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  1. #1
    jms625
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    Thumbs up My first pearl buying experience: Freshadama's from pearlparadise.com

    Hi all, first time poster - long time lurker here. I just wanted to say thanks. It's forums like these that enable a joe blow like me to go from pearl newbie to pearl expert (by layman's standards) in a short amount of time.

    Anyway, I wanted to buy my fiancee some pearls for our wedding day and all I really new was that Japanese Akoya's were supposedly "good". I went through a similar research process last year when I bought her engagement ring. I scoured the net for info on diamonds and came across the forums at pricescope.com and diamondtalk.com. (If anyone is interested, I ended up buying a Hearts & Arrows diamond from superbcert.com; I highly recommend them and Barry the owner). Well this time I wanted to do my research for pearls, I started off at pricescope.com and searched for pearls even though the site usually focuses on diamonds. Two companies were recommended frequently: americanpearl.com and pearlparadise.com. They both got pretty good reviews so I checked them out. The americanpearl.com website was pretty impressive but the Akoya's I was looking at were out of my price range. I went over to pearlparadise.com and ran across their "Freshadama" line of pearls. At first I thought it was a gimmick. But then I started doing some research and a couple google's later, I came across this website. A few positive testomonials from you guys and I was hooked. I pulled the trigger and ordered an 18" 7-8mm white Freshadama necklace and a pair of matching dangle earings. I ordered them Monday, there was one day for processing (I was told the Freshadama necklaces are strung by the order) and I got the overnight shipping so they got to me yesterday (Wednesday). For service, I give pearlparadise.com 10/10. I know the owner posts on this forum, and I must say that I have always had good luck with businesses who have owners that actively participate in forum's like these.

    Now on to the pearls. They are awesome. I will never purchase Akoya pearls as long as these things are available. Anyway, I gave them to her last night and she absolutely loved them. I can't wait to do some window shopping at the mall and see the what price tag is on some identical Akoya's.

    And, yes, I know I'm commiting the cardinal jewelry-forum-sin by not posting pics. I'll get my camera up and running and post some in this thread sometime this weekend.

  2. #2
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    wow
    And it is testimonials like yours that are setting this forum on fire!

    I know I'm commiting the cardinal jewelry-forum-sin by not posting pics
    Well you headed me off at the pass! Thanks for the promise- I can hardly wait to see them- we actually have only one photo of a Freshadama on here, and it is the one with the hanadama comparison strand. We need some more pix from all you Freshadama lovers!
    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
    jms625
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    I will post ASAP (hopefully today), I'm at work right now

    I know I won't do them justice with my non-professional sony digital camera. If only I had some Hanadama's to put in the pic for comparison as well.

    I guess I just don't get it. It's my understanding that freshwater pearls are solid nacre. Regardless of price, if the quality is the same, I would rather have the solid nacre pearl over one with an implant inside. Maybe I'm just being a guy, I don't know. I do know that my fiancee loved them regardless of what I paid, and thats what really matters.

  4. #4
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Hi jms
    On the contrary... In my opinion, you do get it.

    These are comparable pearls to the old fashioned, wild, natural pearls in every way except they are cultured- that is, farmed, guided, and tended by people instead of spontaneously and naturally growing in response to a random irritant.

    In my "expert" opinion, the bead nucleated pearls were, are, and will continue to be, a stop-gap substitute for real pearls. They were the only alternative for the average buyer for almost 100 years of highly touted, mystique-ified, cultured pearls and people went for it- after all the only alternative was to inherit or buy old fashioned wild pearls. The Japanese were the only game in town for decades and they marketed and sold their product as though it were the real thing. This was a first-rate, masterpiece of marketing for what amounted to a second-rate type of pearl culturing method.

    Then the Chinese started tissue-nucleating freshwater mussels. At first the pearls were little and looked like rice crispies, but they got bigger and rounder and better every year since. And now look at what the Chinese are doing! The absolute top quality perliculture - and without a bead!

    Because of this stunning development on the part of the Chinese, we can once again buy and collect true heirloom pearls. In an underwhelming anti-climax, the days of the stop-gap measures are going to continue, but will take up less of the market as choices increase.


    Mark my words: The top end of the market is going to shift to tissue nucleated as all the other smart men, like you, out there, look at the VALUE as opposed to the brand name price. Do not be surprised to see Mikimoto be among the first to market the 'New", "Improved" ‘Unbelievable” “Orient-saturated”, tissue nucleated akoya pearls! And remember, you read it here first! Oh and I would not be surprised if they bought them from China!
    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.

  5. #5
    Zeide Erskine
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    Hi,

    You got that perfectly right. It is a current market anomaly that the highest quality freshwater cultured pearls that really are indeed full pearls cost less than pearl plated and up-chemicalled beads. That is absurd. It is really like designers like Miriam Haskell or Erwin Pearl saying that their gold-plated stuff is worth 10 times as much as solid gold because they say so and the whole market is cheering them on.

    At current PearParadise prices, the freshadama are going for the Southern California price level of Majorica fakes. That is beyond absurd. In the opposite direction absurd from a 16" strand of 7.5-8mm A+ grade Mikis selling for US$5,300.00 plus tax (Bailey, Banks & Biddle online). Those are seriously lackluster pearl plated beads. They do not even remotely compete with a 7-8mm freshadama strand for US$310.00.

    But as the Mikimoto company so aptly puts it in its consumer information anywhere. Make sure you keep the papers, box, and clasp. Without the papers, box, and clasp your Mikimoto pearls are worth only a small, small fraction of their Mikimoto value. If consumers do not fully understand the meaning of such statements they deserve such extortious Mystiquery tax.

    Zeide

  6. #6
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    It is a current market anomaly that the highest quality freshwater cultured pearls that really are indeed full pearls cost less than pearl plated and up-chemicalled beads.
    Aren't we lucky!!! This is a good investment, because we know these high quality CFW pearls are extremely unlikely to be worth less than they are now and most likely to be worth more.

    In fact I hope the certificates that come with Jeremy's products are numbered and maybe even have the word "freshadama" somewhere, because in the future, these strands that can be provable to a 2006 Pearl Paradise provenance will have some collectible value- the first identified Freshadamas. Keep your paperwork on these.
    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.

  7. #7
    jms625
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    Ok, I took some pics. Keep in mind I don't have professional photography equipment. These pics came out kind of dark and some of them look golden even though they are white as snow. You can actually see my camera in the reflection of the pearls. Overall, these pictures do them no justice, you've got to see these in person to appreciate them. They are awesome.







    Last edited by jms625; 06-09-2006 at 03:16 AM.

  8. #8
    jms625
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    Second set of pics...








  9. #9
    youngster
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    Hi there JMS625,
    Great job with the photos! You did good!

    youngster

  10. #10
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    WOW!!!

    Hi jms
    I am impressed. Not only can I see your camera, but you as well-not to mention the rest of the pearls look like stage makeup lites reflected in each pearl as well! That is some mirror, better than any akoya I've seen, in fact. I presume it was slightly enhanced? But whatever, that is mirror that beats the akoyas at their own game......
    Those pearls are exciting!


    How did you get more than one pic to loadup in same comment?
    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.

  11. #11
    jms625
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    Thanks for the comments Caitlin and youngster. Glad you enjoyed the pics!

    The pictures were taken on my kitchen table on top of a regular white piece of paper, and the lighting I used was a single halogen desk lamp that you can buy at Target for $15. No enhancements of any kind were made to the photos.

    When I first posted, I tried to place all 8 images in the same post, but I received an error that said 4 was the maximum.

    They look MUCH better in real life! The main complaint I have with my pics is that the lighting in the close-ups makes the pearls look golden but they are really completely white (see the first pic where they are in the box).

  12. #12
    shinju
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    Hi jms625,

    Thanks very much for posting the details of your gorgeous photos.

    You sound slightly unhappy about the color in the close ups and you mention the lighting as a possible factor.
    Any ideas (anyone) on how to get a "truer" color in close up pics?

    I agree with you that your close ups don't get the color right but I don't think the Pearlparadise "freshadama" photos get it right either.
    (Could it be my computer screen?)
    One of the things I love about my "freshadama" is the slight irregularity of the pearls in size, luster and color (if one looks really closely) but with my admittedly totally untrained eye I haven't yet been able to spot that in any of the photos I've seen.
    So I for one agree with you jms about the "freshadama" looking even better in real life!

    Those lovely dangle earrings.
    I don't see them in the "Freshadama"/Paradise Collection section. Were they your own idea?

  13. #13
    jms625
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    Hi Shinju, yes I'm definitely disappointed with my photography skills because the pics just don't do the pearls justice. I think it has something to do with the white balance on my camera settings but I'm too much of a novice to figure it out.

    And those earings can be found at the bottom of this page:

    http://www.pearlparadise.com/Freshad...l-earrings.htm

  14. #14
    shinju
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    Hi jms and thanks for your reply.

    The white balance on the camera setting sounds good. I'll try it out and there just might be someone out there who will tell us how to do it??

    My very best wishes to you for a long and happy married life!

  15. #15
    Administrator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Kevin Canning's Avatar
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    well I wouldn't feel bad, I think those pics turned out pretty good for a novice. You gotta remember that jewelry is one of the hardest things to photograph well and pearls are the hardest type of jewelry to photograph, so to get a true look is no easy task.

    One of the ways you can get a truer representation of the white of the pearls is with the proper settings. If you have a newer digital SLR type camera, most have a setting that allows you to focus in on a pure white and have the camera detect what you want pure white to look like. Then you take the pic and the camera uses the white you selected as a reference for the photo.

    Of course the professionals do a lot more to get good photos and lighting is a major element, if you think you might want to take more you might want to look into building yourself a lightbox.
    Kevin Canning
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