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  1. #1

    Question I iinherited a strand of real pearls but what are they worth?

    Hi. I inherited a strand of real pearls - very indirectly. They belonged to the mother of my husband's older friend. This friend was about 68 when he died (about 20 years ago) and his mother had been gone at least 15 years at that point. She likely had had these pearls for many years before she died.

    I never knew this woman and feel no affinity for this necklace. My preference would be to sell the necklace, but I have no idea what it might be worth. I know the pearls are real because they feel gritty against my teeth. Also - when my husband's friend died, his neighbour expressed concern about the pearls being left in the untended house (she must have known about them and thought they were worth something). I do know that this family was wealthy. I just don't want to make a mistake when/if I try to sell this necklace. Is anyone able to help me with this? Thanks so much!
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  2. #2
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
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    Can you photograph them in natural indirect light on a white paper towel. Give a close up in focus.

    They look like 5mm akoya pearls to me. It's hard to find small pearls that size anymore. Most people want bigger pearls these days. Your pearls are probably not worth much. Brand new 5 mm akoya pearls sell for around $100 for a strand. Preowned pearls do not hold their value.

    These pearls look like they would improve if washed and restrung.

  3. #3

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    Thank you! It's a grey day here today, but I'll do my best with capturing them in natural light and post again.

  4. #4
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
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    Grey days are perfect. You don't want the sun shining on them. Just not light from a lamp.

  5. #5

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    oops - I took some more pictures, but there's an overhead light ...Name:  IMG_0921.jpg
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    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
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    The overhead light is a bit too harsh. I can't see the surface of the pearls for the light reflection. Can you retake the photos, please, using just natural light? Even with a phone, a grey day in the shade should be perfect.

    I can tell that the knots are very dirty and the silk has stretched. Since the knots are dirty, the pearls probably are, too. I think the pearls will definitely improve with a wash and a restring, preferably without those end bead caps. Use French wire (gimp) instead of the bead caps, and that will make the strand look more expensive, too.
    Last edited by BWeaves; 03-28-2020 at 04:36 PM.

  7. #7

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    Thank you so much for your reply! I am not attached to these pearls and would prefer to 'send them off' somewhere vs putting any money into them. Would they be worth anything - as is - to try to sell them online? Or should I keep them - as with my other strand I asked about on this forum - in a playbox for a future grand-daughter?

  8. #8
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
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    If it were me, I'd have this strand restrung. And then save it for a granddaughter for when she is a bit older. Not playbox, but real dress.

  9. #9

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    Thank you for your reply! So - you're saying that it's worth having this necklace restrung? I have no idea how much something like that would cost ...

  10. #10
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    It would probably not be worth paying to have the pearls restrung if you plan to sell them. Restringing can cost $3 per inch or more.
    However, without restringing, they may be hard to sell. Those grimy knots are off-putting.

    The good news is that you can restring the necklace yourself inexpensively. See the tutorial and videos on our Lowly beaders Club. There is a synthetic thread called Beaders Secret that is very easy to use, no special knotting tools needed.

    You will want to give the pearls a good bath first. Use warm, filtered or bottled water (to avoid chorine and hard water minerals), and a mild soap (not detergent.) Soak for 15 minutes or so, then rinse and wipe with a soft cloth. Grime often accumulates between the pearls nearer the drill holes.
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 03-30-2020 at 07:43 PM.

  11. #11

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    Thank you so much for that tip! I'm thinking that -since we're all stuck inside now - there might be more time to take on a project lke that! :-)

  12. #12
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
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    I love stringing pearls. Actually, since I don't do it on a regular basis, it usually takes me 3 tries to string one necklace. So, I just build that into my expectations of how well I'm going to string, and I'm happy if it takes me less tries. The first time is usually just to get the hang of how tight to make my knots.

    I definitely recommend getting Beader's Secret from our own Pattye. After I tried Beader's Secret, I gave away all my silk thread.

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