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  1. #1

    Default Set of pearls passed down from my grandmother

    Hello everyone!

    I have inherited this pretty set of pearls recently, when my grandmother passed.
    Iím very happy to have it and Iíd like to try to learn more about pearls and what the origin of the set might be. I did some research but I'd love to know what you think!

    Unfortunately I didnít know she had this, so I donít have any hard info.

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    As recommended, I checked and they all have that gritty feel when lightly rubbed against each other. I think the earrings may not be from the same set as the bracelet and necklace. The earringsí pearls are bigger (6mm), more symmetrical, and slightly pink in color. In some lighting they even have a bit of a green reflection. The bracelet and necklace pearls are creamy white, smaller (4-5mm), shinier and very irregular. I guess they would be considered baroque? What I find interesting is that almost all of them have a flat side. What does that say about the way they grew?

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    So flat!
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    Cute popcorn one!
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    There is nothing written on the claps, which tells me they are probably not real gold, maybe plated. I guess that also means the pearls were inexpensive haha!

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    However the earring backing does have 14K written on it. The smaller backing you see here was a random one that my mother gave me because it seems that one backing was lost.

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    Lastly, there is nothing written on the box the pearls came in. It does have earring holes, so maybe the set included a pair that got lost and later replaced. There is also two hooks inside the box. What are these for? Would you hang one of the pieces there?

    About my grand mother, she was a very modest woman. Although my grandfather made a good living as an accountant, they always lived rather frugally. So it makes sense that he wouldnít have bought her anything too extravagant. They did like to travel the United States in their little RV (we are Canadian) and I know they sometimes bought mementos.

    Thank you very much for your input!! Let me know if there is any other info I could provide you with.

  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Hi Poe! Welcome to Pearl-Guide.

    These pearls from your grandmother are cultured freshwater pearls from China. These baroque shapes were very common back in the 1980s and 1990s, but can still be found now. They are solid nacre -- there is no bead inside to make them round.

    These were cultured in a freshwater mussel. A small piece of mantle tissue from a donor mussel was inserted into an incision in the mantle tissue of the mussel being cultured, and the mussel was returned to the water. The mantle tissue that was inserted triggered the formation of a pearl sac, which secreted nacre to form the pearl. Because the mantle tissue lies against the shell, often the pearls have a flat side.

    The mussel used is quite large, and typically several dozen pearls were cultured at the same time in one shell. Because of that, these are inexpensive pearls-- but that doesn't mean they're less pretty. I think many of these all-nacre FWP have lovely iridescence.

    See this section on FWP:

    Since then, FWP culturing technique has improved a lot and there are larger, rounder FWP available-- but I think these older pearls have a great deal of charm. I hope you enjoy wearing them.
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 11-06-2017 at 06:58 PM.

  3. #3
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl Expert
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Orlando, Florida, USA


    I agree with Pearl Dreams.

  4. #4
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005


    Welcome, Poe!

    Pretty pearls; I hope you'll enjoy wearing them. If you want the necklace longer, with the same clasp on the bracelet, they can be hooked together.

    The 2 hooks on the lid of the jewelry box were likely used to drape the necklace over when it was in the display case at the store, so the pearls could be more easily seen.

    This type of baroque pearl is also called a nugget pearl.


  5. #5
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl Expert
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    South Australia


    Agree with everyone : )

  6. #6
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl Expert JerseyPearl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    New Jersey, of course!


    What a wonderful set to remind you of your grandmother! These are very wearable and really fun to layer with other necklaces and bracelets too.
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  7. #7


    Thank you everyone for your kind responses!! Yes, I need to learn how to wear them. I quite like the irregularity, I think it definitely makes them more wearable.

    Pearl Dreams - thank your for explaining the cultivation process & history behind this type of pearl! It's so interesting. Do you think the earring pearls' cultivation is the roughly the same, but these happen to have formed a little better?

    Pattye - What a great idea! I tried to combine the necklace & bracelet and it worked perfectly. Thank you!

  8. #8
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    I had an identical pair of pearl earrings given to me by my mother in the early 1980s. They are also cultured FWP but are the "rice krispie" pearls that were so prevalent at the time.

    As far as wearing them, I have sometimes twisted my FWP with gemstone beads.

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