Christmas Gift for Mom...HELP!

nynic715

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Nov 6, 2018
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Soo my mom mentioned briefly that she wanted a pair of pearl earring for Christmas, size 8 to be exact. I have been snooping at what Mikimoto has because I know next to nothing about pearls (hanadama freshadama what?!)...Mikimoto earrings are a bit on the "oh my she better love these pearls forever" price range but is the price worth it when there are articles on this forum saying you can buy pearls on websites that are on par or superior to Mikimoto? Are you really paying for the quality or are you paying for the name? I am not sure I want to shell out close to $800 or more for pearl studs that I am not sure she will ever even wear (mind you she has a whole set of pearls my father brought back from Japan in the 80s that have some rubies as well - they look pretty in the box because that's the only place I have ever seen the set) Anyway, over the past few days, I stumbled upon Pearl Paradise & like what I have seen - but let's be realistic, looking at pearls on a computer monitor is not the same as seeing them in person. Looking at the Hanadama's I think that they will have a little too much luster for her taste, so I was looking at either the Natural White Hanadama's or the AAA White Akoya's... question for all of you...

AAA White Akoya or Natural White Hanadama? or do I just buy both and let her choose since they have a 90 day return policy...?
Or should I be looking at White South Sea pearls? (although I think they look "boring" in comparison...)
She said she wanted size 8... so do I go with 7.50-8.00 or 8.00 to 8.50? I am thinking 7.50-8.00 because she isn't into big chunky jewelry but then again the size difference seems soo small...
Does the backing have any effect on the color of the pearl (yellow gold versus white gold)?
Anyone ever return something to Pearl Paradise / buying & returning experiences?

Thank you in advance for reading this and sharing your knowledge of pearls with me :D
 
Size:
If this helps you decide size, 8.0-8.5mm pearls will be about 20% larger than 7.5-8.0mm pearls. (Based on comparing the volume of spheres in the middle of the range-- an 8.25mm pearl vs. a 7.75mm pearl.)

It's not a huge difference, true, but akoya pearl prices tend to jump at the 8mm point, as there are fewer top grade akoya pearls as the size increases.

Does she have smaller ear lobes, or larger? Larger lobes can handle larger studs. If her ear lobes are a bit thin, you might want to get extra large earring backs anyway, to help the studs not to droop.
Does she spend a lot of time on the phone? Smaller studs are more phone-friendly.

Color of pearls:
Are you certain she wants white pearls? Might she like a pair of Tahitian pearl studs? I'm asking this because you mentioned she has a set of pearls that she doesn't wear.

Quality:
IMO it's best to go for the best you can afford. You'll never regret getting top grade pearls. For akoyas that means hanadama (which, like other akoyas, are routinely bleached and pinked) or natural white hanadama (not bleached or pinked). Both are beautiful; it's just a matter of what you prefer.

Mikimoto pearls are beautiful, sure, but you are also paying a premium for the name. You can certainly get a gorgeous set of pearls that are not of that brand name.

SSP vs. akoya:
I think this is just a matter of taste. Of the two, top grade akoyas have the higher luster; SSP have thicker nacre but the luster tends to be softer. Thick nacre matters more in pearls that are worn next to the skin, though.

White gold vs. yellow gold:
A matter of taste. What does she tend to wear more?
 
Coming back to this, I see I failed to explain the term Freshadama. This is PP's trademarked name for their gem grade freshwater pearls.

These are solid nacre, very lustrous, and more affordable than akoya pearls, if there are budgetary considerations.
 
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Thank you soo much for all of your great insight. I did not realize that going from one size to another could be so big when comparing them. As for the backing to the earring, I would then do yellow gold as she wears that, I honestly just was not sure whether or not yellow or white golf would affect the way the color of the pearl actually looks. I did ask her about color, she leaned towards white but I am not completely sure she realized that they came in other colors. Tahitian pearls are out of the question though, I know she has a strong dislike towards them...

What are your go to sights to buy pearls?
 
It really depends on what I am buying. I've bought from many vendors. :) But I have not bought hanadama pearls.
 
I've bought natural white Hanadamas and Freshadamas and other pearls from Pearl Paradise.they also have natural white Hanadamas.
 
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I am sure no one has suggested that any online seller is superior to Mikimoto. What is true is that you can get beautiful pearls for a lot less.

You need to think about the shade of white as well. Not everyone likes the stark white and prefer a softer white or cream. If you are looking for high lustre then think of Akoya. The lustre is very sharp. You can ask for a photo of AAA Akoya next to Hanadama and Freshadama and see what you prefer.
It's a lovely gift and very generous. As for the colour of gold..I'd go for whatever gold she usually wears.
 
Size:
If this helps you decide size, 8.0-8.5mm pearls will be about 20% larger than 7.5-8.0mm pearls. (Based on comparing the volume of spheres in the middle of the range-- an 8.25mm pearl vs. a 7.75mm pearl.)

It's not a huge difference, true, but akoya pearl prices tend to jump at the 8mm point, as there are fewer top grade akoya pearls as the size increases.

Don't know if this will help you visualise the size difference a mm can make. These are my old akoya studs, not top grade, the larger ones are 6.8mm and the smaller ones 5.7mm. (I have small ear lobes so they are fine for me but probably on the weeny side for many.)
What a lovely present for your Mother and please show us what you do get for her!

Earings1.jpg
 
I am sure no one has suggested that any online seller is superior to Mikimoto. What is true is that you can get beautiful pearls for a lot less.

You need to think about the shade of white as well. Not everyone likes the stark white and prefer a softer white or cream. If you are looking for high lustre then think of Akoya. The lustre is very sharp. You can ask for a photo of AAA Akoya next to Hanadama and Freshadama and see what you prefer.
It's a lovely gift and very generous. As for the colour of gold..I'd go for whatever gold she usually wears.

Thank you! I wasn't sure if the color of the post (yellow versus white) would affect how the color of the pearl looks! I will go with yellow gold then as that is what she wears :eek:
 
Don't know if this will help you visualise the size difference a mm can make. These are my old akoya studs, not top grade, the larger ones are 6.8mm and the smaller ones 5.7mm. (I have small ear lobes so they are fine for me but probably on the weeny side for many.)
What a lovely present for your Mother and please show us what you do get for her!

View attachment 63178

Thank you for sharing the size differences! Wow - they are beautiful! It amazes me that what seems like such a small difference in size can actually be quite a huge jump in size!
 
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Of course no one can knock Mikimoto, it's like the Rolls Royce of Pearls...but I think I can buy excellent quality pearls at half of the cost. Mikimoto size 8.00 grade A start at $770 (which is what retailers sell in store/online like Nordstrom) & only go up based on grade -pretty much you can spend $770 - $2,000 on size 8 depending on the grade. I am eyeing the 8.00-8.50 Hanadama ... I am just hoping that they will be able to send me a few picture of some of the pairs that they have to offer...
 
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here are the pictures that I received back Top pair are White South Sea, bottom 2 pairs are Hanadama's two different sizes.
 
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The middle pair is amazing. But they're all great. I don't think you can go wrong.
 
Funny you all seem to be in agreement with the middle pair. I asked for 3 photos to be sent to me so I could see the difference in type and size...
Top Pair - South Sea size 8.00-8.50
Middle Pair - Hanadama Akoya 8.00-8.50
Bottom Pair - Hanadama Akoya 7.50-8.00

anyway, I just ordered the 8.00-8.50 size Hanadama Akoya pearls (pretty much the middle picture)

When they come in, I will post them :)
 
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My eyes gravitated to the middle pair too without seeing anyone's choice!
 
Well I bit the bullet and ordered a pair of earrings. Ironically everyone on here seemed to be in agreement with the middle pair, which is what I had in mind to order.
I ended up ordering the Akoya Hanadama grade sized 8.00-8.50 :D I apologize if the photos are not the greatest, they were taken with my cell phone. I did try to put them against a white background (aka a white ring box) as I read that they photo better against white?

I hope my mom likes them, I kind of actually love them! They also came with that Certification thing & an appraisal - not sure if that is of any use though?

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Those glow!!! They're gorgeous. Yes, keep the certificate. I don't think the "real price" is good for anything but insuring, but I don't think you need to insure these.
 
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