80' vs contemporany akoya pearls


Community member
Feb 4, 2021

I would like to add a smaller size akoya necklace to my collection and looking I have found 2 options.
1. a lovely vintage akoya necklace from the 80' in an UK shop
- sellers info: AAA , thick nacre, a shining luster and subtle rainbow overtones
I would say they are AA+, good nacre & luster, cream color with pink-green overtones
2. a new akoya necklace from a Japanese shop
- sellers info: very good luster AA, minor flaws AB, nacre >0.3, white pink
I say the luster is very good, color silver white with green-pink overtones, for sure bleached.

Considering the variations in the quality of akoyas over time which one would you think is best in therms of nacre quality and life span?
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Hello Joaz, and Welcome to our Pearl Loving Forum!
Those are very good questions that I am sure some of our Members will be able to share their experience on Akoya pearls with you.
Welcome again.
The problem with older strands is that even if the nacre was originally thicker (and it may or may not have been; there have always been better strands and inferior strands) it may be thinner now. Nacre is soft and gradually wears away with contact with skin (which is acidic), general pollution, exposure to cosmetics etc.

Also you have to think about whether you prefer a creamy tone or a whiter tone. Everyone's complexion is different.

It is likely the first strand was also bleached. Bleaching is a standard pre-treatment process for akoyas. The vintage pearls have originally been whiter, and yellowed over the years.
@cortezpearls Thank you very much! I have been fallowing the forum for some time but this is my first interaction here!

@pearldream I have the same reserve about old nacre! You may be right about the 80’ pearls beeing initialy bleached.
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the 80's necklace

the 80's necklace

the japanese necklace

the japanese necklace

I am waiting for better pictures of exact item, but I think you can make an idea. :)
Good morning Joaz
Well, both pearl necklaces look lovely. The newer necklace seems to have a more metallic silver look, but the pearl sizes are small for my liking (5.0-5.5 mm)...but it is all a matter of personal taste. How big are the pearls on the 80's strand?
BTW: Great photos.
Both necklace are of the same size5-5.5mm. I do know most people prefer bigger sized pearls but I do realy like the smaller sized ones :) maybe because bigger pearl necklaces (>9-9.5) look strange on me. :rolleyes:
You guys, very funny! I’d say, good advice given and enjoy the small pearls while you’re young!
I decided on the silver japanese one. I will post some photos when it arrives. ;)
Yes! That's the one that got me excited!
Please do send photos :)
Happy Weekend!
They both look great. Given the choice, I'd go for the new necklace, which you did.
I think you made the right choice as well, or at least the one that I would have. I like creamy and softer coloured pearls, especially vintage, but there's something about the colour of these new Akoya's that really does it for me. They're almost almost blingy in their silver tones.
This is it... next to my 7-7.5 Hanadamas for color comparison. They are white with slightly silvery green and pink overtones. I find the size very nice.


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Really nice Joaz!
Both strands are very good looking, but once worn it just looks better :)
I have always believed women and pearls compliment each other to perfection.