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  1. #16
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyPearl View Post
    Very interesting...I one thing comes immediately to mind: trust your eyes more than a certificate. That said, why on earth would the lab give sub-par strands hanadama status? Doesn't it just serve to devalue the certification process (or more directly, the lab doing the grading/certification)?
    There has always been a range within the hanadama certification process. It's really like calling a diamond a "fine diamond" when it falls in the range of VS to FL - both are considered fine, but the value difference can easily be double from one side of the range to the other.

    From my understanding, the range was widened during a time when overall quality dropped. I believe this was during the time of large Chinese production. Culturing time in Japan dropped dramatically and the overall quality of production dipped. Quality is back to where it once was, but I still see strands of pearls with certificates that should not have them.

    These low-end strands made their way to television shopping in Japan and hurt the pearl business. I heard a lot about this when it happened. I've seen the same thing online in the US, but on a much smaller scale.

  2. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by jshepherd View Post
    The Tenyo hanadama grade has been trending in Asia for a couple of years. You don't see it in the US because it was introduced for the Asian market. You see lots of strands with tenyo certification at the shows and they are trying to replace hanadama with Tenyo.

    It was explained to me that there were so many subpar strands of hanadama that has made it through certification, the lab decided to create a new "hanadama" certificate called tenyo, which is basically their way of saying, "not all hanadama are hanadama, but these really are."

    When it came out, all true hanadama, which is top-graded hanadama, could be tenyo graded as well. But there were (and still are) a lot of low-range hanadama that should not have been certified hanadama in the first place. This became a big issue in Japan because these low-grade strands with certificates are sold widely including on television shopping channels.

    The reasons I didn't move into the new certificate are that it's the same thing, and I knew nobody in the US would know what the grade is or what it means. It's trending in Asia, but mainly because it's being locally promoted in China and now in Japan too. Also, I doubted the "new" hanadama would last and we are already seeing vendors at the show offering discount "tenyo" strands with certificates that are not in the same quality range. They just have the certificates.
    Thanks very much for this insight Jeremy, it is incredibly enlightening. While here I have seen a lot of “hanadama” strands being sold - there are a lot of non-PSL labs offering this certification as well. On one of these non-PSL ones, the nacre thickness was only 0.3mm.
    I wandered into a sort-of-wholesaler’s shop and he acknowledged that those were way below the PSL’s quality but he still stocks them so he must be seeing demand from somewhere.

    Even for the PSL strands, I will admit to being somewhat disappointed with some strands I’ve seen, and I don’t even own hanadama yet, my best pearls are a pair of small ordinary-grade mikimoto earrings

  3. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by pearlbop View Post
    Thanks very much for this insight Jeremy, it is incredibly enlightening. While here I have seen a lot of “hanadama” strands being sold - there are a lot of non-PSL labs offering this certification as well. On one of these non-PSL ones, the nacre thickness was only 0.3mm.
    I wandered into a sort-of-wholesaler’s shop and he acknowledged that those were way below the PSL’s quality but he still stocks them so he must be seeing demand from somewhere.

    Even for the PSL strands, I will admit to being somewhat disappointed with some strands I’ve seen, and I don’t even own hanadama yet, my best pearls are a pair of small ordinary-grade mikimoto earrings
    HI pearlbop, my bestfriend just returned from her Tokyo biz trip and I remembered your post from earlier and was

    wondering if you purchased anything from your trip?

    my friend's hotel was in okachimachi (conveniently haha) so I asked her to drop by the store I purchase last month to ask for tennyo earrings.

    They only had two sets 8mm for about 600usd
    and 8.6 for about 900usd without the post so I didn't get them as I 'm looking for 6.5-7mm.
    Maybe I will find something by myself when i'm there next time!

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    Last edited by seoulite; 03-29-2019 at 02:09 AM.

  4. #19

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    Hi Seoulite,

    Apologies, I got really busy with work right after this (I used to work in a bank), and never logged back on till today. On Tenyo grades, the only pearls that I found that I was willing to purchase, after learning more from Jeremy, were from one of the wholesale shops.

    The seller said that these were pearls that he was going to send for Tenyo certification, but hadn't yet, and therefore they were about $100 or so cheaper per pair (also I didn't have the time to wait). I don't have any reason to doubt him, but need to add that disclaimer. He also had PSL-certified hanadama for sale, though they weren't of that excellent quality. (I'll followup in a post later).

    So anyway, here are the "Tenyo" pairs he had. They were in the 9.0mm to 10.0mm range. I was looking for a pair for my sister. I think I probably paid slightly more than ~US$200 for them in the end, including the backings, which were really cheap.

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    In midst of the choosing process...

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    Final pair that I made for my sister

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    My sister has really sensitive lobes, and the gold studs, which I think are 14k, didn't cut it for her. I did nag her about keeping them away from perfume, bodily oils, and the sun, but I'm not sure if any of that stuck while she owned them. She probably wore them 3 times in the past year before I took them back. This is how they have held up (in my terrible room lighting and zoomed in on):

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    I would say that I think I paid a decent price for decent pearls, but I really can't say whether they are Tenyo or even PP / POJ standard Hanadama grade as I don't have anything to go by lol.

    In the interim, I have owned a pair of 9.0mm or so Mikimoto A+ grade studs, and I never did a comparison, but I think the miki studs were finer.

  5. #20

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    So, on the same seller, he was a small wholesaler of sorts: I saw people come in to pick up small batches of orders, and apparently they ran small social-media shops in China etc.

    I bought a 8.0 to 8.5mm Hanadama set from him just out of interest, that I never wore and have since sold. I think it was about or less than US$750. It's PSL certified, and pretty enough, but really nothing spectacular.

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    I think, as a wholesaler, he was basically pretty skilled at identifying the minimum criteria that would pass the PSL Hanadama test. Also, he would be selling to people in the business who knew what they were after, and he didn't really have to maintain any brand image the way a consumer store would have.

    Compare this to another Hanadama set (7.0mm to 7.5mm, earrings 7.6mm) that I bought from a retail shop in the wholesale district (I know... but they exist). Again, I probably paid ~US$750, or perhaps a shade more.

    The pearls are still maybe not the most fine, but in real life I can see the colours shifting

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    Close up, there's what appears to be "stamping", which apparently isn't really a defect or blemish. The pearls also have slight imperfections, to my knowledge (which could be completely wrong), the Japanese care more about the lustre etc then surface imperfections. Although it isn't visible here, in real life, I can easily distinguish my facial features in the pearls. Once again in my terrible room lighting:

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    The earrings that came with this set are much, much finer. They also have a thicker nacre layer of 0.7mm, according to the PSL report. They really do glow from within. I hope the bad lighting doesn't obscure that:

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    Last edited by pearlbop; 08-31-2020 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Reattaching photos

  6. #21
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    pearlbop, try resizing those photos in your last post smaller so they show up in the post.

  7. #22

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    Okay!

    I just deleted and reattached the photos; they are all quite small, so hope it is showing up for everyone now. It's showing up on mine at the moment!

  8. #23
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Perfect!
    And really pretty pearls.

  9. #24
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    pearlbop,

    Some top luster there and really lovely pearls! Thank you for sharing your insights and shopping experience.
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

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    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  10. #25
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
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    Wow, those are gorgeous.

  11. #26

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    Thanks for your kind remarks!

    Also, at the risk of this turning into a "me and my pearls" thread, here is a (admittedly dark) photo of the 9.0mm mikimoto A+ studs I once owned, in case anyone ever wants to reference it.

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    And also the pearl that has been with me the longest; a WSSP that has strong pink overtones in real life, a jeweler once fought with me to insist that it was akoya (though it is lab certified SSP). This and my hanadama set are my favourite pearls!

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  12. #27

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    Anyway, final pictures / post from my Japan Mar 2019 trip. I visited quite a few mikimoto stores and they were all lovely. In one particular store, I saw this strand and nearly died. It's placed beside a "normal" mikimoto strand for comparison.

    The most amazing thing is that they actually let me play with it and try it on. I think the price was US$12,000 to 16,000

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  13. #28
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Wow, those Miki strands are amazing ! I've seen them in the stores and they are definitely so far above other pearls.

    The earrings for 200$ at that large size is a good buy. The price does jump once you go over 9mm so you did well. The lustre on most of the pearls is very good but you have to look at the Miki to see what top lustre looks like - but then... you will be paying for it. I've seen so many Hanadama strands that were quite inexpensive and very pretty but other strands in the same size...outstanding...with a price difference to match.

  14. #29
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
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    Wowza! Jaw hits ground. Those are amazing.

  15. #30
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    I just have to ask, what size is your WSSP pendant? Pink is very rare for overtones in WSS; it is gorgeous!
    Pattye


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    facebook.com/PatriciaSaabDesigns

    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

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