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  1. #1

    Default Are these south sea pearls?

    Hello! I've been lurking for a while now in this forum, trying to figure out how to tell if a pearl is ssp, doing comparisons, before I purchase a pair of pearl studs for myself! Decided to register and post since a pair of loose undrilled pearls finally caught my eye:

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    They're labeled as white south sea pearls with moderate blemishes... but they seem a little too... reflective? The suzes available are 12 to 15mm, all of which look more or less like the photos above.

    For the low price, I actually wouldn't mind if they were FWP, but I want to know anyway if they're SSP or FWP or shell pearl. If they turn out to ne either SSP or FWP, I wouldn't mind purchasing.

    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl Expert Pareltje's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016


    They look like white south sea pearls to me

  3. #3
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005


    Good luster; what is the return policy if you aren't happy with them? There is always a higher risk when you purchase without clear photos of the actual pearls. As pearls increase in mm size, they will be much heavier!


  4. #4


    Thank you for your comments, Pareltje and pattye!

    I decided to hold off purchasing & updating the thread before I got to see them in person. I took photos and said I'll decide in a few days. They have been mounted already though. Here are some the photos:

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    I'm having second thoughts. I felt them in person, rubbed them together, and while there was some grit, these did not feel as gritty when rubbed together as the pearl earrings I borrowed from a friend. They also did not produce that "pearl powder" when rubbed together. They do have what looks like "blemishes" though... Can blemishes be recreated in fakes now?

    What do you guys think?

  5. #5
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    They look like genuine pearls to me, probably SSP.

    The questions you need to ask yourself are:
    • Are you sure you want to wear studs that large?
    • Do you like them enough to pay whatever is being asked for them, or do you want to keep looking?

    By the way, I would not rub pearls to the point that you get powdery residue! It isn't necessary to rub that hard to feel if they are gritty, and could mar the surface.

  6. #6
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Orlando, Florida, USA


    I've never been able to feel the gritty when rubbing pearls together or against my teeth. Neither test works for me. Mostly I can tell real pearls apart from faux ones because to my fingertips, faux pearls feel plasticky, or like glass. Real pearls don't feel gritty to me, they feel like, well, like pearls. But that's from experience of handling other pearls, I guess.

    Do not rub pears together to the point of getting dust. You're sanding the nacre off, and that ruins the surface. Plus, for faux pearls, you could easily be rubbing off the fish scale slurry that makes fake pearls look like real pearls, so it's not a good test.

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