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  1. #1
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Default Antique 10-strand seed pearl bracelet

    Hello,

    A little nervous, as this is the first time I've dared to start a thread.

    I am seriously considering buying the antique seed pearl bracelet at the following URL:

    http://www.rubylane.com/shops/virtu-...Asnake308#pic1

    Please let me know what you all think!

    Thanks so much,
    CarolK

  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Do you know enough about antique jewelry of this sort to be sure they are really natural pearls, rather than early freshwater ones? The clasp looks antique (but then I really don't know antique jewelry.)

    Can the seller tell you anything about the piece's provenance?

  3. #3
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Oo.

    Errr. I didn't know that there was a difference between natural pearls and early freshwaters.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I will ask the seller about the provenance.
    CarolK

  4. #4
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Clarifying: I meant the early cultured fw pearls, like Biwa.

  5. #5
    Third-graft Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert barbie biggs's Avatar
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    Love the clasp. What kind of opal is that on the snakes head? I thought it was a dragon for a minute. Love the pearls. 18kt gold. Nice collectors item.
    Hope you love it if you get it!
    barbie

  6. #6
    First-graft Pearl
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    I may just be paranoid, but as you probably know, ruby lane is an e-commerce site where almost anybody can set up shop. If there is a problem with the bracelet it may be hard to track the seller. Plus the price $850 reduced to $500 seems a little strange for a site that usually sells items under $100. But as I said, I'm just permanently paranoid .

    P.S. If it checks out you better buy it before one of us does!
    Last edited by Nathan Reed; 09-05-2008 at 03:16 AM.

  7. #7
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl_dreams View Post
    Clarifying: I meant the early cultured fw pearls, like Biwa.
    Hi, Pearl_dreams,

    The seller describes the pearls as measuring "approximately 1.34 mm in diameter".

    Is that too small for cultured? May I assume them to be natural at that size?

    Thanks,
    CarolK

  8. #8
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Hang on, I'm going to reread the section on Biwa in Strack's book and see if she says what size the early tissue nucleated ones were.

    My own Biwa from 1980 are pretty small but not as small as those.

  9. #9
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Well I reread about Biwa pearls and the only thing she says about size is that the early ones were under 5mm.

    Now I'm reading about keshi, and she says the Japanese keshi from Pinctada martensii were under 2mm. (page 383.) Is it possible these are actually Japanese keshi?

    Still reading....

    Another thought: keshi means poppy seed-- so I wonder if that is where the term seed pearls came from?

  10. #10
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    OK, again in the section on Biwa pearls, Strack discusses Dr. Masao Fujita "considered to be the actual founder of freshwater pearl culture in Japan".(p. 405) There is a long section on his work, and she says this:

    "Fujita had already recognized that tissue which was implanted accidentally or tissue which remained inside the animal after the nucleus had been ejected might lead to the growth of a pearl. In 1936, he had in addition discovered small quantities of tiny non-nucleated pearls in his operated mussels, he called the pearls 'karso' or 'keshi' and attributed their origin to the dispersion of cells from implanted mantle tissue. In reality, these pearls had probably been the results of new culture attempts, they were sold in Mikimoto's shop and other shops in Tokyo." (p. 406.)

    If the pearls you are looking at are keshi, that would make them not natural but pretty special anyway!

  11. #11
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl_dreams View Post
    Well I reread about Biwa pearls and the only thing she says about size is that the early ones were under 5mm.

    Now I'm reading about keshi, and she says the Japanese keshi from Pinctada martensii were under 2mm. (page 383.) Is it possible these are actually Japanese keshi?

    Still reading....

    Another thought: keshi means poppy seed-- so I wonder if that is where the term seed pearls came from?
    Wow!!! Thanks, Pearl_dreams! These may very well be Japanese keshi, and I'll bet you are correct about the etymology of "seed pearls".

    The seller responded to me that she has had the bracelet for a long time, with no information about the provenance. She thinks she bought it from another dealer, as opposed to a family/estate sale.

    I like the clarity and care taken by this seller in her item descriptions. I would think that a charlatan would be much more likely to embellish and to fake a provenance. This seller writes well and, if she wanted to, could probably come up with something believable for a gullible one like me.

    ================================================
    Nathan,

    Thank you for the paranoia (Paranoia being the "Roger Clinton" half-brother to eCommerce).

    The sellers on RubyLane appear to vary in quality, with the best of them providing clear photographs and detailed descriptions. Actually, much of the antique jewelry on RubyLane is priced at several hundreds, if not several thousands of dollars.

    However, the first purchase from any online seller is always scary!!!
    =================================================

    Thanks so much for trying to help me to not get fleeced!!!
    CarolK

  12. #12
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    I notice she will consider offers...so if $500 is too boggling, you could make an offer you are more comfortable with....

  13. #13
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbie biggs View Post
    Love the clasp. What kind of opal is that on the snakes head? I thought it was a dragon for a minute. Love the pearls. 18kt gold. Nice collectors item.
    Hope you love it if you get it!
    barbie
    Thanks, Barbie! The seller described the opal to me as "white opal".

    The opal/snake combination lends support to this piece as being Victorian. Queen Vic. supposedly loved snake jewelry and opals. She popularized opal jewelry despite the Sir Walter Scott-inspired superstitions against it.

    CarolK

  14. #14
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl_dreams View Post
    I notice she will consider offers...so if $500 is too boggling, you could make an offer you are more comfortable with....
    I was kind of hoping someone might suggest something. Do you think $400 is way too low?

    Thanks,
    CarolK

  15. #15
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Now I'm reading the section on natural pearls and on page 158 she discusses pearls from the Gulf of Manaar. There is a photo of strands of seed pearls (the caption reads "White seed pearls 1-2mm") and they range from white to gray. The shape is quite like the shape of the pearls in your seller's photo.

    So maybe they really are natural?

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