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  1. #1
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    Default Grandma's keshi rope, but freshwater or Akoya?

    I discovered PG a few weeks ago and have lurking in every corner and soaking up all the amazing information you so generously share. Thank you all! So now I'm bravely making my first post and, like so many previous posters, it's about a strand of pearls inherited from a grandmother.

    In my case, I have this broken endless rope of vintage keshis from my gram that measures 37.5" She acquired this strand in the 1960s or 1970s--and she did travel to Japan in 1967. Otherwise, almost all of her good jewelry came from Gump's in San Francisco, but I don't know if they ever sold strands like this. The pearls are roughly 8-9mm x 5-6mm x 4-5mm. I know they're solid-nacre keshis but is it possible to tell if they are freshwater or akoya? They look white on their own, but when I put them next to my pinked Akoyas, they look very similar--a very pale pink. Is this a natural color or have they been pinked too?

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  2. #2
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Welcome, West of the Moon,

    What a special pearl rope! If your date range is accurate, my hunch, and it's only a hunch, is that these might be from Lake Biwa in Japan. The size is very large for akoya keshi, but the luster is very high. Cultured baroque Biwa pearls (per Strack) can exhibit natural pink and orange hues. The strand is just not "reading" Chinese freshwater to me.

    If they are Biwa Pearls, they would be freshwater.
    Pattye


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  3. #3
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
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    They do look like good Biwas. I don't know if they are Biwas, but they do look a bit like them.
    Last edited by BWeaves; 04-09-2018 at 01:08 AM.

  4. #4
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    Hi Pattye and BWeaves,

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! Nearly all of my gram's jewelry was Japanese origin/inspired, so it's interesting that you think they might be Biwas. I know she had this necklace by no later than 1976 or 1977, because I remember very clearly playing with it when she was living in the home she had during that period (She always let me play with her jewelry collection on visits to her, which was my great treat, and I'm so delighted to have inherited many of the pieces I've known since my childhood).

    When I put these next to my known AA+ Akoyas, the luster on these keshis is equal or higher, in my opinion. I really can get lost deep inside them, and I know that's what makes pure-nacre pearls so wonderful! Is there a way to tell from a closer visual examination whether these are Akoya or Biwa or Chinese freshwater? And generally, is an akoya keshi more or less desirable than the equivalent freshwater Biwas? Also, does it matter that this rope is so long?

    cheers,
    westie

  5. #5
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Sanippy's Avatar
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    They are gorgeous!!!

  6. #6
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Yes, the luster looks extremely high. They are too large at 8-9mm for Akoya keshi, and too pink. I've never heard of keshi being pinked, but I'm still learning! So in my mind that choice, Akoya keshi, is eliminated. Being able to date the pearls with your delightful remembrance of playing with them is truly important!

    Chinese freshwater pearls in the time frame you've given were the "rice krispie" kind. It has taken the Chinese many additional years to create the large, lustrous pearls they bring to market today.

    Having a rope, rather than an 18 inch strand would double the value, and it means you have more options when you restring.

    Comparing Akoya and Biwa is rather like comparing apples and oranges. The length and outstanding luster makes these highly desirable, imo. (I prefer keshi, drop and baroque pearls over rounds for my own personal wear.)
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

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    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  7. #7
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    Hi all - coming out of reading mode to comment that druzydesign on eBay has listed some original Biwa pearls right now and they do look a lot like these -- see this listing: https://www.ebay.com/itm/27-GORGEOUS...gAAOSwiYRatCSQ

  8. #8
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pareltje's Avatar
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    Whatever they are, the luster is definitely great.
    Follow me on Instagram @margaritas108

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