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  1. #1
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert battah's Avatar
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    Default Akoya care advice?

    A friend recently asked me to restring a necklace for her. It appears to be akoya pearls that are showing a lot of signs of wear. I don't think she's had the necklace too long, maybe a couple of years, but she wears it a lot and really loves it. I don't really have any experience with akoyas but would like to give her some advice for caring for them. The nacre looks really thin and is chipped around the drill holes on around half of the pearls (which is how I knew they were akoyas, the bead is showing). Aside from restringing them carefully on Beader's Secret (already done), is there anything else I can do to help preserve these pearls for her?

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
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    How is she storing the pearls? By themselves in a velvet box or pouch? Or jumbled in a drawer with a bunch of other items that might scratch them?

    How is she wearing the pearls? By themselves? Or with other chains that might scratch them?

    Or, if the nacre is really thin, then she may just need to splurge on a strand with thicker nacre. If she wears them every day, she may be up for purchasing a new, strand.

  3. #3
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member ericw's Avatar
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    Why don't farmers wait a sufficient time to let pearls to grow, reasonably ? Seeing prices of these pearls, it's not honest to sell just the brief appearence of so thin nacre layers. Yes, there are as perfect mirrors, but as brightning layer of any mirrors, the smallest wear can damage these pearls.

  4. #4
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert battah's Avatar
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    BW I'm definitely going to give her a general primer on how to store and care for pearls. I see her wearing them all the time alone, no added chains etc, so that's good. But I have no idea how she stores them. She brought them to me in a velvet pouch. Her husband is a good friend of mine so I may just put a bug in his ear about getting her a new strand of akoyas, since she loves them so much.

    ericw, isn't it a shame?
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  5. #5
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Perhaps her skin is more acidic than usual.

    Does she apply lotion, sunscreen or perfume to her skin before putting on her pearls?

  6. #6
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Lugana's Avatar
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    What quality were the akoyas to start with? There are many low-quality strands that have these signs right from the beginning =/ and if they are baroques - it can get even worse, especially by the holes.

    I don't think there is anything new one needs to do specifically for akoyas - just takes to clean them after every wear, storage properly and avoid any contact with chemicals.. But if the strand really got worn out in just two year - I bet it's more likely to do with the strand itself, not with the way you wear it..
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  7. #7
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member ericw's Avatar
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    I think that the shame is to buy pearls with just nacre thickness to look like a pearl. It's almost like to call gold plating as massive gold. Imagine : ten nacre layers, a week for the oyster to do it, and this final price for all ?! Our Grandmothers have kept so a long time their jewels, but how long time for us with these new pearls ?
    Last edited by ericw; 09-25-2017 at 06:37 PM.

  8. #8
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert battah's Avatar
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    I have no idea about lotion etc, I can ask her. I think they just have incredibly thin nacre - I'll try to get a macro photo to show you all. I was really surprised by how thin it was.
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  9. #9
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Lugana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericw View Post
    I think that the shame is to buy pearls with just nacre thickness to look like a pearl. It's almost like to call gold plating as massive gold. Imagine : ten nacre layers, a week for the oyster to do it, and this final price for all ?! Our Grandmothers have kept so a long time their jewels, but how long time for us with these new pearls ?
    Most reputable sellers will not even keep such pearls in stock. Most reputable pearl farmers will not harvest when it's really too early. But it doesn't mean people cannot still buy some doubtful quality akoyas and then slag the reputation of all akoya pearls in general *sorry - I'm a big fan of akoya pearls*

    Unfortunately, if the oyster has rejected the nucleus or formed a badly shaped first layers of nacre around the pearl - simply by keeping it longer in the shell will hardly improve the quality of the pearl (but will increase the price of an already rubbish pearl, that's for sure). On the contrary, when the pearl is round, with tight layers of nacre snuggling the nucleus - standard .4mm nacre is quite enough to make it last for a long time.

    There are some baroque akoyas that just look like chunks of nacre - those in 10 and 11 mm size, but they have sky high prices. They are spectacular looking. Matching a strand out of those.. well. Expensive. I haven't seen any of those with a nacre thickness report though (I suppose because they are baroques or I don't know), but I will be in Japan in two weeks time and will keep an eye for those just out of interest. Would be good to see if the look of thickness can be confirmed with the numbers

    Of course, you are right in saying that no pearl should be sold with just .1mm nacre thickness. But there are (can't say they are numerous though) akoya strands with up to .6-.65 nacre thickness, which is quite good, no? I still suppose that the owner of the strand didn't pay too much for that strand, but seems to really enjoy it - so I see nothing wrong with it really.. Even .4mm nacre would look terribly thin to a naked eye
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  10. #10
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Nacre that is .4mm thick is considered thick for akoyas! Hanadama pearls have to have at least .4mm all over.
    It is pretty amazing when you look at how thin .4mm is on a ruler.

  11. #11
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Lugana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl Dreams View Post
    It is pretty amazing when you look at how thin .4mm is on a ruler.
    Agreed) and to be honest, tahitians' .8mm doesn't look very convincing on a ruler either.. but I suppose it is enough for a durable wear, since that's how pearls are produced nowadays.. The problem is that while tahitian pearls quality is controlled (or was controlled at least), the rubbish akoya pearls still sell rather freely.. and spoil the reputation
    Pearl and opal specialist
    Institute of Gemology of Spain, IGE, Madrid
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  12. #12
    First-graft Pearl
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    hmm, now you guys got me thinking...

    I was thinking of getting myself a white baroque akoya opera strand to play with, I'm not a strand person yet I just want to give it a try. But with the thin nacre of akoyas, would it be worth it? Or better save up for something else? Thoughts?

  13. #13
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member ericw's Avatar
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    Lugana, you love akoya pearls and you are right: these are gorgeous. More, you know them as well as possible... But market's laws are the same for akoya than for any other kind of supply: to product at lowest costs for sell highest prices. Without special regulation, it's the usual way, as it's seen for many chinese freshwater pearls. To illustrate what I explain, in France, we grow many special products as wine, cheese, whose names are well known all around the world, and to keep this good reputation, farmers have agreed to be under quality charters'command, as strong as rules. I wonder it's not the same for pearls farmers, akoya's for exemple, which are in a similar position.
    Now, if .4mm thick nacre is typical, maybe it can work right, but it's not a performance! just a limit, and good reason to care that abuses would not get the norm.
    I should be curious to see photos of these pearl's faults: when a pearl's part die, part of died nacre is very less hard than good nacre around, and can be quickly weared, to let good nacre look like thin border layers.
    Last edited by ericw; 09-26-2017 at 10:55 AM.

  14. #14
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert battah's Avatar
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    I mean, sadly, I'm sure this strand wasn't cheap. Her husband is a good friend of mine and I know he doesn't skimp on her. I think the average person just doesn't know what to look for with pearls and assumes when a jeweler tells them the pearls are nice, they're nice. I'll give her a primer on how to care for them, but I think I'll keep an eye out for the next PP sale so he can get her a new strand for the next gifty occasion.
    Instagram: @LiliasTreasures

  15. #15
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyMissy View Post
    hmm, now you guys got me thinking...

    I was thinking of getting myself a white baroque akoya opera strand to play with, I'm not a strand person yet I just want to give it a try. But with the thin nacre of akoyas, would it be worth it? Or better save up for something else? Thoughts?
    I wouldn't buy a baroque akoya opera strand unless they are the very thick nacre kind such as PP carries. I'm thinking about the wear and tear from playing with them. Especially if they have long tails as inexpensive baroque akoyas often do.

    For an inexpensive opera strand you can play with, consider getting (or making yourself) a baroque freshwater strand.
    Some years ago I made this 48" necklace. My daughter quickly adopted them (that's her in the photo, back in middle school I think). They make for nice ropes and are fun to play with-- and you know the nacre won't ever wear out!
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    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 09-27-2017 at 06:00 PM.

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