A little vintage stick pin with a pearl


Well-known member
Aug 11, 2019
I wanted a wishbone pin for good luck, and I saw this one online and loved it. It arrived today. The seller’s lightbox photos are really good, so I’ll post a few of them. The pearl is about 5mm x 3mm. The nacre on the upper part of the front of the pearl is more creamy/yellow and shiny, but less lustrous than on the bottom half, which is silvery with a pink glint. The pearl doesn’t appear to be damaged, though. The other side of the pearl looks lustrous, like the bottom part of the front. If it is glued in I may unmount it and look at the other side.

The setting is stamped 14K on the back. There’s no other mark besides that. It’s really sweet, and I like it very much. Any ideas about the origin of the pearl? I’m pretty sure the piece is a near-antique, or even a little older, if that helps. (The seller is in the US, in New England.) I don’t know much more about the piece.

Thank you for looking. Of course I enjoy seeing everyone’s pearls here, even if I don’t always have a guess about some of the more mysterious ones!

Pearls and wishes! What a sweet combination! Would be great to find out more of its origin.
Very nice pin! The pearl looks interesting too...could be there's a lighting issue that makes it look bi-colored (white/cream). Nice find!
Thank you for the kind comments, everyone. The photo is accurate—I received the pin today. The top front is darker than it appears in the seller’s lightbox photo. It’s shiny, but very opaque compared to the bottom. I’ll try to take a couple of photos in natural light tomorrow if we have enough sun.

There are quite a few vintage wishbone pins out there if you look, often with a little pearl or rhinestone, and sometimes combined with a another “lucky” motif, like a four leaf clover. I’d like to wear this one on a hat or with a scarf.
Will await for your photos...would love to see you wearing it for the final result :)
Here are some photos in natural light that I just took. I had to wait for the spots to leave my eyes before I could view and upload them—it’s very bright outside today! I put the pin on a white microfiber cloth, and laid a ruler next to it so you can get an idea of the dimensions. I have put medium size images inline, but I hope the full size can be viewed with a couple of clicks.

I wish “Pearl Investigator” were my job :07:

Thank you for looking!

Shell ring 2
My pearl display


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Yes! The first set of photos was not lying...I can see that yours also reveal a color/lustre difference on the pearl. The top part seems less lustrous and "cream" colored, and the lower part seems more shiny and metallic. I even believe I can see an protein deposit there (somewhat bluish).
I get you totally... Pearl CIS is indeed a thing ;)
Thank you for your observations, Douglas! Also, I think many of us here would watch a show called “Pearl Detective”!

Do you have any idea where this little pearl came from yet? I can’t really do any more detection until tomorrow. I’d like to remove the pearl from the mount, but it is very firmly attached, so I’m going to look at it again tomorrow with a fresh eye. I don’t know if it’s attached with glue, or by being half drilled and mounted on a post (and also glued). If it’s a modern glue, maybe a little acetone will loosen it. But I’m wary of damaging pearl or setting with carelessness. It will just have to sit there for a while and be mysterious some more.

So far I haven’t found any exactly like it by searching, but if I do, that’ll be another helpful clue.

Being a "white pearl" makes it nearly "generic"...at least on photographs. Some pearls display certain textures, colors...some nuances that allow you to "pinpoint" them, but not always. Then there's the history that you are told..."these belonged to such and such that got them on a trip to XYZ".
But it would be amazing to have a "Round Table" where we could meet and pass pearls around, we would have loupes, a microscope, UV lamp, water containers...and then we would all discuss what we have noticed so we could come up with an answer (or several possibilities).

It would be really special to have this "Pearl CIS" team :)
Thank you, Douglas and Charlotta! One more question: could it be a natural pearl? Given the age of the piece, I thought it might be. I still haven’t detached it from the mounting.

At some point I figure pearls could be DNA tested to identify the species of origin, but that’s an expensive prospect!

Douglas, I am ready to see your YouTube series, “Pearl Detective.” I’ll be your first guest. Haha!
Yes, it could be a natural pearl...but due to the fact that there are many more cultured pearls available in this world we should first assume it is a cultured one. Close inspection would help...looking at the drill hole to find a bead or even heading to a dentist to help out with an x-ray (I've done it and works great once you work with your dentist...it might actually interest him ;) ). This is less costly than a DNA test.
Let me show you how one dentist's x-ray results look like.
Perla de Ostra (3).png
And at least down here I can get this done for about $600 pesos (about $28 US dollars) per pearl.

Would love to have a "Pearl Detective" program...but I am sorely in need of equipment. Wish I had a Lab! :17:
Perla de Ostra (1).png
BTW...the pearl is a Natural one....that "hollow" hole was a protein deposit.
This is another x-ray of the same pearl, but these dental x-rays actually have sophisticated tools (and are very much 3D) that you can use.


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That is fascinating, Douglas. I’m very interested in the science end of how pearls are formed, and in digital (and other) technologies used to learn more about them.

I think I’ll just enjoy wearing the little pearl stick pin, and learn more about it as the opportunity arises. If I can find an approximate date for the piece someday, I would like that. The pearl is so firmly mounted in the setting that I don’t want to disturb it.

I appreciate everyone’s kind comments and knowledge!
My pleasure and please: Keep sharing!
I found and purchased another wishbone pin right before this one. There’s nothing mysterious about it at all, but I love it. From the seller’s photos I made a guess that the seed pearls in it were real. The clue was that they didn’t have the same overtones. When the pin arrived, I tested them, and I had guessed correctly. How about that! The pin isn’t made of precious metal, and it’s not that old—probably mid-century, given the hardware. I was also attracted to the double luck symbols: the wishbone and the shamrock. It’s very small, about .75 inch long (20mm). I’ll probably pin it to a blouse collar, or even a purse.

Thanks for looking and reading, and I hope all are having a good and a SAFE weekend.


Nice find Multichrome! Wishbone + Shamrock is twice the luck ;)