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  1. #1
    pattye
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    Default Glass Pearls--Another Tale

    Last weekend a friend wore her (deceased) Mom's pearls (from the 60's or so) and wanted me to look at them for her. She had been keeping them in the safe deposit box for some time, and I had advised her that wasn't the best idea for their longevity. They were a bright ivory color, and very pretty on. She said they were from Zell's, a quality jewelry store here in town, and I could see they appeared nicely knotted. I invited her back to my house after dinner so I could inspect them more closely and respectfully before offering an opinion. They were all exactly the same size (no graduation) and nicely knotted, as I mentioned. Looking under magnification, the peeling was noticeable around some of the drill holes. Rubbing the pearls together they were very slick, not at all like genuine pearls. Luckily I had some freshwaters handy, so I was able to show her the difference (rubbing pearls together, Betty Sue King style tooth test). And also show her the peeling. Yes, they were very nice glass pearls. She took the information well, as she is not much of a jewelry person, and will give them to her Sis who wants them. But it was an interesting experience, to say the least! And thanks to you all for the information which you have provided which helped me give an accurate evaluation.

    Pattye
    so many pearls, so little time

  2. #2
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    You're so much braver than me. I just smile politely and say, "oh my! how lovely!" and when they say "how much" I tell the truth, "I wouldn't have the foggiest idea, but they are lovely!"
    Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]

  3. #3
    GemGeek
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    As touchy as it might be, after they get over the shock, they will appreciate knowing the truth. Better to hear it from someone kind...

  4. #4
    Sheila
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    This is so hard, telling the truth.
    Many times I say something like 'very high quality imitation pearls'.

    Sheila

  5. #5
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    I'd rather know the truth.

    My grandmother had several "aquamarines" that were left to me-- they were in 18K gold. I had them checked out by a trusted jeweler friend, thinking I would reset them.

    Two turned out to be synthetic spinel, and the third was glass.

    I was disappointed but glad to have the truth.

  6. #6
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    I think I have mentioned in another post that this happens to me sometimes when something comes for re-stringing. I always add that these faux pearls were themselves very expensive when they were bought, usually as a 21st present about 40 years ago

  7. #7
    pattye
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    Wendy and All,

    Yes, I agree that I would want to know. Also if the "pearls" were being left with me for repair or restringing, the time to let the customer know is before you have had the pearls in your possession. Eventually the beads will deteriorate enough that one will find out they are glass, and it would be terrible if they thought you had "switched pearls." I have heard stories like that about diamonds, women getting their ring back and suddenly they look closely at it and the diamond doesn't look the same. I feel we have the opportunity to give the information in a gentle way and show the indicators, so they can see for themselves. Because, as you mentioned, Wendy, we know how valued these strands are by the family, we can hear the stories but still be forthright about the pearls. Knotty, I agree I would never say how much.

    Pattye
    so many pearls, so little time

  8. #8
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    My MIL died a few years ago, leaving her strand of imitation pearls, which had been a gift from her husband. We (and he) had thought were cultured Akoya pearls. After he also died, we discovered they were in fact imitations-- and they had yellowed and the luster was poor.

    I am still holding on to them in case my niece gets married and decides that she wants Grandma's pearls, after all. Sentimental value is not the same as monetary value, but it is still a reality!

  9. #9
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    If you have ever seen the price tag on a Miriam Haskell piece, you'll never pooh-pooh faux again. Faux doesn't necessarily mean inexpensive nor is it something to be ashamed of.
    Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]

  10. #10
    pattye
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    Totally agree, Knotty. I have some Miriam Haskell earrings, fortunately bought on sale long ago.

    Pattye
    so many pearls, so little time

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