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What kind of pearls are these and what is their value for cash?

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  • What kind of pearls are these and what is their value for cash?

    I inherited this pearl necklace from my grandmother, who lived between 1910-2008. I don't know how old it is, but they are real. They have a gritty texture against teeth and they feel slightly cool to the touch. They also have the knots between each pearl. The necklace is 18". I would like to sell them, so if you can give me an estimate of its value, that would be great. Thank you.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Can you show us a closer-up photo of the 2 pearls with flaws seen in the 3rd photo?

    From the photo they seem to be the sort of flaws found in imitation pearls, where the coating peels off the glass bead.

    Grittiness can come from grime, just saying. And most imitation pearls are knotted in between the beads, particularly the glass ones. The way the strand is finished (the bead ends) and the clasp look imitation also.

    I just want to add that a lot of ladies of that generation wore imitation pearls. This was before round freshwater pearls were available, and akoyas have always been pricey.

    Nor was it only people on a budget who bought imitations-- Jackie Kennedy's famous 3 stand necklace was a fake made by Kenneth Jay Lane, and so were Barbara Bush's pearls.

    My FIL gave my MIL a strand of pearls that we all thought were real. She wore them proudly for years, and it was only after they had both died that we discovered they were imitations.
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 10-11-2015, 06:52 PM.


    • #3
      Click image for larger version

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ID:	362829 I attached another photo, but I think you're right that they're fake. When I rubbed the pearl, more flaked off. That's disappointing. I was hoping to make some money from it. Oh well.


      • #4
        Yes, fake. I think your grandmother wore them a lot, though-- if that has any sentimental value for you. I still have my late mother's strand of Majorica imitation pearls, which she wore night and day during the final years of her life.

        I'm sorry for your disappointment, but if it's any consolation, pre-owned pearls do not tend to sell for much money unless they have historic value or are a well-known brand like Mikimoto. If you look at "sold" listings of pearls on eBay you will see what I mean; they don't hold their value on resale.

        Partly this is because pearl nacre is soft, and wears away over time if the pearls are worn much. (Akoya nacre is quite thin over the bead nucleus -- often no more than a third of a millimeter thick.)

        Also, pearls tend to yellow over the years, due to exposure to skin oils, lotions and other cosmetics, etc. and yellowed pearls are not as desirable as white pearls.


        • #5
          Pearl Dreams gives great advice. I have owned, worn and loved artificial pearls throughout my early years. Even now, there are a lot of lovely imitations that give a look that I could not afford in real pearls and many people are not the wiser.