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  1. #1

    Question Help a guy out: looking for advice on earrings and necklace for my mother

    Hi,

    I'm new to these forums. I wanted to get my mother some pearls since the pearl in her existing pair of earrings fell off it's findings. It has been crudely glued back with some crazy glue, but I'm sure that's not ideal. I've read all the articles; however, I don't have any real world experience to know what would be appropriate when looking to buy pearls.

    All I know about the current earrings are that they have 7mm pearls. I've attached some photos. Are they considered pink or white with rose overtone? Are they freshwater or akoya? What rating would these pearls be? I don't want to buy pearls that end up looking worse than her original set. I also notice the reflection in the two pearls have different colors.

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    In addition, I've considered also buying a pearl necklace to go with it. But my mother does not own much jewelry, so I have no reference point. Bear in mind the following: my mother is about 60 years old, 5'3 and somewhat overweight. She is of Asian decent, so her skin has a light tanned color, but her face is rosy. I'm wondering the following:
    1. Are 7-8mm pearls too small? Looking at her 7mm earrings, I wonder if a string of these would look like children's play necklaces. I've only seen a handful of photos showing someone actually wearing their necklaces... not all of them specifying their pearl size.
    2. What color pearls would be ideal? I'd have to stick with something traditional, since she's not the type to wear strongly colored pearls.
    3. Is it appropriate for a wedding guest to wear pearls? Chalk it up to the fact that I'm a guy, but I don't know if there's anything taboo about it (like wearing white).
    4. Are prices lower or higher during Mother's Day?
    5. Are the Freshadama/Presidential/Elite/Gem pearls more or less equivalent in quality? Since there is no widely recognized "Hanadama" label, do they appraise as AAA?
    6. Perhaps silly, but do Freshadama/Presidential/Elite/Gem pearls look too good to be real? What I mean is, do they look out of place being worn on a daily basis - the way a half-inch diamond sitting on someone's finger at the local grocery would be assumed to be fake.
    7. Would prices of pearls in retail Hong Kong stores be much cheaper than those I can purchase online? Not that it's much of an option, but I'm curious since my folks will head there some time this year.

    Thanks for your help in advance! Hope I'm not asking for too much for my first post.

  2. #2
    Third-graft Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Raisondetre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostman View Post
    Hi,

    1. Are 7-8mm pearls too small? Looking at her 7mm earrings, I wonder if a string of these would look like children's play necklaces. I've only seen a handful of photos showing someone actually wearing their necklaces... not all of them specifying their pearl size.
    2. What color pearls would be ideal? I'd have to stick with something traditional, since she's not the type to wear strongly colored pearls.
    3. Is it appropriate for a wedding guest to wear pearls? Chalk it up to the fact that I'm a guy, but I don't know if there's anything taboo about it (like wearing white).
    4. Are prices lower or higher during Mother's Day?
    5. Are the Freshadama/Presidential/Elite/Gem pearls more or less equivalent in quality? Since there is no widely recognized "Hanadama" label, do they appraise as AAA?
    6. Perhaps silly, but do Freshadama/Presidential/Elite/Gem pearls look too good to be real? What I mean is, do they look out of place being worn on a daily basis - the way a half-inch diamond sitting on someone's finger at the local grocery would be assumed to be fake.
    7. Would prices of pearls in retail Hong Kong stores be much cheaper than those I can purchase online? Not that it's much of an option, but I'm curious since my folks will head there some time this year.

    Thanks for your help in advance! Hope I'm not asking for too much for my first post.
    Welcome to the forum and kudos for being a great son! I'm no expert but will try to answer some of your queries as a more or less informed consumer.

    I would say the pearls you have are white in body color with rose overtones. I don't know what they are but they do not appear high grade.

    For an elderly lady (my mom's also 60, 5'3" but not overweight at 110 lbs) larger pearls do look more fitting. But it also depends on the size of her earlobes. I'm quite small so I don't think by the time I hit 60 my earlobes would grow any bigger, and 8.5 mm pearl studs look huge on my ears, so I don't think I'll graduate to the 9-10 mm preferred by larger ladies.

    7-8 mm is a nice starter size especially for younger ladies. I'd go with at least 8-9 mm or 9-10 mm freshwaters (esp the gem grade pearls) with a white body color. Some prefer silver overtones for a mild tan, I personally think rose is universally flattering and the studs above look like they've got rose overtones as well. If she's got yellow undertones in her skin I don't think ivory would be the best choice.

    Pearls are actually highly recommended especially for distinguished guests for all occasions. I'm Chinese myself - there is no taboo wearing pearls and in fact is a status symbol. I tend to overdo it as my pearls usually outshine the ones worn by the older guests, but I don't go to that many functions and I try to make sure the bride's not wearing pearls so it doesn't get awkward. But in terms of custom, no it's not taboo.

    There are usually specials on for Mothers' Day and other monthly specials - you just missed the gem necklace on for January which was a truly great deal.

    Freshadama, Presidential, Elite, Gem Fresh are all loose pearl grades meant for earrings. They are sourced similarly but with different specifications, e.g. roundness, luster, blemishing or orient. You need to state what you're looking for and the vendors/PGers who have bought from them will advise you on which one suits you best. There is no set grading criteria for freshwaters. You need to find a reputable vendor and look at their specific criteria.

    For a bigger lady, a 8-9 mmm necklace of say freshadama would not look too good to be true. I'm small so I like to wear my 7-8 mm on a daily basis when it matches my clothes. You can tell just by looking at it it's gem quality, but it doesn't overwhelm the person.

    Prices in HK will not be cheaper unless you find a clearance store. I'd buy diamonds but not pearls in HK unless you're bidding on Tahitian or something. Retail is definitely not cheap. You need to know what you're looking for and start negotiating. China is much better, but I would't bother for a set. Getting it online with the possibility of returning it is the safest way to go.

    Hope this helps.
    Aspiring ninja. Go Storm Shadow!

  3. #3
    boo
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    How sweet of you to want to get pearls for your mother! I enlisted my own wonderful mother to model some necklaces for you. She is 60 years old, 5'2" and a bit more than "somewhat" overweight, but hopefully will give you an idea of how the pearls might look on your own mom. The first photo is of 9-10mm white Freshadama pearls with rose overtone. The second photo is of a necklace of 7-8mm AAA pink pearls. Both are 18" long.

    Since these are night-time indoor flash photos they don't do much justice to the pearls, but you should be able to make a determination as to what size she might prefer.
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  4. #4
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Nerida's Avatar
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    My recommendation would be to keep the size of the earrings every so slightly smaller than the strand - so maybe if the earrings are 7-8, then 8-9 or 9-10mm will be good for the strand.

    What a great son! Not only thinking so much about your mum's jewellery, but actually seeking advice! I'm impressed!

    Boo - I hope the white pearls are your Mum's, and if not, I hope she has some similar - they look lovely on her skin.

  5. #5
    Casey.R
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    Or maybe an off white with rose overtones which is still very traditional and goes with everything but has a little color. Although I see nothing wrong with a brighter white with rose overtones.

  6. #6
    jerin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casey.R View Post
    Or maybe an off white with rose overtones which is still very traditional and goes with everything but has a little color. Although I see nothing wrong with a brighter white with rose overtones.

    I agree with Casey. White pearls with a rose overtone will suit every skin and occasion and go with every outfit.
    Size necklace: 8-9 mm
    Earrings: 7 mm if round, larger if you can get buttons.

    Let us see photos once you have purchased the pearls, please.

  7. #7

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    Thanks for all the responses.

    boo - those pictures were very very helpful. Based on the 7mm earrings, I thought a 7-8mm necklace would look very small. But those 7-8mm pearls look very fitting on your mother.

    Raisondetre - Odd, but I knew you were Asian by your bracelet shot in your White 7-8mm Freshadama post. Those pearls looked wonderful. But I was confused by a statement in your post. You said, "For a bigger lady, a 8-9 mmm necklace of say freshadama would not look too good to be true." Why is that?

    Taking a combination of all your advice, I'm thinking about getting 7-8mm "top" quality (Freshadama/Presidential/etc) earrings and maybe a 8-9mm AAA necklace, both white with rose overtones. I got a bit of sticker shock when I saw a $400 price difference between 7-8mm and 8-9mm Freshadamas necklaces. I guess pearls at 8-9mm are much rarer.

    Do you guys think it's a good decision (7-8mm gem-quality earrings with 8-9mm AAA necklace)? Is there that much of a noticeable difference between the quality?

    Outside of Pearl Paradise, I notice no other store allows you to specify the overtone. Is it possible for the other stores?

    Also, I'm thinking about ordering them from separate stores. Is it a bad idea? I'm curious how they'll compare. I'm only mildly concerned about "matching"... do white/rose overtone vary much?

  8. #8
    Third-graft Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Raisondetre's Avatar
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    I was referring to your query re: freshadamas looking too good to be true. I'm pretty small so 7-8 mm is an everyday size for me. For someone taller even 8-9 mm would not be too much for daily wear. Does this make more sense?

    Ordering them from different stores would not be a good idea unless you want to send strands for matching. Matching does matter. I would not buy high grade pearls separately unless I brought the pearls in to be matched or if I were prepared to send them in by mail. 7-8 mm earrings with a 8-9 mm strand sounds great. In general I'd say for every millimeter increase in size the price nearly doubles. In theory the quality shouldn't really change because it's in the same grade, but at the same time in larger sizes the pearls are rarer, and it's harder to find pearls with the same surface quality. For esthetics, the larger pearls will look very mildly less lustrous and for the same percentage of surface blemishing allowed larger pearls look less flawless. 8-9 mm are pretty good as far as I can see though. The Jan gem necklaces were fantastic from what I heard. I didn't get it as I was looking for a graduated strand.
    Aspiring ninja. Go Storm Shadow!