which I say, "Fantastic!"
      It's so very refreshing to start with a detail summary.

      The author/owner seems to have no pre-conceived notions as to the type of pearls. They are neither claimed nor appear to be gulf naturals. It's probably safe to say these didn't orginate in Dubai, until post manufactured wholesale.

      The provenance of 1970 appears without concern, which begs the question, where from then? These have the typical potato shape of FWPs but I noticed they have markedly different luster and color. In fact, the surface quality varies from nearly smooth to highly wrinkled. Being multiple settings and including the additional images linked, tells me the manufacturer had a limited pool of pearls when compared to the number of pieces created, which is likely numerous.

      This many pearls had to be set manually. One hundred and twenty or more pearls would take some time. Add the 1970 period, I'm thinking India, Japan or both.

      I'm not sure about the ratio of pearls to gold, but there's plently of gold and by virtue of itself, the value stated in the estimate is reasonable.

      Comment


      • #4
        Dear Caitlin and Dave,

        My name is Arvi. My wife and I are the owners of the bracelet in question. An acquaintance from another forum (NacreLover @ pricescope.com) posted the above description and inquiry on our behalf here at pearl-guide.com.

        I'd like to thank you both for your informative responses. It seems there is more to this bracelet than we originally thought. By both your accounts, it would appear that the pearls themselves lend less to it's potential value than does it's age, craftsmanship, and of course the gold.

        I know my wife does want to sell it. It has no sentimental value to her and we both agree that it sitting in a jewelry box does no good either. Our thoughts are that it's monetary value would be better served going into our children's college funds.

        Neither of us have experience selling jewelry so in your opinion(s) do you recommend having it formally appraised? And if so, which is the recommended method of sale: Auction, private sale, or jeweler direct?

        Thank you again and we look forward to hearing from you further...

        Regards,

        A&J

        Comment


        • #5
          So nice to join and get back to us! Nacre Lover is a treasured member here. I really appreciate any news of Persian Gulf pieces!

          For a rare piece like this, I suggest you try a major auction house, ie Bonhams or Christies. When my MiL passed, we used Bonham and Butterfield's of San Francisco to evaluate the estate. They set the prices for the pearls. I think you will find the better audience of buyers from a top notch auctioneer. They will also tell you if it is not worth their time- which, in this case, I doubt.

          If you make a little packet of all the info you gathered- good job!-and take it, I am sure it will be desirable to these high end auctioneers. If not, get back to us and we can discuss alternatives, which won't be as good as the top auction houses.
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re Dave's comments. He may be correct about an Indian provenance, because it is hard to tell Middle Eastern from Indian when it comes to designing pearls. It is entirely possible it ws made in India for the Gulf market, but it could also easily have been made in Dubai or Bahrain, etc. Although I love to study Gulf pearls and their history, I am not an expert in telling where a piece could have been made. Where ever this one was made, it is a style that the Gulf countries all like. It is known that people in Dubai did use these pearls to make jewelry, although they did not know they were not natural because the pearls came through India on their way to the Gulf, whether as pearls or as finished jewelry. Strack documents this very well which I referenced in an earlier post. They did use FW pearls, thinking they were "Natural".

            This has been an ongoing problem with FW pearls in India according to Strack, who did all the interviews to be able to make this claim. I will see her in a couple of weeks at the Tucson Gem show and I will ask her about this, as she is the most thorough and accurate documentarian of pearls all over the world..
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re Dave's comments. He may be correct about an Indian provenance, because it is hard to tell Middle Eastern from Indian when it comes to designing pearls. It is entirely possible it ws made in India for the Gulf market, but it could also easily have been made in Dubai or Bahrain, etc. Although I love to study Gulf pearls and their history, I am not an expert in telling where a piece could have been made. Where ever this one was made, it is a style that the Gulf countries all like. It is known that people in Dubai did use these pearls to make jewelry, although they did not know they were not natural because the pearls came through India on their way to the Gulf, whether as pearls or as finished jewelry. Strack documents this very well which I referenced in an earlier post. They did use FW pearls, thinking they were "Natural".

              This has been an ongoing problem with FW pearls in India according to Strack, who did all the interviews to be able to make this claim. I will see her in a couple of weeks at the Tucson Gem show and I will ask her about this, as she is the most thorough and accurate documentarian of pearls all over the world.
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                What a beautiful piece! The craftsmanship is so delicate and refined. Thank you for sharing!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lulu View Post
                  What a beautiful piece! The craftsmanship is so delicate and refined. Thank you for sharing!
                  Yes, I love it too. Although the pearls may or may not be natural, there is something to be said for the fine gold workmanship. Quite lovely! Thanks for sharing and hope you get the right price for it.
                  Amrita
                  www.harmonypearls.com
                  www.facebook.com/HarmonyPearls
                  info@harmonypearls.com
                  www.twitter.com/HarmonyPearls9

                  Comment

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