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  1. #1
    Member lizard's Avatar
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    Default Comments - friend thinks these are late 1960's Mikimoto

    A friend has brought me her pearls to look at. She says her father brought them back from Japan in the late 1960's and that they are Mikimoto, although she did not expect that they were hugely valuable.

    She has had them re-strung and it appears someone has likely changed the order of them, as the graduation has been mixed in the process. She did not bring the original clasp, although I have asked if she can find it.

    Looking at them, the lustre is not good (photo looks better than real life). The nacre appears so thin that I at first thought they were shell pearl. It is peeling around the drill holes and the odd patch, even though she says that she has barely worn them.

    I am interested in any comments - I expected Mikimoto pearls to be much better quality, even in that period?
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  2. #2
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert amti's Avatar
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    Can you show a closeup of the clasp? There's really no way to tell if they are Mikimoto unless they have the original clasp, which would have the M inside a shell hallmark. As far as the condition of the pearls, if the owner did not properly care of the pearls, the pearls would lose luster, get scratched, and change color over time. Hairspray, perfume, sweat, and cigarette smoke can all ruin pearls.

  3. #3
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
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    I don't think they look like Mikimoto pearls to me, although I could be wrong. The clasp looks like a knockoff of the current style of Mikimoto clasp, as it is very tarnished. It could be silver, but the silver Miki clasps were usually a completely different style. You could always contact Mikimoto America and ask them directly what they think.

  4. #4
    Member lizard's Avatar
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    Hi - yes, as I mentioned in the first post, the clasp is not the original as they have been re-strung. She is trying to find the original clasp for me, which might tell me more.

    I was more interested in whether the poor nacre thickness would have ruled out Mikimoto... there would be less than 1mm on these pearls, maybe less than half a mm, and I am told they were worn very little (although I guess even infrequent wear would mount up over the years).

  5. #5
    Pearl Journalist Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Octavia's Mom's Avatar
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    The quality is not indicative of Mikimoto from what I see.

  6. #6
    Member lizard's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. If the clasp turns up, I will add a picture...

  7. #7
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Here's some info on Akoya grading from Pearls of Joy website: It explains nacre thickness well.

    I'm sad about the condition of this necklace. Recently I restrung a Miki necklace and bracelet purchased in 1993, they were pristine, stored carefully and hadn't begun to yellow.

    The AAA - A System

    This system grades pearls on a scale starting at A - Hanadama grade, with Hanadama grade pearls being the highest level of Akoya pearls available.

    Hanadama: This is a special designation for pearls that have passed the Pearl Science Laboratory of Japan's rigorous tests and must be accompanied by the original certificate. Hanadama pearls are tested for a nacre thickness of at least 0.4mm on each side for a total of 0.8mm total nacre thickness. Hanadama pearls must also be nearly flawless with no visible inclusions and an extremely high luster.

    AAA: The highest-quality pearl, virtually flawless. The surface will have a very high luster, and at least 95% of the surface will be free from any type of defect. The pearl will be perfectly round, and have a mirror-like luster, and a nacre thickness (Akoya pearls only) of 0.4mm or higher.

    AA: The surface will have a very high luster, and at least 75% of the surface will be free from any type of defect. The luster will be very high, and have a thick nacre. AA is still a very nice quality, but not quite as nice as AAA or higher.

    A: This is the lowest jewelry-grade pearl, with a lower luster and/or more than 25% of the surface showing defects. In many cases, if the pearl is being mounted into a piece of jewelry, it can be mounted so that the defects are hidden -- thus providing a lovely jewelry piece at a lesser price. This quality has a chalky appearance and thin nacre, typically of .25mm or less. This thin nacre is due to early harvesting of the pearl.
    Pattye


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  8. #8
    Member lizard's Avatar
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    Thanks Pattye - it is good to know what sort of nacre thickness is typical of akoyas. I haven't had much experience of them. I'm not sure how it would be measured without destroying the pearl, but it is certainly not thick on these. There are also a few obvious blemishes and some quite chalky looking pearls (although some do have good lustre - at least on one side, so it isn't uniform). All the comments have been helpful.

    I have suggested she consider getting a nice freshwater strand if she wants to start wearing pearls regularly, so as to avoid these ones becoming any more worn (given they have sentimental value to her.)

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

    A great suggestion to get some wearable freshwaters.
    Pattye


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    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

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