Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 27
  1. #1

    Default Mikimoto vs. Hanadama vs. AAA American Pearl

    Hello. I am in the market to purchase a strand of pearls for my wife. My main concern is to purchase a strand of high quality that will look amazing. My wife mentioned to me that Mikimoto is the finest quality and I have since read various websites. I do not wish regrets and want to surprise my wife with the "OOOH" factor but the sites are very convincing. There is a lot of confusion, particularly regarding Hamadama pearls. I would appreciate assistance in the following questions:

    1. How do the Internet site Hanadama Pearls (I was looking at Pearl Paradise, Pure Pearls, Pearl Source and Pearls of Joy) compare with a Mikimoto A1 or A+ strand? Apart from price, how do they differ in quality, value and appearance?

    2. One site (American Pearl) markets their highest quality of pearls as AAA and not Hanadama. How does the American Pearl AAA compare to Mikimoto A1 or A+ and how do they compare to the Hanadama pearls mentioned by the other sites?

    3. American Pearl's Hanadama pearls appear to be substantially less in cost than the Hanadama Pearls of the other sites or the AAA pearls of its own site. If Hanadama is the finest quality (according to some sites) how is this so?

    4. Pearl Paradise appears to sell all white natural Hanadama pearls that do not go thru a pinking process. No other site markets any such strand. Is this a better quality and better looking pearl?

    I would greatly appreciate any honest assistance that anyone can provide. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    near Tucson AZ
    Posts
    8,828

    Default

    1. ...
    I have seen very fine Mikimotos at a gem show, side by side with a strand from Pearl Paradise. If anything, the PP strand was a perfect strand. No blemishes. The highest possible quality. It was outstanding. Mikimoto also placed their best pearls on display and in my opinion, the strand from Pearl Paradise was as good as anything Mikimoto had on display when compared side by side..

    2. I don't know how American Pearl's AAA or A+ really does compare to Mikimoto, as Mikimoto's grading system is proprietary. Mikimoto has made the statement that American Pearl's product is not equivalent while American Pearl claims that they are. I guess it comes down to who do you believe. If American Pearl's claim is true, the picture below should also answer your first question. The necklace on the bottom is a hanadama necklace from American Pearl and the necklace on the top is a hanadama necklace from Pearl Paradise. American Pearl claims that their A+ is the same as hanadama and the same as Mikimoto's A+ grade. So as you can see, the hanadama on the top is much better quality. If their claim is true, the hanadama from Pearl Paradise is much better quality than Mikimoto's A+.
    Name:  AP vs PP.jpg
Views: 22841
Size:  110.1 KB

    3. Number two should answer number three. Not all hanadama are created equal. American Pearl's hanadama are inferior to Pearl Paradise.

    4...
    I have also been able to compare PP's untreated AAA hanadama quality pearls with their treated AAA hanadamas. Until that moment, the treated hanadamas were all I had ever seen, and they were obviously among the best quality akoyas you could find. They were better than most AAA strands because only the most exquisite quality of AAA is sent to the labs to get what should be a very special designation.

    When I saw the untreated hanadama strand, I was more impressed than with any previous akoya strands I had ever seen, the Mikimoto exhibit included. One could lose oneself in the depths of the iridescent luster, the way the light played on it from different angles was breathtaking. They had a deep luster akin to SS pearls, but the surface still had the blazingly bright luster characteristic of akoya pearls. This immediately became my new standard for best akoyas around.
    Last edited by Caitlin; 07-14-2012 at 10:42 PM. Reason: minor corection
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  3. #3
    Pearl Journalist Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oceanside, CA
    Posts
    9,293

    Default

    Here are two photos of my natural white Hanadama akoyas from Pearl Paradise. The first is in indirect daylight and the second is in sunshine. Does this help?

    Name:  DSCN3405[1] (2).jpg
Views: 23129
Size:  23.7 KB

    Name:  DSCN3399[1].jpg
Views: 22441
Size:  25.8 KB
    GemGeek
    The World Is My Oyster!

  4. #4
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Alex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    482

    Default

    Blaire- those are breathtakingly beautiful pearls

    true Hanadamas
    Alex

  5. #5
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    near Tucson AZ
    Posts
    8,828

    Default

    I still gasp at the photos. NO PINKING!!!!! It is amazing how pretty pearls can be with the treatments, but these pearls are so much better!
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  6. #6
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lilliefuzzysocks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,121

    Default

    Pretty pearls Blaire. Kalel, Have you considered ordering in a strand of pearls from several places to compare side by side? I believe most places have good return policies.

  7. #7

    Default

    High quality akoya's are going to have a wow factor. It's the nature of Akoya pearls. As matter of marketing/customer assurance, vendors may send out high quality strands to get a Hanadama certificate, which will disclose information about the quality of the pearls, and sets some standards for the overall quality of the strand.

    Mikimoto sells high quality pearls for very high prices. IMHO you won't go wrong on quality with mikimoto, but chances are you could have spent less for the same quality or gotten better for the same cost.

    Some people seem to get very wound up over the idea of akoya pearls being treated to enhance their appearance. Usually those people arent in the market for akoya pearls to begin with. Akoya pearls are washed, and bleached, and buffed after being removed from the oyster to improve and stabilize the color and surface of the pearls (which tends to be off-white to ivory toned in its natural state).

    In Japan, they like pearls with a pinkish rose overtone, so many akoya's are "pinked" to enhance that overtone. In the US, they tend to like silver toned pearls, so there is very little added color. This doesn't really matter, as a high quality strand will be well matched, in general the rose tone vanishes when the pearls on your skin. For high quality akoya's you should be able to see your reflection in the pearl, the better the luster/surface the clearer the reflection will be.

    To see another example of a hanadama strand, look in Jeweljunke's portfolio.

  8. #8
    Pearl Journalist Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oceanside, CA
    Posts
    9,293

    Default

    Thanks for the compliments. Honey and Lemon, you're right in that the pinked pearls don't appear pink once they are on the skin. They are all beautiful. My pearls have a balance of blue and pink overtones, which I find irresistible.
    GemGeek
    The World Is My Oyster!

  9. #9
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert newberry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    San Diego, Ca
    Posts
    1,767

    Default

    I have seen GemGeek wearing the strand above giving a talk under regular room lighting. She looked like she was wearing a necklace of white neon they had a glow from within. I am not a fan of Akoyas but her strand is something to behold they are that good!

  10. #10
    Consumer Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert kelluvpearls's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    1,365

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GemGeek View Post
    Thanks for the compliments. Honey and Lemon, you're right in that the pinked pearls don't appear pink once they are on the skin. They are all beautiful. My pearls have a balance of blue and pink overtones, which I find irresistible.
    hi GemGeek

    Is your strand representative of the usual natural white Hanadama Akoya strand sold on Pearl Paradise's website or is your strand of a higher quality than the standard fare?

  11. #11
    Pearl Journalist Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oceanside, CA
    Posts
    9,293

    Default

    I picked it out of a batch in person, but they were all pretty close in quality. Jeremy had one amazing strand that was a level better - each pearl handpicked - but he donated it to the CPAA pearl museum display. I also got to compare it to the pinked Hanadamas and they were very pretty too, but the natural whites just pop. If you have seen all the photos I have taken of it, you'll see that it looks very different from light to light. Newberry is right - the pearls look good in standard fluorescent lighting too. In some light they look like regular pearls, but not often.

    If you're thinking about them, remember you can always order, then return them if they don't ring your chimes. That's the only way to find out if you like them. I used to hate akoya pearls - just ask Caitlin! We used to joke about pearly ball-bearings.

    And then one day I saw a strand in the PP office and it changed my mind. Here is the photo of the first one I saw before Jeremy decided to carry them...

    Name:  DSCN2101.jpg
Views: 22119
Size:  17.0 KB

    Later, I tried it on at the first Ruckus, then I forgot I had it on, when one of the staff politely asked to retrieve it!
    GemGeek
    The World Is My Oyster!

  12. #12
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    near Tucson AZ
    Posts
    8,828

    Default

    Oh, yeah, you SO forgot.

    I think many of us pearl plated bead snobs have been won over by the natural untreated akoyas. It is the color and overtones that are so important. The number of flaws would not matter to me if it had those bi-color overtones Blaire's had. I guess they could tint blue as they do pink, but I doubt they could get them both on one pearl.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  13. #13
    Pearl Journalist Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oceanside, CA
    Posts
    9,293

    Default

    Well, I was pretty sure they weren't giving out party favors!
    GemGeek
    The World Is My Oyster!

  14. #14
    Consumer Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert kelluvpearls's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    1,365

    Default

    Gemgeek thanks for the description, your strand is truly amazing. I am still not totally won over by Akoyas (luckily I haven't seen yours in real life). It's good to know that if someone orders from Pearl Paradise online they will get similar quality. However, I am sure it is a whole lot more fun being able to pick your own pearls from the vault.

  15. #15
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert dkan 168's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wiltshire, UK
    Posts
    1,470

    Default

    Top quality large akoyas are beyond my reach, therefore, I shall continue to admire those on show on PG.

    DK
    Treat every life situation like a dog: if you can't play with it, eat it, or hump it, p1$$ on it and walk away

Similar Threads

  1. Curious Ad from American Pearl
    By knotty panda in forum Pearling Industry News
    Replies: 42
    Last Post: 01-28-2009, 10:22 PM
  2. Mikimoto or hanadama certified?
    By newtopearls73 in forum Akoya Pearls
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 12-05-2007, 07:05 PM