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  1. #1
    First-graft Pearl nnguye20's Avatar
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    Default Edison pearl vs the world: undyed, dyed gold, dyed black, dyed metallic?

    Hello,
    I have a person asking for advice regarding pearls, which is a good opportunity for me to remember what I've learned from the lovely experts on this forum and the CPAA course, especially dyed vs undyed. However, I came across a challenge? How exactly can you tell apart dyed edison and natural-color Tahitian/ South Sea? Real Metallic luster vs dyed metallic lusters?

    From what I've known and seen, dyed pearls, especially the dyed blackish ones, tend to have some micro dark spots as the surface of the pearl is not smooth and colors can concentrate on the 'pores' (I'm not entirely sure if this is the right term for it sorry). In my opinion, looking at the reflection on the dyed pearl feels like looking at a low-resolution video. Also, I think good-quality dyed edison's overtone can look a bit "wrong" as it seems to float on the surface instead of coming from the inside, as pearl's body colors and overtones come from countless layers of nacre. Also freshwater pearls don't come with dark blackish body color.
    (1st picture to last: 1. dyed freshies (non-nucleated) - 2. (probably) dyed nucleated "edison" pearls - 3. dyed nucleated "edison" pearls)
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    And of course, there are some difficult cases. The first is dyed golden edison. I have only seen them on photos, and I could not see those "dark spots" that are typical on dark dyed pearls. Then there's metallic baroque edison pearls, which many vendors in Vietnam suspect that they were dyed instead of natural. I can argue that there are not many "metallic-dyed" edison on the market, it is hard to get those metallic luster right and the dyed surface can be spotted. However, the more I look at them, the harder it is to tell if they have been dyed or not, as the bands of colors especially on baroque ones are really random and seems to be "floating" on the surface like good-quality dyed edison. Also since the colors of those metallic ones tend to be lighter, maybe it will make it harder to tell the "dark spots"? Lastly, I found two pictures of edison pearls which confused the heck outta me as I cannot tell at all if they were dyed or not. One is a metallic black edison pearl someone bought from Pearl Paradise and a pair of highly lustrous golden edison pearl I found on Pearlescence's blog. Can you guys tell me if these were dyed or natural colors? Especially the dark ones, if it was undyed it will challenge everything I know about freshwater pearls which I wrote in the 2nd paragraph.
    (1st picture to last: 4. dyed golden edison, 5. (?) golden edison from Pearlescence, 6. natural metallic pearls, 7. (probably natural) metallic chinese pearls, 8. (probably dyed) metallic rippled chinese pearl, 9. black metallic edison from PP, 10. dyed black edison, 11. dyed black edison )
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    So overall my question is, how exactly do you tell Edison and South Sea pearls apart? How do you tell if that lustrous golden pearl is SS or dyed edison or natural edison (if they really come in gold)? How do you tell dyed metallic pearls from natural metallic ones, especially those with rippled surface and "pond slime" overtone (ex: Kasumi pearls).

    Sorry if this post sounds like a big mess and I hope you guys find this helpful.
    (ps: I accidentally attached the last image. I think they are mixed of dyed and natural?)
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  2. #2
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
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    Mostly, it's just experience having seen natural color vs. dyed pearls. Some dye jobs are just obvious. It would have to be a very good dye job for me to second guess myself. However, it can be difficult to tell in a photo if the dye job happens to be a good one. Then you need to see the pearl in person. Plus the problem of a photo showing the real thing, but you receive a different strand.

    I would trust what I got from PP to be as described. If you have questions, ask PP directly. They will be very helpful.
    Last edited by BWeaves; 07-01-2020 at 02:12 PM.

  3. #3
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    to me they all look like enhanced pearls

  4. #4
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Cees, yes, I think you are correct about all these being dyed/color treated pearls, at least most of them.

    I seem to recall that the conclusion about dyed vs natural color golden pearls is that only laboratory testing can confirm. Yes, some are clearly dyed, but certainly more easily identified in person compared to a photograph. Why it is so important to purchase from a trusted, knowledgable supplier.

    The way color is dispersed on dyed pearls (more mottled with more colors) is usually quite different and often more intense than how natural color appears. The last photo is most likely all dyed pearls.

    We can only learn so much from photos. The differences are subtle. There are no hard and fast rules, because every pearl is different.

    There is nothing wrong with dyed pearls, only when it is not disclosed. A price being higher or lower can sometimes reflect whether the pearl is dyed or not. Cees, PP and Pearlescence are absolutely trusted sources when it comes to disclosures.

    I wish you the best in educating your friend; perhaps she will consider taking the CPAA course, as there are discount codes making it available free. Right now the gem fairs and shows have been canceled, so it's difficult to find ways to see a variety of pearls in person.
    Last edited by pattye; 07-02-2020 at 05:27 PM.
    Pattye


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  5. #5
    Traveling Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jeg's Avatar
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    I have a big black Edison from the same lot as your photo #9 from PP. I acquired it from pkinnew’s collection. They were on a special sale at PP, but I can’t remember the exact date. Maybe 2012, or 2013? There were only a couple on sale and I missed out. They are dyed, but they were unusually large and unique for the time, and one of my favorite styles of large pendant on a long chain.
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  6. #6
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Thanks for the excellent example Jeg.
    Pattye


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  7. #7
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Thank you Pattye, sometimes I am wrong also
    Jeg, when I look always at your pearl collection I am very impressed by your choice and designs.
    I have a bit of a problem with Edison pearls. Accepted that they are grown in the same way as in oysters but in mussels one can say it is an Edison when the pearl(s) come from Grace Ltd or as they are now called Edison Pearls Ltd or Ming when they come from other Chinese pearl farmers which also grown bead nucluated pearls in mussels. The only question is still when is it an Edison or when is it a Ming pearl?
    And then still when you are on the Hong Kong Fair it can me neither one of these two.
    Only when you see the invoice of the buyer where he/she bought what and from Edison or another wholesaler you still have a limited answer of satisfaction, for an Edison Pearls invoice you are sure, but for a Ming still not. And which buyer is willing to show you that invoice?

  8. #8
    Traveling Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jeg's Avatar
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    Thanks Cees! I can’t say for sure other than it was originally from PP. I have never bothered to ask since I liked the style and it was unusual to see such a large freshwater at the time. So, it is a very large, dyed freshwater pearl.

  9. #9
    Traveling Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jeg's Avatar
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    Here are some other examples that I do know are Edison’s from Grace Pearl, 2014.
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