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  1. #1
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    Question Newbie With A Beautiful Strand Requesting Feedback

    Hello,

    Thank you for this site! I've been reading through posts and have been fascinated! I had no idea! Recently I stumbled on a lovely strand of pearls in a thrift store and purchased them. They are quite special and I wonder if anyone would be willing to share thoughts on their origin etc. First, the clasp is a diamond set in platinum, but the post or catch that slides into the clasp is not gold. Perhaps it was replaced. Also there are no discernible markings. There are approx 137 pearls on the strand. The largest looks to be slightly larger than 5mm and the smallest about 2mm. When I roll them they do not look perfectly round, but maybe I'm being a little critical. The color isn't white at all. They look darker than creme, but I'm not at all experienced with pearl color. I looked at them under all manner of light and backgrounds and cannot find striations that I read about in other articles. There's an outer layer that's detectable, but then it mostly looks like it merges into a darker center.

    I captured an image outside and the others I took indoors without flash. Thank you in advance for any thoughts you would like to share.
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  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Hi Kimberly22,
    I think you have a graduated cultured akoya pearl strand.

    I recommend giving it a good bath (bottled water and a mild soap) and restringing it. Silk grows weak with age. Many of us string our own pearls -- it's inexpensive and not hard to learn. See the Lowly Beaders Club forum here for tutorials on stringing. I suggest getting "fine" thickness synthetic thread to do that.

  3. #3
    Natural Pearl Lover Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert MSC's Avatar
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    Wow what a thrift store find!

    So the clasp tested as platinum and diamond? The pearls look fairly round and what you're describing as a darker center may be a bead nucleus. But naturals of these sizes are around too, so if it were me, I would be sending the strand to GIA for testing and certification. Personally, I think that the fact that the clasp tested as platinum and diamond warrants testing. Value difference of natural pearls versus early cultured akoya pearls can be 1 to 2 orders of magnitude on the auction market, though the clasp itself has value on it's own.

    Strange that the clasp tongue does not test as either platinum or gold; a replacement for a specialized clasp like the one on your strand would not be easy to find and would have probably been a custom replacement.
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  4. #4
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Kimberly,

    Welcome to the forum! Congratulations! Yes, a great pearl find here. Curious that the clasp insert doesn't test platinum or gold. White gold is considered stronger than yellow gold, so some older clasps in yellow gold may have a white gold tongue, but that doesn't seem the case. Agree with other who have suggested a bath for the pearls and restringing.
    Pattye


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  5. #5
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lilliefuzzysocks's Avatar
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    WOW! What a find. Congratulations!

  6. #6
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    Default

    Thank you for chiming in!

  7. #7
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    Wow, thank you! I'll have to consider the testing since it's a little pricey. I don't want to spend more on the testing than what they could be worth. The diamond is about .25 carat.

  8. #8
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    I'll definitely wash and look into the restringing. Thank you!

  9. #9
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert amti's Avatar
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    The clasp alone is really amazing, but if they are natural pearls, you've really got an amazing find! I personally think the pearls are too round to be natural, but it's a bit difficult to tell with your photos. You may want to try candling (do a search for it) or if you have easy access to an xray machine, get them xrayed. Did you get the clasp tested or are you going on the word of the store? I would definitely double check the metal and diamond yourself, or at a jewelry store.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    That looks like a natural strand of pearls to me. I don't think it's cultured.

  11. #11
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert JerseyPearl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jshepherd View Post
    That looks like a natural strand of pearls to me. I don't think it's cultured.
    They really are lovely pearls.
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  12. #12
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    They are lovely and the clasp is a real clue to the value.. a Platinum clasp on tiny little pearls makes me wonder. Jeremy is the expert and if he thinks they might be natural then it's worth looking into. Definitely take care of them and keep them safe

  13. #13
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    True about the clasp, and also 2mm-5mm is not a typical range for the "momme" cultured strands that were common in WW II / Korean War era. A typical range for the graduated cultured strands was 3mm-7mm.

  14. #14
    Natural Pearl Lover Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert MSC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jshepherd View Post
    That looks like a natural strand of pearls to me. I don't think it's cultured.
    You heard it, get those puppies tested!
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  15. #15
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    If those are naturals, it's worth the cost to get them tested. You've probably scored the pearl find of the year.

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