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  1. #16

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    I'm thinking of working with some of the sellers who provide an image of a strand before it is strung and give you a choice of clasps and then string it. This appears to be the standard operating procedure of the online sellers here. Should you consider these be considered unfinished strands or finished necklaces? Does this way of selling mean I should have lower expectations for the total quality of any strand I will purchase, even from the very forthright sellers who participate on this great forum?

  2. #17
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    The pearls should not be there in the first place in a necklace.

  3. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naria View Post
    I'm thinking of working with some of the sellers who provide an image of a strand before it is strung and give you a choice of clasps and then string it. This appears to be the standard operating procedure of the online sellers here. Should you consider these be considered unfinished strands or finished necklaces? Does this way of selling mean I should have lower expectations for the total quality of any strand I will purchase, even from the very forthright sellers who participate on this great forum?
    Hi Naria,

    If you are getting a necklace custom-made that way, you can always inform the seller of what you expect in your strand. Like I mentioned before, I do know that some sellers do tend to just add some inferior pearls closer the the clasp assuming that buyers wouldn't care. Since the necklace will be custom-made, the choice is really yours. If you think you would be wearing your hair up and the pearls at the back would not look good, definitely get them swapped for better pearls. This might increase the cost of the necklace overall (should not be much), but I think that is the right way to go.
    Valerene Chin
    Serenity Pearls
    Founder & Co-owner
    www.serenitypearls.com

  4. #19
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    [QUOTE=pearlescence;98658]There usually isn't that much variation between the pearls on a strand, if you are sourcing from a decent wholealer. I do remember Jeremy, Hisano and I being driven nuts a couple of septs ago by the next to the end pearls on many strands which were of a whole grade lower.
    QUOTE]
    I found this interesting. I ordered a strand of pearls for my son's girlfriend and they emailed me a photo..silly me...the photo was for 4/5 of the strand with the ends not showing. When they arrived..the last three pearls on each end were very potatoe shaped. I posted a photo of this strand and one that cost 1/4 as much a couple of months ago ... there was very little difference between them. I actually took 6 semi round pearls from the cheaper strand to replace the 6 potatoes.. they looked exactly the same in the strand.
    The one strand was a whole grade higher and you could barely tell the difference.

  5. #20
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    It;s never occurred to me to do that, and I would have swapped out any duff pearls without thinking about it. And without increasing the price. Why would the price go up for maintaining the stated grade?

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by pearlescence View Post
    It;s never occurred to me to do that, and I would have swapped out any duff pearls without thinking about it. And without increasing the price. Why would the price go up for maintaining the stated grade?
    If a seller has intentionally used some inferior pearls, he/she would have accounted for the cost of these lower grade pearls in the pricing of the necklace; now if asked to swap them out for better pearls, and the pearls jump a grade higher, that means that his/her cost would also have gone up, therefore driving an increase to the price. It also depends on how strict a seller is with their grading. If they have worked to a customer's budget, and added some not-so-great pearls in less obvious areas to meet the budget, that could be acceptable to some buyers -- bearing in mind that this is a custom-made strand.
    Valerene Chin
    Serenity Pearls
    Founder & Co-owner
    www.serenitypearls.com

  7. #22
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    It isn't a matter of pricing, it is a matter of being honest with your buyers. If you list a strand as AAA then every pearl must be AAA. You can't bung in some AAs and charge less...well you can of course, if you want to, but I would not
    How would you describe such a strand? @Most are AAA but we bunged in some AAs we had around to make the strand cheaper - this was done at the customer's request'?
    And it isn't going to make the strand appreciably cheaper either, just a ? or so. Not even worth the effort.
    And a customer's friends aren't going to be told that the customer wanted some duff pearls in the necklace, they will think you put them in there yourself...there goes your reputation instantly
    I would not do it. Sounds like a very odd way to go about things.

  8. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by pearlescence View Post
    It isn't a matter of pricing, it is a matter of being honest with your buyers. If you list a strand as AAA then every pearl must be AAA. You can't bung in some AAs and charge less...well you can of course, if you want to, but I would not
    How would you describe such a strand? @Most are AAA but we bunged in some AAs we had around to make the strand cheaper - this was done at the customer's request'?
    And it isn't going to make the strand appreciably cheaper either, just a ? or so. Not even worth the effort.
    And a customer's friends aren't going to be told that the customer wanted some duff pearls in the necklace, they will think you put them in there yourself...there goes your reputation instantly
    I would not do it. Sounds like a very odd way to go about things.
    Odd as it may sound, with custom-made strands, comes all sorts of requests. It's no longer up to the seller to say this is an A grade strand, or a B or C grade strand. It's based on what the buyer is happy with, what suits their pockets. Sellers can advise on what to go with, but it isn't necessarily heeded. And the difference in price wouldn't be one pound or so if they were SSPs, for example, and the grade jump was from C to B, and the pearls were a good size like 13mm. If there were as many as 6 duff pearls (3 on each side) that were swapped out, it would indeed increase the price. Not by a lot of course, but still a noticeable increase.

    I think with custom-made strands, buyers need to really know and be firm with what they want, and stick to it. If a seller is putting in some inferior pearls to meet a buyer's budget, of course that has to be explained, and then it is the buyer's choice to accept or not.

    If you were a buyer that wants something custom-made to a specific budget, would you mind if a necklace of 35 SSPs appeared as B grade (blemishes hidden in the setting) from the front, and only 6 pearls at the back are C grade (with good lustre but more blemishes which are still hidden sort of well enough in the setting)? Or would you think that they would be unnoticeable anyway because no one will likely be looking that closely down the back of your neck?
    Valerene Chin
    Serenity Pearls
    Founder & Co-owner
    www.serenitypearls.com

  9. #24

  10. #25
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    I find the replies by our pg sellers very informative. That is one 'simply complex' question naria. Awesome.

  11. #26
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    I think it really comes down to what one considers a "duff" pearl. A 'D' pearl mixed in with an 'A/B' strand? Anyone dealing in South Sea and Tahitians knows that the pearls in a strand will vary in quality unless the strand is a true AAA or top gem. Pearls that go into strands are sold in large lots to large dealers and pearl houses primarily in Japan, where most often the top grade is selected out and the rest is used as necklace material. If the lot is composed of A/B/C pearls, there will be pearls in the resulting strands that (A grade) may have drilled clean going from A to B, and (B grade) having some light surface blemishing and (C grade) others that may have a deep inclusion. When creating a strand that is going to have inclusions, the first factor has to be the color and shape matching, unless the lot has tens of thousands of pearls in it or has been separated first into the processors subjective selection.

    Then there are strands that are composed of C/D lots - the most popular lots at many auctions because these goes straight into commercial-grade strands. There is still a market for the C and D grade, as many if not most of the strands sold at shows such as the Hong Kong show are composed of C and D grade, which are the most prevalent grades produced.

    The responsibility is on the wholesale buyer to do the strand selection and select for their own customers. It isn't feasible for most sellers to go through each strand and remove pearls that they feel fall into C when most of the pearls are B because they would never have the amount of loose pearls available to appropriately match in a bunch of replacement pearls. They would be lowering the value of the strand if they tried, because matching is an important value factor.

    I am only referring to South Sea and Tahitians here. With freshwater and akoya, it's relatively simple to spot pearls that need to be removed depending upon the grade you are offering the strand.

  12. #27
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    I gave this thread a 5 star rating and made it a sticky so people can read it easily. It is a really useful thread!
    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. #28

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    Interesting thread, especially DaveTT's initial response on description of grading within the AAA-A scale. I am a buyer, designer, reseller, so my comments are from that viewpoint:

    I have sourced and bought many strands from a number of sellers, mainly wholesale, and most all of the strands had significant variations in strands. Granted, I buy on the lower end of the scale, AA-A (or A-C on the Tahitian scale) since I typically mix pearls and other media. I always have to pick, and what is left are usually pearls that might be usable within busier designs where the imperfections aren't as obvious, or I simply don't use them. I have seen strands where only half the strand is usable, and strands where the seller grading is AA (with price to match) that was clearly A (or below!). I have spent so much time sending samples back when they don't meet my expectations. Pearl grading is subjective, but from a designer point of view, pits, rings and low luster are unacceptable if you're looking for a relatively smooth pearl with medium-high luster, even if it isn't round.

    What I don't like is that there are so many wholesalers and resellers of pearl strands that sell low quality strands that should have been flagged as D-grade / low quality, then I wouldn't bother.

    I would appreciate it if others in this thread can list a number of wholesalers that you feel offer consistent quality to mid-range designers at reasonable prices. I have my list, but would like to compare. (Note: I normally design with cultured freshwater pearls.)
    Last edited by pearlsusie; 12-03-2012 at 08:25 PM.

  14. #29

  15. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by pearlescence View Post
    Hi Pearlsusie and welcome
    Where are you?
    Hi There,

    I am located in the U.S.

    Cheers, PS

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