Inherited pearls




I inherited a set of pearls from my grandmother and was hoping someone here could help me figure out what I have as I do not know anything about pearls.

According to a note in the jewelry box (I believe I have the original box) written by my great-grandmother, these pearls were given to my grandmother by my grandfather in 1943. The box is red velvet on the outside with a satin lining. "Bluebird Pearls for Happiness" is written in gold on the lining. I tried a Google search for this term but didn't come up with much.

My father had them restrung by a jeweler sometime in the late 1990s so I am not certain if the clasp is original or not.

1. They feel gritty when rubbed against my teeth
2. The necklace is 21.5 cm in length. The largest pearl is a little under 1 cm. The smallest is about .25 cm.
3. There doesn't appear to be any stamp or marking on the clasp.
4. The pearls are round.
5. The pearls are of different sizes. They start out small and gradually get larger.
6. The pearls are different sizes but they seem to be the same color and have the same surface - smooth and off-white.

I have attached some pictures. I do not have the best camera so please let me know if I need to upload some better ones. Thanks so much for any assistance you can provide!


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Hi Blondie,

I think you may be confusing mm with cm. Your measurements seems to be in cm. As for the pearls I'll let the experts have their say :)

- Karin

Thank you so much for the correction. I think it has been too long since I have used a ruler LOL. I have corrected the measurements in my post.

But, Dave, she says they feel gritty, and do the shape really look like faux pearls?

- Karin
Grit doesn't necessarily suggest genuine pearls... the tooth test is used merely to rule out plastic or glass.

Henshel also made toys and Christmas ornaments, so it's likely they handled all kinds of art glass and textured glazes.

You'll notice this stand is not knotted between the pearls. Even though it's been restrung subsequent to the purchase, others in the Bluebird line didn't have knots either. By that virtue, I'm certain they are indeed the pearls that came with that box.

The original clasps had rhinestones, so it's likely the clasp was changed when restrung.

They first appeared to be vintage akoyas but on closer examination, showed them as off-round and translucent, much like freshwaters. Being from the 20's (or sometime thereafter) made that impossible. Likewise the size is too ranged for akoyas, 10mm is unusually large for akoya and 2.5mm is way too small to be bead nucleated.

Nonetheless, of all the fakes, these are a nice vintage strand of costume pearls.

You'll see them on eBay from time to time, selling from $10 to $30 a strand.

BTW, blondie77... excellent job on describing the strand in your first post!
Also, sometimes people have reported their pearls to feel gritty but they have subsequently been judged to be imitation. An irregular or rough tooth surface could contribute to that error.