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  1. #1
    First-graft Pearl nnguye20's Avatar
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    Question Buying duty-free pearl on airplane - what quality is this pearl?

    Hi I'm a new member in this forum, and also a pearl beginner. I recently had a flight with Korea airlines and somehow decided to buy a pearl jewelry set they sold inflight. I know that type of shopping was more like a gamble and was stupid, but the price was so tempting I did it anyway. The pearls were actually very pretty, but I wonder if I can get better than this with cheaper price elsewhere. I hope someone can take a look and tell me what the quality of the pearls are and if the price was good or not. It was a jewelry set of freshwater pearls, diamonds, with silver and white gold plating, and costs $196. Also I did the rubbing test and these pearls feel a little gritty. There are pearl powder but when I wiped it off the surface was back to normal, so I think these are real pearls.
    I took multiple pictures, hope they are enough for people to see. Also here's the link to Korean Airlines sky shop:
    https://cyberskyshop.koreanair.com/p...tCode=S10101D0
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    Last edited by nnguye20; 01-03-2018 at 05:34 AM. Reason: Corrected grammar, added information

  2. #2
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    All pearls I have seen in airline shopping magazines were shell pearls

  3. #3
    First-graft Pearl nnguye20's Avatar
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    Do shell pearls pass the rubbing test too? I know they are made from mother of pearl powders but will the texture and weight any different from real pearls?
    Btw, I saw they selling Mikimoto pearls too? ��
    https://cyberskyshop.koreanair.com/p...ProductList.do
    I can't really find many posts about inflight pearls, so I don't know the overall quality.

  4. #4
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    nnguye20, your link in your second post doesn't work.

    As far as the rubbing test, generally imitation pearl coating is smooth rather than gritty. I have not tested any "shell pearls" type of imitation pearl, however, so I don't know if there is a coating that could potentially feel gritty. But freshwater pearls are abundant and relatively inexpensive these days so I think they are probably real pearls.

    Your photos are not large enough or clear enough to show much detail, but the set looks nice enough. That said, I think that one generally overpays when buying from sky shop magazines. A gold plated silver finding is not valuable, and the kind of diamond that would be put in such a setting is not likely to be high quality.

    I expect you could find pearl jewelry at a better price with online vendors.

  5. #5
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lilliefuzzysocks's Avatar
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    Pearl paradise used to sell pearls on Sky mall. They were real Tahitians and freshwaters.
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    Last edited by lilliefuzzysocks; 01-03-2018 at 04:46 PM.

  6. #6
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Interesting!

  7. #7
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    The only way I'd buy from a non-vetted vendor without seeing the merch in person would be if I'm willing to risk the money. I've bought plenty of cheap pearls on eBay, for example, where if they're cheap enough, I'll take the risk. I probably would never buy anything in skymall magazine or equivalent. Not necessarily because of the quality (especially if it was PP, Mikimoto or the like) but because I can't imagine not being able to buy it cheaper. As PD says, they're probably FW, so at least they're "real". That said, are you happy with the pearls? It really depends on how big of a snob you want to be about it. If you're happy with the pearls and they're not too expensive for you, then no harm, no foul. Especially if you were coming home from a nice trip, they could bring back nice memories! If you were looking to grab a great deal on some top grade pearls, by the very nature of airplane shopping, you probably didn't fair too well.

  8. #8
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pareltje's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cees View Post
    All pearls I have seen in airline shopping magazines were shell pearls
    I agree with you!

  9. #9
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pareltje's Avatar
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    I hesitate to say that your pearls are genuine because they don't show overtones. Real pearls have some overtone. Except maybe the faux pearls that PD has - correct me if I'm wrong, PD. I thought we discussed faux pearls on this forum somewhere.

  10. #10
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Pareltje, yes-- we do have a reference thread about imitation pearls stickied on the "What Kind of Pearls Do I Have?" forum:
    https://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/sh...Photos-Stories

    It's true that Majorica brand imitation pearls have a final coating that imitates overtones/orient, but every pearl in the strand will look the same, so that is a clue that it's fake. In a genuine pearl strand there will be variations in overtones.

    About the lack of overtones in the OP's photo...I would not assume that means they are fake. I think maybe the lighting in the photo wasn't conducive to showing overtones. Also I don't think overtones are as noticeable in many FWP as they are on akoyas, perhaps due to their lower luster.

  11. #11
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    The likelihood of fakes is high, simply because of the need for uniformity with the product photos in the seat back magazine. Attendants don't do sales or know anything so the product has to match the photo and speak for itself. Add in the numbers involved in having a couple of identicals on every plane in the fleet.
    I was on a plane and looked at the listings and offerings last week. Fakes. The description was very carefully worded to avoid the issue. (and that's in the EU where we have strict laws about items for sale being as per description) In chat with the cabin crew they sell virtually no jewellery so that's a lot of stock spending months racking up the airmiles.
    I looked into it years ago and decided it wasn't worth the effort

  12. #12
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    The product photos in the magazine can be representative. FWP are abundantly available and it wouldn't be hard to make a number of similar sets.
    It's possible they are FWP, but also possible they are fake.

    OP, if you have a 10x loupe (magnifier), look at the surface of the pearls. Imitation pearls will look coarse, a bit like orange peel, while genuine pearl nacre looks very smooth under 10x magnification. If not sure, compare with known-real or known-fake pearls. If you don't have a loupe, visit your local jeweler and ask to use theirs to look at your pearls, comparing with genuine pearls the jeweler is selling.

  13. #13
    First-graft Pearl nnguye20's Avatar
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    Thank you for everybody's feedback and comments. I post another better pictures of these pearls. Personally I quite like them, and I just hope they are real good quality freshwater pearls. They felt gritty when I rubbed them together btw. I heard that good fake shell pearls can do the same, but I don't know if anyone actually make fake freshwater pearls, as fw can be cheap.
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  14. #14
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    If they feel gritty they are probably freshwater pearls. Also I see a little variation in the overtones, so probably not fake.
    Enjoy!

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