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  1. #1

    Default My experience with heavy wear of my Mikimotos and your thoughts......................

    I have several pieces of Mikimoto. A single strand AAA necklace, a single strand bracelet, a pair of post earrings, a pair of drop earrings, a graduated pearl and diamond ring, and a pin. The necklace was the first piece of jewelry my now husband ever bought me seven years ago and I wear it daily. I have had a couple of the pearls discolor because of the heavy wear and two years ago I sent the necklace back to Mikimoto and replaced 8 pearls. Unfortunately, the worst one that happens to be right in the center was overlooked and due to a lot of things going on at the time I just accepted the replacements that were done. I went back to the jeweler last week to send it back to Mikimoto to have the pearl in question replaced and to have a few others replaced as well. The repair associate was out and another associate told me basically the pearls were worthless due to the amount of wear and I really just needed a new strand. She then proceeded to verbally sort out my husbands sales history(thank God they were all gifts for me but he really didn't care to have the purchase price for them all shared) trying to figure out how much he paid for the pearl replacements two years ago. The associate then told me that perhaps I should remove the worn pearls and convert the necklace into another piece of jewelry or I could have the store jeweler replace the damaged pearls. When I stood my ground that the integrity of the piece remain Mikimoto and her "options" were not acceptable she laid out a brand new pair with no wear on them. I left the store with my pearls in hand. My husband was in shock when I got home. This is a national jeweler and my husband has spent about 25K with them. He did call the manager the following day and will be visiting the store his self next week. I do not wear hairspray but I do wear perfume. I now fully understand that the pearls may not be able to stand up to the amount of wear I put on them. I would appreciate your thoughts on this entire situation.

  2. #2
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Hi ilovepearls

    What a great id!

    There are arguments raging on this forum about the pearl plated beads vs the solid nacre pearls. The general concensus is that the solid nacre pearls last for generations, while the pearl plated beads do show their wear in less than a decade.

    There are many threads on this forum to that effect. While Mikimoto is the most expensive, most of the price is for the brand recognition. The finest Akoyas (the type of pearl Miki sells) can be had for a fraction of the price elsewhere, and they will be as beautiful when new, and wear out just as quickly with daily wear. Perfume does not help. Try to keep it away from the pearls where they touch your skin.

    I am sorry to tell you that for Mikis, it is the clasp, the box and the certificate that retain their value, not the pearls themselves. They do discolor with wear and the nacre even wears off the mother of pearl bead inside.

    I think you and hubby should educate yourselves thoroughly about pearls if you want investment quality that will endure. Much info is to be had on this forum.

    I am so sorry to rain on your parade, but most jewelers, even the ones with integrity are not well educated about pearls. They only know what the pearl source they use-in your case Mikimoto, says about the pearls. Pearls are far more subtle and complex than diamonds, for instance, and even the GIA course and trainings on pearls, which few jewelers invest in, are beginner courses.

    If you want investment quality pearls that will stand up to daily wear for the next seven years, I recommend top of the line Chinese Cultured Freshwater pearls of the best quality, such as Jeremy Shepherd sells. They are solid nacre and have a luster and orient comparable to the best natural pearls of old. Natural, wild pearls are not to be had any more from the wild, and the ones iin circulation go for astronomical prices, but the Chinese CFWP are new to the market and have not been selling at their full worth, though the market is going up even as we speak. The best quality of the freshwater pearls are the absolutely best buy and the most beautiful pearls to be had.

    Do not take my word for it. Read this forum, you would have to pay $136 to get the textbook on pearls by Elizabeth Strack, as it is not available in this country yet, so this forum provides a better education on pearls than you can get anywhere else.
    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.

  3. #3

    Default Wow......

    Thanks for your quick and detailed reply. We did this type of education with diamonds before buying my ring. A year of education and research went into my ring and it was well worth it. Bailey, Banks, and Biddle is our jeweler and we gave them some additional education with our diamond purchase. Now it looks as if we're going to be tackling pearls. I love my pearls and no kidding, I wear pearls daily and it has somewhat become my signature item. I look forward to the knowledge that is available here. So happy to find the forum.

  4. #4
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Hi ilovepearls!
    Take the time to learn and ask away. The purpose of this forum is to educate and we do an excallent job of it. I gauruntee you will learn more about pearls than you thought possible. I did.

    I come from a pearl loving family. My mom had natural pearls and so I learned a little about them and inherited some. My husbands mother and grandmother were crazy about pearls and they wore ropes and ropes of them, no kidding. But the ones they wore were cultured akoyas that have the mother of pearl bead inside. When we inherited them, they were worn out and had lost a lot of luster, even thougfh they were the best quality when new. I set myself to learn about cultured vs. natural and those with a bead inside vs those without and it opened up a whole new world to me.


    Make no mistake some people love these "pearl plated beads" the best, even if they aren't solid nacre. In that case, buy from a dealer who can source the best quality without the Mikimoto brand name, which jacks up the price incredibly. Then you will be able to afford to replace them every decade or so.

    Read about Hanadama pearls. Put "hanadama" in the search at the top of the page. They are absolutely the best and rarest of all the akoyas and get a certificatio which can only be gotten in Japan, and has not been diluted in anyway. Hanadamas are far better quality than most Mikimotos, in fact. You could replace your pearls with hanadama quality and put them on the miki clasp, for instance and have a better product than the originals.

    But whatever you do, research away. If you loved pearls before, wait until you get to know them with an experts eye!
    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.

  5. #5

    Default Wow....

    you guys are amazing. So I see that my akoya cultured pearls are nothing more than mother of pearls inserted into an akoya with up to .5mm of nacre on them whereas the freshwaters are solid nacre because of the tissue inserted into the mantle of a freshwater mollusk dissolves. Hence, the difference in wear. I've worn the nacre off of the Mikimotos. However, due to the lustre I like of the saltwater Akoya traditionally a freshwater would not even be an alternative but the freshadamas offer that lustre. After talking this over with the hubby we are going to send off my Mikimotos for a few replacements and possibly buy me a strand of the freshadamas. However, the behavior of the associate at Bailey, Banks, and Biddle remains to be addressed tomorrow.

  6. #6
    mikehrz
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    I'm also a freshadama convert. You can read about my visit to the freshadama pearls, err, I mean the Pearl Paradise offices here.
    When it comes to pearls, there really is nothing quite like seeing them in person. I saw a hanadama strand at the Mikimoto store in Las Vegas that went for $10,200. At Pearl Paradise I compared hanadama strands of equivalent quality to freshadama strands. Although the luster is not quite identical, as freshadamas lack the metallic sheen of the akoyas, the freshadamas have greater depth and orient. I can imagine a synthetic bead being created to look very much like the hanadamas, but I can't imagine a man-made item looking like the freshadamas. If someone bought a hanadama and accidentally recieved a freshadama instead, they wouldn't complain. It's difficult to express exactly how great the freshadamas are; all I could say when I first saw them was "Wow." Actually, I said that several times. Freshadamas really do render akoyas-all of them-irrelevant. ... Those freshadamas are the most beautiful things I've ever held in my hand.

  7. #7
    ladykemma
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    this had been edited three times.

    I am a mikimoto person too. i did not realize when i bought them that they have a finite lifetime. now I do.

    in my opinion the sales associate did nothing wrong. with daily wear you wore out and damaged your mikis. she was right to pull out a fresh strand. she gave you good advice to salvage the remaining pearls, and buy a fresh strand.

    an analogy: like eating an apple, with core in hand, going to the store to demand a fresh one to replace it.

    i also wear my mikis daily, but wash mine when sweaty to avoid the discoloration. needless to say they have been restrung because the string has gotten wet. when they wear out (five years?) I plan to try the hanadama quality freshwater pearls.
    Last edited by ladykemma; 11-25-2006 at 01:15 PM.

  8. #8

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    The associate was not interested in a repair and pressured me heavily for a sale. Offering everything but a repair and offering nothing in return aside from stating my pearls were worthless. Comparing a new strand to a 7 year old heavily worn strand is not exactly knowledgeable but rather a tactic. I would be repeating this situation in another 7 years. The strong sales efforts along with the disclosure of my husbands sales history was not only tactless but a disclosure of confidential information. I expect and demand more along the signs of "service".
    Last edited by ilovepearls; 11-25-2006 at 02:48 PM.

  9. #9
    ladykemma
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilovepearls
    The associate was not interested in a repair and pressured me heavily for a sale. Offering everything but a repair and offering nothing in return aside from stating my pearls were worthless. Comparing a new strand to a 7 year old heavily worn strand is not exactly knowledgeable but rather a tactic. I would be repeating this situation in another 7 years. The strong sales efforts along with the disclosure of my husbands sales history was not only tactless but a disclosure of confidential information. I expect and demand more along the signs of "service".
    yes, because miki have only a finite amount of nacre on them you would be repeating this in 7 years. i am confused becuase you expect the thin nacre mikis to last forever?

    i know my mikis will last 7-10 years of continuous wear. then they will have to be replaced.

    how is this different from driving your car every day for ten years, it wears out and has to be replaced? would you honestly expect the bailey banks and biddle car dealership to give you a new car?

  10. #10
    Valeria101
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    'Wonder if Mikis' makers would even admit this temporary quality of their product, let alone disclose it or advice about it!

  11. #11
    ladykemma
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    i am just concerned that this sales associate who handled it well, in my opinion, is going to get in trouble. all he/she did was to be the bearer of bad news.

  12. #12
    Valeria101
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladykemma
    i am just concerned that this sales associate who handled it well, in my opinion, is going to get in trouble. all he/she did was to be the bearer of bad news.

    Yeah... the product should have had a disclaimer. And it looks like the seller played along. But then, what else is new!

    I wonder if they committed or implied they would commit to keeping those pearls in 'working order' while knowing all too well that is untenable!
    Last edited by Valeria101; 11-25-2006 at 04:00 PM.

  13. #13
    ladykemma
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    i just checked my jewelry care plan from BBB regarding the M pearls. for 2 years they will restring pearls from normal wear and tear. it doesn't say anything about replacing.

    i had to have a Miki pearl stud re-cemented. it was under warranty.

  14. #14

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    Thanks to the information here I do not expect Mikimoto or any akoya cultured pearls to last forever with heavy use. I believe I have demonstrated my understanding of the differences.

    However, when I have my car serviced Mercedes Benz does not tell me my 7 year old car has been on the road and is now worthless. I have never expected or expressed to Bailey, Banks, and Biddle a replacement strand or for Mercedes Benz to hand me a new car. To do so would be unreasonable, unrealistic and not to mention a little unprofitable.

    While it may be anothers opinion of the associate disclosing confidential information as an acceptable action their legal department might not share the same thoughts. Nonetheless, I don't find shooting the messenger in any sitiuation a viable option but I do expect the "messenger" to demonstrate tact and customer service skills.

    Many of us have become so accustomed to "no customer service" in the world we live in today but regardless of the "sign of the times" I find it unacceptable but then we all have different standards. It's the beauty of our freedoms here in America.


    LOL Valeria101.

  15. #15
    Taylor
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    Hi ilovepearls,
    I have read your thread and the replies with interest. Less than six months ago, I came to this site looking for basic care information and found a wealth of knowledge. I was lucky enough to inherit both some natural pearls and some akoyas and I have bought more akoyas, SS, Freshadamanas, and loads of eBay pearls that I've cut open, taken a part, learned to restring, etc. My dear husband noted my sudden interest in pearls and bought me a single akoya on a chain that I wear everyday. What a pearl is worth may depend on many things. One of Caitlin's many suggested books reads that when a woman wears diamonds, people notice the diamonds, when a woman wears pearls, people notice the woman. I think ayokas will get noticed more because of the shine, but the glow of good freshwater pearls is more like old naturals... very romantic especially in the large, best grade. I would not put a Miki clasp on these. I'd go for the best and put a stunning, unique clasp maybe to the side. I'd never buy SS except for very baroque, the freshwaters are getting big enough for me and they are just big PPBs.
    Keep you akoyas for sentimental reasons and for comparison. But think of them like a party dress, something that will wear out. I would love to find good,local customer service for pearls, but as you can see from the many posts here, it is rare. Good luck, Taylor