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  1. #1

    Question Estate Sale Find - Possible Older Akoyas?

    These lovelies were softly gleaming at me from a small glass case at an estate sale this past Saturday (my first one!) & before I knew what had happened, I had purchased them for $250. I felt drawn to them & just couldn't leave them behind. The gentleman running the estate sale told me they were saltwater pearls when I asked and said the strand appraised at $1500. He did not have any appraisal paperwork so this may have just been his informed opinion (or shenanigans!)...but the company hosting the estate sale is a well respected local business with a long history, so I decided to take a leap of faith. I'm hoping the knowledgeable folks here can tell me if these pearls are authentic akoyas.

    The necklace is an 18 inch graduated strand with 83 pearls ranging from 4.3 to 8.5 mm in size. Each pearl on the strand is knotted. The clasp is sterling with a tiny pearl accent and appears to be quite old (the hallmark on the back of the clasp is quite worn down). The pearls are slightly gritty when rubbed together, appear pretty uniformly round, yet do not look "too perfect" like an obviously fake strand. They were a soft beige color when I bought them, but after a gentle cleaning they are now a luminous off white. I've attached four photos including a neck shot - these photos are not the greatest quality, but they are the best I could do on the fly with a cell phone camera.

    I am so hoping these pearls are genuine older Akoyas and if they are, plan to restring them post haste & wear them proudly every day! I've spent a few hours reading all of the helpful info on this site and want to thank everyone for sharing their extensive pearl knowledge with novices like me.
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  2. #2

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    Here are some more pics - sorry for the poor quality. Name:  WP_20130210_001.jpg
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  3. #3
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    If they aren't manmade, they are akoyas. Look for a very fine gritty feel when you run one across the edge of a tooth, or you can rub two together. Is the clasp Sterling? No shot of the back. If so, it is also typical of akoya strands from the last century.
    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.

  4. #4
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    The kind of appraisal you got was for the replacement value. That is not what they will sell for, should you want to do that.

    I just search completed listings on eBay for akoya pearl necklaces that actually sold. I started finding them at $399.00 for the highest down to much less than that.

    Having said that, a cleanup and a restringing will make them look like you paid $1000.00 when it was new from a store!
    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
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Welcome modern fan,

    You look lovely in the pearls! Agree with Caitlin, likely to be older akoya. They seem to be very good quality, round rather than less valuable baroque, so you did fine on the price.
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

    facebook.com/PatriciaSaabDesigns

    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  6. #6
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Agreed, older akoyas, and they look very pretty on you! They have a very nice luster. The clasp is adorable.
    Do restring them as planned, for safety.

  7. #7

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    Thank you so much for the info, ladies! I'm just tickled pink to own a strand of real vintage Akoyas. I will never sell them - it will be a daily joy to wear them, and now I can have fun searching for some matching earrings & perhaps even a bracelet, too.

    Do you recommend anyone in particular to restring them? I saw the DIY tutorial, but my eyesight & fine motor skills are not what they used to be & I'd feel more comfortable entrusting this to professionals. Thanks again for responding to my post!

  8. #8
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    You could ask your local jeweler if they offer a restringing service, and what they charge. The pearls will probably be sent out for it.
    I was quoted $66 to restring an 18" necklace-- that is when I decided to learn how to do it myself! My eyes aren't what they were either, so I use a magnifier.

    Failing that, Pearl Paradise does restringing for a fee: http://www.pearlparadise.com/Stringi...-Item3193.aspx
    You would have to ship your pearls to them, insured.

  9. #9
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Happy Huku's Avatar
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    They look great to me (novice) and really suit you, well done! I confess to rather a soft spot for graduated akoyas with pretty clasps.
    Happy Huku
    Queensland
    Australia

  10. #10

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    Thanks for the restringing advice, Pearl Dreams! I found two respected local jewelers who do pearl restringing & will take my lovelies to them this Saturday.

    And Happy Huku, I totally agree with you about graduated akoyas with pretty clasps - to some they may look a bit old fashioned, but as I've grown older, I've learned to appreciate old fashioned. I feel so ladylike when I put them on - it's like a small part of me is visiting a bygone era.

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