Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 45
  1. #1

    Default Gem Quality CFWP vs Akoya

    Greetings from a pearl novice-

    I am in the market for my wife's first adult strand of pearls (she has one from when she was about 10-12yo). As I know her to be a traditionalist, I am thinking that the first strand should be a simple white strand. Initially I was all set to purchase a 16 inch, 7.0-7.5mm AAA akoya from Pearlparadise. However, after a great IM chat with one of their reps, she got me thinking about the freshadama line.

    Honestly, I was never really considered CFWP because I always heard my mother speak highly of her akoyas and speak poorly of the freshwaters. Apparently pearl technology has come a long way since we was buying her pearls. Anyway, I am very interested in the freshadamas, but I do not want my wife to be disappointed that they are not akoya. I think that she may suffer from the same lack of knowledge that I did before becoming a daily visitor to pearl-guide.

    So my specific questions are as follows:
    1. akoya vs freshadamas for a first strand...which one should I choose?
    2. Is 16 inch a good length or should I go with an 18in? She is 5ft 1in and medium in build.
    3. Is 7.0-7.5 a good size or should I go bigger or smaller? I do not want the strand to look to small, nor do I want it to look like Mardi Gras beads (too big).
    4. Are there any other questions that I should be asking that I do not know enough to ask?

    By the way, I have had a great time learning from ya'll about pearls and really think that I am going to have fun purchasing various strands, rings and bracelets in the future. I think that pearls have a ton of personality and are quite diverse.

    Thanks for your help and guidance...

    Jeff

    Ps. The chat feature on Pearlparadise is brilliant.

  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    8,519

    Default

    Hi and welcome to the forum!

    I am posting a photo of the 7-8mm Freshadama strand I bought from PearlParadise.com in November; I specified silver rose overtones and I bought this clasp because it is easy for me to manipulate and I love the look. It looks too large in the photo but not in person-- it's not really so very big.

    1. I really would go with the Freshadama strand. Since they are her first, she will love the fact that they will last and last and no bead will ever be exposed (the nacre of Akoyas wears out over time.) It would be so disappointing if her first pearls wore out!

    2. Personally I like 18" better than 16", but some like 17"-- this may actually be better since your wife is petite. PearlParadise.com can customize your order.

    3. I am 5' 4 1/4" and medium build and I think this size pearl (7-7.5mm) would look just fine on someone 5'1", but if she likes larger pearls, 8-9mm would look great as well (but there is a significant price jump.) They would not look too big, no.

    And the earrings are 8-9mm.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 08-22-2008 at 07:03 AM. Reason: attached photo

  3. #3
    First-graft Pearl
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    106

    Default

    Jeff,

    MANY kudos for educating yourself and putting such effort into a gift for your wife! I'm also a beginner, so I'm going to defer on the Akoyo vs Freshadama question to our more knowledgeable folks, except to say that if she has her heart absolutely set on Akoyos then it may be best to start there. Sometimes us women folk aren't rational about not getting what we expected, regardless of the fact that what we're getting might be better than what we expected.

    As for size, I'll freely regurgitate many comments I've read from others in threads here at P-G: Many posters have mentioned being 5'-5'6" and still wearing larger pearls very happily, and they seem to indicate that 'too big' is often an unfounded fear in the realm of sizes folks here talk about (maybe... 7-13mm?). My personal fav (8-9) was determined based on my desire to compromise quality and quantity within my spending allotment.

    As for length, think about what she wears most often. If she wears a lot of turtlenecks, mock tees, or high-neck items, 18" might be more versatile to wear over the shirts. If she wears a lot of button-down shirts or v-necks, etc, 16" would sit above the shirts more often. If she wears a lot of low-cut shirts, I imagine either would be great!

  4. #4
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    8,519

    Default

    I think the reason many people think they have to get Akoyas if they want great luster is that they've only seen lower-quality freshwater pearls in the stores.

    Indeed, most brick and mortar jewelers I've visited only carry lower quality freshwater pearls. Maybe they realize that the best freshwaters would compete too well with their higher-priced Akoyas?

    The fact is, freshwaters have come a long way in the past decade. The best ones have great luster and roundness, as well as clean surface, and are an incredible bargain compared to the price of Akoyas. The Akoyas may have a shinier appearance, but I think you can see from my photo that Freshadamas are plenty shiny!

  5. #5
    Third-graft Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Raisondetre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    962

    Default

    Akoyas do have their place - some people will always prefer the metallic luster even though it doesn't last very long. However, I wouldn't buy it as a starter strand. If I were to get PPBs I'd start with South Seas - the nacre is much thicker and it'll last much longer. However, once I have a collection built-up and have some spare cash I would get some Akoyas just to complete the collection. The untreated baroque Akoyas were an exception, of course - the nacre was uber thick on those and they are just magnificent. Unless the round Akoyas can guarantee that nacre thickness, they're just going to have to wait. I'm a freshadama convert.
    Aspiring ninja. Go Storm Shadow!

  6. #6
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Nerida's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    1,980

    Default

    Hi Jeff,

    Personally I would go the CFWP because I understand their quality and recent history, and as you've seen, there are several fabulous online sellers who offer exceptional quality in CFWP. BUT I do also agree that sometimes what a woman has her heart set on is the only thing that will suffice!

    I can offer you some better advice though on the pearl size/length issue. I am 5'1" and pretty small and I will wear anything up to an 11mm pearl very comfortably. My faves are 9-10's for everyday wear. If I were a little younger, the 8-9's would probably be enough. When it comes to length, I find anything that sits too high up has a poor visual effect on someone so short - the "cutting you in half" look - I think it is important that the length allows a little drape. I always ask for my own pearls to be made to 17.5 inches including the clasp - 17 inches of pearl is what that usually equates to. 18" I feel is a little too long to sit inside shirt collars, over scoop neck Tshirts etc. If I wanted to wear pearls over turtle neck sweaters or high neck T's, I would wear 20 inches (or 32), and exaggerate the difference. Hope this may be of some help. I think you are a pretty fabulous husband to be going to so much effort to make this gift "just right" - hope your wife loves whatever you choose!

  7. #7
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    221

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pktshc View Post
    Greetings from a pearl novice-

    So my specific questions are as follows:
    1. akoya vs freshadamas for a first strand...which one should I choose?
    2. Is 16 inch a good length or should I go with an 18in? She is 5ft 1in and medium in build.
    3. Is 7.0-7.5 a good size or should I go bigger or smaller? I do not want the strand to look to small, nor do I want it to look like Mardi Gras beads (too big).
    4. Are there any other questions that I should be asking that I do not know enough to ask?
    1. FWP. Akoyas for the second strand.
    2. I am 5ft 2in. I find that 17" is the goldilocks zone for strand lengths.
    3. Bigger is always better for cultured FW/akoya pearls since they never go up to mardi gras size
    4. Body colour. Some prefer a rose tint.
    Wishlist: 13mm GSSP earrings

  8. #8
    jerin
    Guest

    Default

    Hi Jeff,

    I just want to give you something to think about the size and lengths of a strand, whether it is CFWPs or Akoyas:

    From the beginning I bought 7-7,5 mm strands but as one gets older it might be a good idea to have a little larger pearls - my advice - 8-9 mm, then they are in the range of 8 mm to 8,5 with perhaps 2 or 3 pearls reaching 9 mm. This size always looks great, the pearls do not look too large - no matter how short a person is.

    Length of strands: At least 17" without the clasp, if your wife should put on weight later, a 16" strand sits too tight on the neck and it may be difficult to get extra pearls in the right bodycolour and overtone!

    Personally I like 17,5 - 18" the best and if you are going to buy more pearls in the future you or your wife might learn to knot yourself, join the Lowly Beaders Club, excellent advice on many topics and you will be able to save a lot of money as well, being able to restring, add or take away pearls from a strand and doing it all by yourself.

  9. #9
    First-graft Pearl
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Posts
    126

    Default

    I have to agree with gravityalwayswins about getting your wife what she wants, not necessarily what you learn to be best. Is she aware she is getting pearls? Has she said she wants Akoya?

    Although I have learned a great deal about Freshwater pearls from this site, I am not totally convinced Freshwater is the way to go. I love the look of nice Akoya's, but also understand the nacre issue.

    I am just under 5'3 and of small build. 16" looks good on me, but I worry that as I get older I would want something a bit longer, say 17 inches. You can always purchase an 18" strand and have it shortened. This way your wife will have the ability to increase the length if she decides it is necessary. As for the pearl size, I think 7-7.5 is great. Not too small, not too big. I tend not to wear a lot of jewelry and believe less is more. Will these be everyday pearls or dress up pearls?

    As for the overtone, discuss with the people at PP her coloring and I'm sure they can help you pick which would be best.

    Happy hunting!
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did." - Mark Twain

  10. #10

    Default

    First off, let me say thank you to you all for your great advice! I love that I now have advice streaming to me from as close as Connecticut and as far away as Singapore.

    For clarification, my wife has no idea that I am investigating pearls. I am sort of a dork that way. She commented on her sister-in-law's pearls over Christmas and I made a mental note. I am not thinking about giving these to her for any special occasion, just because. I like to give big gifts randomly because I like the surprise factor. So, that said, she does not have her heart set on anything. I would just hate for her to learn that they are CFWP and feel like I took the cheap way out because she does not know about how far CFWP have come.

    In terms of how I hope she will where them, I hope she wears them quite frequently (at least once or twice a week). She does not wear turtle necks and wears a good deal of cardigan sweater sets. Does that make a difference? (Also, don't tell my friends that I know what a cardigan sweater set is...)

    I did not see an option for rose overtone with the CFWP. Is that an option? Is rose the way to go for a nice, somewhat pale (don't tell her I said that) midwestern girl?

    Again, thanks so much for your advice. I really don't know what type of pearls I would have ended up with had I not found P-G. Ya'll rock!

    Jeff

    PS: I already have my eye on the NEXT pearl purchase...Tahitian!

  11. #11

    Default earring follow-up

    I forgot to ask about earrings. Should I go with a larger pearl for the earrings. Assuming that I go with a 7.5mm strand, should I go with an 8.0 mm earring? Why or why not.

  12. #12
    First-graft Pearl
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    106

    Default

    *sigh* A man who makes mental notes about his wife's off-the-cuff comments on someone else's jewelry? WOW!

    I just got a pair of 8-9mm lavender freshadamas from pearlparadise to go with my exotics. They are stunning pearls, but I feel they look the tiniest bit goofy on my ears for every day wear b/c they're big and round. My attitude on that is I need to wear them more often to get used to it! Again, tho, it's all about personal preference and what I usually have in my ears are diamond studs, which are substantially smaller than a 9-mm pearl, so think about the size earrings your wife usually wears and perhaps 8-9 isn't too big.

  13. #13
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    8,519

    Default

    Surprise gifts are great!

    You don't want to get anything less nice than the sister-in-law's pearls!
    Even if she isn't a competitive person, I think most women would not want to be on the lower side of the comparison!

    So I would say go for larger size. I love 8-9mm and I actually like it better than 9-10mm (lots of people would disagree with me, but when I've tried both on, I just liked the way the 8-9mm looked better.) How big were the SIL's pearls?

    If you do decide on FWP, Since you are concerned that they not look like you were trying to save $, I'd go with the highest quality of fwp, the Freshadamas. I would guess that many people seeing them wouldn't know they weren't Akoyas. When I took mine to the mall one day and compared them side by side with Mikimoto (the strand was A1) they looked about the same in luster. Higher grades of Akoya would have a sharper luster, but not a bettter glow from within the pearl.

    The great thing about FWP is that you can get so much more bang for your buck. If you have more to spend, you have all sorts of options-- multi-strand necklaces, ropes, sets (necklace + bracelet + earrings-- and yes, PP can make up earrings even if she doesn't have pierced ears) etc. I bet she'd love a set-- and if you do that, get slightly larger earrings than the necklace.

    There is no drop down menu for overtones but you can indeed request a specific overtone. Call PP and talk with Kirsten-- you can place your order over the phone after deciding what you want. Fair skinned people often look good with rose overtones (I have fair skin.)

    And if you do get Akoya, the best grade is Hanadama grade and PP has that too.

    I don't wear sweater sets but others will chime in about that.

    And earrings-- dangles are comfortable and it's easier to talk on the phone when wearing them. Studs are uncomfortable when talking on the phone.
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 02-22-2008 at 02:26 PM. Reason: added earrings remarks

  14. #14
    Casey.R
    Guest

    Default

    Hi, I'm kind of late here but I would probably go very high quality freshwaters over akoyas just because they will last longer and look just as good ( some mighnt even say better ). For a first strand I think 7 to 7.5 is a good size. It's classic. Also if she wears a lot of sweater sets maybe 16 is a good length or 17.

  15. #15
    jerin
    Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pktshc View Post
    I forgot to ask about earrings. Should I go with a larger pearl for the earrings. Assuming that I go with a 7.5mm strand, should I go with an 8.0 mm earring? Why or why not.

    In the necklace I prefer somewhat larger pearls, for earrings I like button shaped ones, then you can buy larger pearls, if they are round, they will "stand out" if the are larger than 7,5 mm AND ROUND. Button means only the half pearl is round, the other half is flat, which is very complimentary to the ears!

    If you decide to buy freshwaters, just let the vendor know that you want rose overtone on a bodycolour that is white. There is also silver overtone or a more creamy one = ivory to choose from. Personally I like rose or ivory best, the silver on the white can be rather "white".

    Good luck and let us see pictures and hear comments from what your wife said, once you have surprised her...