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  1. #1

    Default Estate Sale Pearls

    Hey everyone,

    A friend of my wife bought a set of pearls for $25 at an estate sale and wanted to know what she got. My wife referring to me as an "expert in pearls" (since I know more than nothing) brought them home for me to look at. I'm working on getting a picture, but our digital camera is giving me nothing but blurry images. In the mean time, I had a couple of comments:

    Seems to fail the tooth test (very very smooth compared to my wife's freshadamas)
    Hard to say if the pearls were originally round because they are so badly damaged
    Can an akoya pearl lose it's sandy-roughness in a tooth-test if it has been worn down enough?

  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Try putting something straight in the photo, like a pencil. It helps the autofocus sometimes.

    Even if the surface roughness could be worn away (not sure it can be), there would still be parts of the pearl, closer to the drill hole, that wouldn't be so much in contact with the skin and which should retain their roughness.

    Describe the damage. Flaking or peeling of the "nacre?" Flaking is probably imitation or very thin nacre.
    Erosion around the drill holes? Is a bead noticeable underneath near the drill holes? May be akoyas.
    Look at the drill holes. Are they very small? Imitation pearls often have a larger hole than real pearls.
    Are there any areas of swirly "nacre" deposits near the holes, or are the holes beveled? If so they are probably imitation.

    Do you have a 10x loupe? If so (or if you can take them to a local jeweler and request the use of their loupe), look at the surface of the estate stand and compare it with your wife's Freshadamas. Imitation pearls have a rough looking surface; real nacre appears smooth. (Just the opposite of the tooth test.)

    I have to wonder why she bought them if they were so badly damaged!

  3. #3

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    I'll try the pencil picture when I get home from work. The holes are fairly small, but I'll have to check on the beveling. The damage doesn't seem to be as much flaking as it looks like dents. In looking at the bead being noticeable near the drill holes, what would it look like?

  4. #4
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    Make sure you are on macro and that the focussing spot (usually centre of the image) is on a central pearl
    If the nacre is flaking off they are either very worn akoya or fakes.
    Compare the size of the drill hole with the drill hole on your Freshadamas - fake pearl drill holes often much bigger and you can sometimes even see the fake nacre oozing in where the drill hole came before the nacre coating.
    However pearls which show a lot of damage and fail the tooth test are probably not real pearls.

  5. #5
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Your Freshadamas were drilled larger than usual so that will not be a good guide for you; do you have any other pearls to compare with? (Have they arrived yet?)

    I've seen "dents" on real pearls and on fakes.

  6. #6

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    Unfortunately I already wrapped them. I'll have to give the picture another shot so all the experts on here can weigh in!

  7. #7

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    Got pictures!!! What does everyone think?
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  8. #8
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Dwight,

    My hunch is that these are imitation pearls, made to resemble baroque pearls. Although I can't see the entire strand, there seems to be a pattern of a rounder bead, then a barrel shaped bead, perhaps alternating around the entire strand? Can you verify this? I've bought lots of commercial grade, blemished pearls, but nothing with dents like that, and no other types of blemishes. Definitely not akoya.
    Pattye


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  9. #9

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    I don't think that pattern continues throughout the strand. Another section had 3 potato-shaped, then 1 round, then 2 square-ish.

  10. #10
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Odd shapes for pearls! Boxy. They don't look real from here.

  11. #11

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    That sounds about right to me as well. Looks like they weren't much of a deal at $25.

  12. #12

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    As a follow-up, I took at look at the necklace with a loupe (x10). Unlike the Freshamas, which looked smooth, it kind of looked like a little version of the moon (lots of little round craters).

  13. #13
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    That settles it-- imitation!

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