Ebay Tahitans, and how I think I actually got real ones


Aug 4, 2014
UPDATE: These weren't Tahitians at all, just dyed freshwater. I still like them though because they're BBB. Big, Black, and Beautiful!

I think I got thrown off by the fact that the dye went all the way through. For some reason,I thought that dye just sat at the top and faded inwards. Oops!

BTW, everyone, I changed my ebay guide. The photo is the same because it's a nice attention getter, but the ontent is pretty different. It comes in two parts, sort of. One part warns you away from trying to buy exotic pearls off ebay, while the second part is about how I've bought freshwaters off ebay in the past and why, etc.

So here's the link below. Read it if you like, and tell me what you think of the changes! (BTW I benefit in no way except perhaps being able to relay better information)


(Can't change the title so the misspelling stays! I will say though, isn't making such a big deal out or a mispelling a bit much? I mean, it was an honest mistake. The whole "he/she misspelled ________ so he/she's blah blah blah is dumb. Not trying to hate on whoever said it, but I see people using spelling mistakes as a way to discredit others online all the time, and it pisses me off. I spell decently enough and my grammar is okay for the most part, but I'm not making any judgement calls if someone else is bad at spelling and grammar, because it just means that their strengths lie in a different place. In my opinion, the ability to spell and write in perfect grammar is a terrible measure of whether a person's worth listening to, so I bristle at people who use it as such)

Hey everyone, I'm pretty new to pearl guide, but I'd like to share my experiences with buying tahitan pearls off ebay.

Honestly, I didn't expect tahitans, just black freshwaters, and paid $30 for a 11-13mm baroque 26" strand. When I got them, I did a destructive pearl test, and saw layers of multicolour iridescent nacre over a black bead. This was about a year ago. Just to be clear, I would have loved them even if they were freshwaters, and while the seller expressly told me they were real tahitan pearls, I didn't believe them, but they are!

They're probably the cheaper kind. deep growth lines, dyed on the outside, and somewhat badly drilled. But tahitans nevertheless!

I'm not an expert by any means, but I thought that people would like to hear my experiences, since it's supposed to be impossible to buy tahitans at the price I did, no matter how bad quality. I wrote a "guide" on ebay but it's really my experiences and tips that I learned for the ebay pearl buyer. If you'd like, check it out! It's really long, so I'll just link:

(link removed. Will put up article only when people see the pictures and can actually tell me if these are indeed what I think they are. Sorry about that)


Okay, It's cool that the community needed some stuff removed from this post. Trust me, I don't want to be a spammer either. But I'll have pics up in a while, once I figure out how to upload camera pictures onto a computer (Doh!)

Thank you!

(I won't use Red anymore, since it's already taken!)

UPDATE: I just took pictures, and it's the queerest thing. I swear I could see layers all the way to the middle. I thought it was a black bead before, but it might be more than that?
And please! You didn't "get to the bottom of this" yet! See my pics when I figure out how to upload them. It won't take that long! Look, as people who have checked my history know, I've bought a LOT of pearls, and I will say that I would have never created a post on here if I didn't think something was different about these!

UPDATE: The pics are here!

Phew! That took longer than I thought it would. So...if these aren't tahitans, then what are they? If dye got inside, then why are they black only on the outside? Why are they multicoloured on the inside? Why are there onion layers through the whole thing? Why is it all shiny rubble? Is there some technology I don't know about? Why is it teal, green, purple, etc, etc? These aren't rhetorical questions (though I guess they could be) But if they're not tahitans, then what could they be?

UPDATE: Pearl Guide says my destructive pearl test does not indicate that these are tahitans. Well...then, what does it indicate?

I'd like to address this comment on my post on ebay. To be clear, it's okay that everyone thinks I'm either uninformed or a fraud, because honestly, If I was someone else, I'd think that I was those things too! I figure I need to change a few things on my post on ebay, because I can see how it can be interpreted differently. But as for this:

"Second, making the argument that it is ok that all these Chinese sellers lie and fraudulently misrepresent their product is OK because of the price is a VERY bad argument. Being lied to, being sold something that isn't as described is illegal and these sellers only get away with it because they are in China. The reason their feedback ratings don't suffer is because of exactly what you described -- if they sell their junk to someone who knows better, they tell them to keep it for free so that they won't leave a negative feedback. That's why they offered to send your replacement for free."

This really wasn't my intention. I'm sorry it came across as that, but what I was trying to say, was if you buy pearls off ebay, then do a destructive test on one of them to see if it's what they told you it was. If it wasn't, then decide for yourself how to use that information. You can go two ways. One way is, that seller lied to me, so he should give me all my money back just because of principle. Another way is, this is a really beautiful piece of jewelry that I only spent _____ for, so I think I'll keep it anyways. I don't really want to say what the best decision is for the buyer because it really depends on the person. But in my opinion at least, if you're filing a case, leaving bad feedback, getting all of your money back, etc and still keeping/wearing/getting use out of the pearls/reselling, etc, then you're just as wrong as they were for lying to you.
Last edited:
I would like to see some photos!!! This sounds too good to be true. But I got a poor quality wrinkled skin pearl strand 12-16mm for $80 or so. We can learn a lot by seeing what a $30.00 Tahitian looks like, AND the smashed pearl! This would be a great education for shoppers.
My opinion: the dye went all the way through and dyed the bead. Tahitian pearls use shell beads that are mostly white with brown bands. I do love your enthusiasm! :)
Yes pictures are needed.

For a seller to just give you an extra necklace because there was a shipping mistake means to me that the value of the pearls is worth less then the cost to pay for your return shipping. The whole thing screams dyed freshwater pearls IMO.
You didn't buy real Tahitians for $30. You bought dyed freshwater. Doing a destructive test as described in no way sounds like you destroyed a Tahitian pearl.
Post photos or I am going to remove this thread. I don't want any sort of link promoting the article you wrote. It basically says that it's ok that all these sellers are lying to people because the garbage the sell is worth what you are paying for them. I personally think it is unethical, immoral and every customer that is lied to is getting ripped off. You got ripped off and you don't even realize it.
I'm getting the feeling this thread could have been started by one of these sellers, including the article on eBay. It's been a while since spam made it to the forum but this may be the exception.

And just made me realize what a great job the Admin is doing! How about removing the link so the seller doesn't benefit but leaving the comments since it could be useful for people's pearl education?

- Karin
maybe the thread should stay, so that people can see the scam and the lengths to which unscrupled sellers will go to peddle their low end pearls
In any case I am going to go to eBay and post on that 'guide' maybe others will follow
Last edited:
maybe the thread should stay, so that people can see the scam and the lengths to which unscrupled sellers will go to peddle their low end pearls
Is there a "Beware" section because the thread could be put there. Beware, you can not buy the "noblest" and "rare" pearl strand for $24!
I'm not happy that he signed his original message using my Pearl-Guide handle. GemGeek, can you remove that as well as the link?


The Real P-G Red
I checked the OP's eBay account and took a look at the sellers that feedback was left for.

Here is one of the sellers' "Tahitians." None of them are, of course.

Here is another -- same story.

Another ...

The OP has done business with all of them and all of them are selling dyed freshwater pearls as Tahitians.
Thanks for getting to the bottom of it. I thought the guide was one of the worst ever on eBay and eBay has a lot of lousy guides. I like leaving the thread up with links removed so the comments in response can stay. It sure is an object lesson in cheating!
My opinion: the dye went all the way through and dyed the bead. Tahitian pearls use shell beads that are mostly white with brown bands. :)

You are 100% right. That's what made it a dead giveaway the OP bought a dyed freshwater strand.
This thread makes me ever more grateful to have found great people here to help educate us with integrity ... thank you all!