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  1. #1

    Default Are these pearls real and what kind are they. thanks

    My Grandmother had given me this necklace years ago and I wanted to know if anyone could tell me anything about them. Any input would greatly be appreciated.
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  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I count 97 pearls, which could be akoya cultured pearls or could be imitation. Try rubbing 2 of the pearls near the clasp together gently (or against a tooth)-- if you feel roughness, they are probably real. Imitation pearls would be smooth.

    How long is it? What is the size of the end pearls and the center pearl? It looks like it isn't knotted between the pearls.

    Around the 1940s and 1950s, there were many graduated strands of pearls sold in Japan to servicemen and others working overseas.
    These were called 3.5 momme strands, momme being a unit of weight. The fact that the strands were graduated in size made them affordable -- if you look through the forum, you will see many people posting questions about such strands inherited from their grandmothers. Often the end pearls were about 3mm and the center pearl about 7mm.

    Here is a little article about them:
    http://www.imperial-deltah.com/news2...pied_japan.htm

    These older pearls were typically kept in the water for longer times than many akoyas that are cultured today, so they had good nacre thickness and could be worn longer before wearing through to the mother of pearl bead inside.

    I've found the strands clean up nicely and are lovely to wear! I found a few such strands secondhand, and cleaned and restrung/knotted them on 10# white PowerPro. Take a look at the forum about caring for your pearls, and the sticky on how to restring pearls on the Lowly Beaders Club forum. Enjoy them, don't just stick them in the drawer!

  3. #3
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Cyril Roger Brossard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl Dreams View Post
    ...These were called 3.5 momme strands, momme being a unit of weight...
    Just being curious, would you know why 3.5? does this mean that the total weight of the pearls is 3.5 momme if so I find it hard to reach reconciliation... Thanks for your feedback

  4. #4

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    Any ideas where I could take these to have them looked at to see if they are indeed real or fake? I live in St. Peter's Missouri.
    Thanks for any help.

  5. #5
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Yes, Jeremy has posted about this before:

    You have a 3.5 momme strand of Japanese akoya pearls. The 3.5 momme stands for the weight of the strand - 1 momme = 3.75 grams - an ancient unit of measure used in Japan, and actually spelled "monme". Cultured pearls were very expensive in the mid part of the century, so the fashion was to graduate the strands to approximately 7 mm in the center.

    https://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/sh...1033#post91033

  6. #6
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by murrysparkle1 View Post
    Any ideas where I could take these to have them looked at to see if they are indeed real or fake? I live in St. Peter's Missouri.
    Thanks for any help.
    You probably don't need to take them to a jeweler, but if you do, ask to look at them with the jeweler's 10x loupe. Real pearls have a very smooth-looking surface under 10x magnification. Fake pearls have more of an orange-peel look.
    If in doubt, compare what you see with a known-real (cultured) pearl strand that the jeweler is selling-- or with known fakes that you may own.

    • Did you try the tooth test and/or rubbing two of the pearls together to see if they were smooth (fake) or gritty (real)?

    • If you photograph them without flash against a non-shiny white background (we like to use a plain paper towel) we'll get a better look at the luster and any overtones the pearls may exhibit.
    Include another closeup against the same white background.

  7. #7
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Cyril Roger Brossard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl Dreams View Post
    Yes, Jeremy has posted about this before:

    You have a 3.5 momme strand of Japanese akoya pearls. The 3.5 momme stands for the weight of the strand - 1 momme = 3.75 grams - an ancient unit of measure used in Japan, and actually spelled "monme". Cultured pearls were very expensive in the mid part of the century, so the fashion was to graduate the strands to approximately 7 mm in the center.

    https://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/sh...1033#post91033
    sorry we misunderstood each other. I am aware of what a momme is, actually it is 3.749 grams rounded off to 3.75 for easier computation.
    what I do not understand is why a "3.75"...
    if 97 pieces and the total weight is 3.75 so this would be equivalent to an average of 2.121 millimeters of diameter or .00037 (rounded off) momme per piece... Considering a density of ρ=2802
    I have hard time to reconciliate this with the picture...

    Unless the pearls are really that small?
    thank you for your patience.

  8. #8
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    I understand now.

    Here's a thread with a neck shot of one of my strands; it has 93 pearls, ranging from 2.5mm to close to 7.5mm in the center: https://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6297
    It's very light-weight!
    I'll locate my husband's jewelry scale later and weigh it, but I imagine the 13 grams did not include the clasp (which i replaced in any case.)

  9. #9
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    I weighed my two vintage graduated akoya strands. The weight includes the clasp, which probably would not have been included in the weight of the so-called 3.5 momme strands.

    The first strand weighs 15.5 grams with the silver lobster-claw clasp. It has 92 pearls (I had to omit the 93rd when restringing as it was clogged with glue) and graduates from 2.5mm to 7.5mm.
    So, it's a little heavier than 13 grams, but then perhaps this is accounted for by virtue of the weight of the clasp plus the center pearl being slightly larger than 7mm?
    See photos here: https://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6297

    The second strand weighs 18.9 grams with 14k white gold filigree clasp. It has 77 pearls and graduates from 5mm to 8 mm.
    This one is larger than the usual range for the 3.5 momme strands. It seems to me there must have been variation in the sizes of these graduated strands that were so popular at the time, with 3-7mm being the most common.
    See photos here: https://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7219

    I'm certainly no expert on this topic-- just an interested pearl owner.

  10. #10
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Cyril Roger Brossard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl Dreams View Post
    I weighed my two vintage graduated akoya strands. The weight includes the clasp, which probably would not have been included in the weight of the so-called 3.5 momme strands.

    The first strand weighs 15.5 grams with the silver lobster-claw clasp. It has 92 pearls (I had to omit the 93rd when restringing as it was clogged with glue) and graduates from 2.5mm to 7.5mm.
    So, it's a little heavier than 13 grams, but then perhaps this is accounted for by virtue of the weight of the clasp plus the center pearl being slightly larger than 7mm?
    See photos here: https://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6297

    The second strand weighs 18.9 grams with 14k white gold filigree clasp. It has 77 pearls and graduates from 5mm to 8 mm.
    This one is larger than the usual range for the 3.5 momme strands. It seems to me there must have been variation in the sizes of these graduated strands that were so popular at the time, with 3-7mm being the most common.
    See photos here: https://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7219

    I'm certainly no expert on this topic-- just an interested pearl owner.
    thank you for the feedback. maybe the term 3.5 was indeed a reference of mass, you confirmed that the pearls were small with the largest being at around 7mm. however variation on the theme may have overlooked the mass while keeping the coined term of 3.5 for reference...?

  11. #11
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    That's what I'm thinking.

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