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  1. #1

    Default Help - what are GLA certified south seas pearls?

    I've been looking for a south seas pearl necklace for my wife's birthday and thepearlsource.com keeps coming up in my searches.

    They have GLA certified pearls, is that similar to GIA?

    Is this strand really over $28,000?

    http://www.thepearlsource.com/CERTIF...ction_1401.htm

    Please help, I'm running out of time and need to figure this out.

  2. #2
    Third-graft Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Tucs's Avatar
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    Hello,

    I am not an expert (other people while chime in soon who know much better), I'm just a happy pearl consumer, but it is usually the case that pearls of comparable quality are much cheaper via specialized online pearl stores than at brick & mortar jewelry stores.

    That said, The Pearl Source has a terrible reputation on this forum. See, for instance:

    https://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9745

    I would recommend you contact reputable vendors such as Pearl Paradise, Pearls of Joy, Pure Pearls (I have shopped at all of them and can attest to superior product and superb customer service).

  3. #3
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    KingSilva, that necklace you linked to is priced at $5999. The $28K is that lab's idea of what replacement value for a strand with those qualities might be if bought in a brick and mortar store.

    It sounds outrageous, but a couple of weeks ago I saw a baroque SSP necklace, very silvery (not the most valuable body color), at Macy's priced at $17,500. So yes, B&M prices can be really high. Which is why the online vendors are preferred by so many of us.

    Do you specifically want a round strand? Pearl Paradise is a reputable company with some great round and baroque SSP.

    https://www.pearlparadise.com/c-16-white-south-sea.aspx

    If you are open to baroque strands (if she likes the look), you can get a beautiful strand for considerably less money.
    Pure Pearls still has its sale of baroques going on:

    http://www.purepearls.com/pearl-neck...4b61-407163269
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 07-21-2015 at 04:03 AM. Reason: typo

  4. #4
    Pearlista Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
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    If you want to make a quick decision without worrying about being taken advantage of, then try any of the sellers recommended above. They offer excellent quality at the best prices and their service is great - plus easy returns.

  5. #5
    Pearl Girl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Ashley's Avatar
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    I have never had the pleasure of speaking with anyone from the GLA, and this is quite honestly the first I've heard of them. I had to specifically search "GLA Gemological Lab, Los Angeles" to get Google to show me their site, so it would appear they're not well-known to the industry or they would rank in a simple search IMHO.

    They no longer have a valid BBB rating, but two complaints that look rather serious: http://www.bbb.org/losangelessilicon...650/complaints
    Ashley McNamara, CEO
    Pure Pearls
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  6. #6
    Pearl Girl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Ashley's Avatar
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    GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is a well-known and respected school and gemological lab with offices and branches around the world. They established the science of gem and diamond grading and were the first institution in the world to attempt to formalize pearl grading.

    The GLA appears to be a privately-owned gem and jewelry appraisal business, not a learning institution, so there's a big difference just right there. The GLA's focus is on making sales, GIA creates professionals.
    Last edited by Ashley; 07-21-2015 at 05:44 PM. Reason: misspelling, oops!
    Ashley McNamara, CEO
    Pure Pearls
    Toll Free: 800-762-0977
    LIKE US on FaceBook
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  7. #7
    Inactive Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashley View Post
    GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is a well-known and respected school and gemological lab with offices and branches around the world. They established the science of gem and diamond grading and were the first institution in the world to attempt to formalize pearl grading.
    And they still have a long way to go. While the GIA remains foremost, resources and staff are limited, especially when compared to identification of other gems. We scarcely see most certificates, but I'm certain a lot of "undetermined origin" reports are issued by the GIA. Location of harvest and species are infinitely difficult to to establish in the absence tangible provenance and established baseline data.

    However, those are a far cry better than erroneous reports, which are often solely meant to add value and little else.

    A lab must have known exemplars and analogs on file for identification, namely pearls from known harvest grounds (ie) Persian Gulf, South Sea, Indo-China, Japan, Pacific Islands and Sea of Cortez. In the absence of these, identifying rare species are near to impossible.

    Even at best, subjective conclusions may be drawn. Until all gem labs come up with a universal system that employs objective methods used in pathological and forensic sciences, reputable lab reports may be overshadowed by dubious claims from other labs. These are not limited to incidental harvests (namely keishi or spontaneous farm reared pearls) or other pearls from other regions with similar growth and structural patterns. Likewise no consideration is made for unsustainable or endangered harvests, (ie) Tridacna and Strombus. Shells or meat of those are strictly regulated by CITES and/or other laws governing trade in endangered animal parts, but many pearls slip through the cracks and are openly traded without adequate documentation as to origin.

    A lab report, even from the most reputable service must never stand alone as to value. I can't say it enough. Unless you know your source, you'll never know for sure.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    From what I've gathered (I've been asked this question by potential clients in the past so did some research), GLA exists to create "lab reports" that are then used to scam potential buyers. In my opinion, even the name is designed to scam people. It's so close to GIA.

    Here are a few interesting reads:

    http://www.mindat.org/forum.php?read...256419,quote=1
    http://www.complaintsboard.com/compl...m-c502931.html
    http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Govern...-Calif-1002306
    http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Govern...Califor-878129
    http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Bidzco...lifornia-83098
    http://uscomplaints.com/beauty-appea...075-fraud.html

    The stories are the same every time. Unsuspecting consumer buy a lot or parcel with GLA lab reports only to find out the actual value is nowhere close, often less than they actually paid.

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