Fire & water damaged pearl assessment


New Member
Feb 1, 2024
Hello pearl people, first off I am loving the enthusiasm and pearl pics I'm seeing on here! I'm an antique jewelry appraiser and my focus is on costume, designer and vintage plastics but I really don't have much education in pearls so I only admire them from afar and leave the rest to the experts. That was at least until my partners mother gave him the family jewels and I got to love them up close & personal!

Unfortunately we had a fire this past summer and while we were able to rescue the jewelry we were also told it needed to remain in the state it was in for insurance inspection. Fast forward 8 months and they have not had anyone inspect it for cleaning or repair and I'm concerned that sitting in sooty (but now dried) jewelry boxes as we've been asked to do is going to damage it even further.

We have contacted a number of jewelry stores and brought them around to some but they have said they don't have the knowledge to assess cleaning or value pearls or the other natural and somewhat porous material jewels we have (opal beads, antique coral & turquoise) I contacted the GIA looking for pearl certified appraisers or jewelers and they say they don't give out that information.

I'm wondering if any of you pearly people have any suggestions as to how to get these evaluated for insurance? The insurance company requires certain qualifications but can't actually produce anyone with them! As an appraiser this whole process is so backwards, frustrating and insane!!! It would be a shame to loose all this beautiful antique jewelry just because insurance can't evaluate it in a timely manner!!

Any advice would be welcome!
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Ageofsolarium, that's so very unfortunate! Have you already checked at NAJA? It appears some specialize in antique jewelry and you may need multiple people with specialties in the varied materials. What area of the US are you in?
We are in the Hudson Valley in NY, about an hour & a half north of the city. Thanks for the NAJA recommendation - their directory had one person about an hour away who hopefully will reply to my query. He is actually a mobile Jewelry appraiser - I think that's really cool!

I'm just so surprised that my insurance company doesn't have someone who handles antique jewelry as this must always be an issue for them.

I love those pearls with the contrasting knots on your Etsy page - I've never seen someone do that before and it's really spectacular!