Intrigued by pearls on a vintage shortener. Any ideas?


Well-known member
Aug 11, 2019
Late last year I bought a vintage (or older) pearl shortener/pin on eBay for around $12, but didn’t get around to testing the metal, etc. until now. I hadn’t expected the wire and beads to be precious metal. But they are, so now I’m even more intrigued regarding the pearls. The wire tested 10K, and the beads are 14k. I took photos of the pin on a while background in natural light next to a measuring tape so you could see the size of the pearls more easily. They have pretty overtones and fairly large holes, and an irregular shape, as you can see. A couple of them have quite flat backs. Anyway, I would so appreciate your eyeballing the pearls and telling me if there is anything interesting about them. I guessed freshwater from the photo when I purchased the item, but then I kind of forgot all about it for a year.

They are approximately 8mm x 6mm, the middle one being the largest. Last two are seller photos I saved.

I don’t know what the black beads are; I guess that’s the next mystery.

Thank you for looking and I hope you all have a safe and pleasant-as-possible Monday!




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Freshwater pearls, and possibly onyx beads.

I agree.
They probably used 14K beads because there is no smaller denomination available (at least, I've never seen it available). Looks like jewelry we used to get to see down here in Mexico in the 1990's. 10K gold is still very much used here.
Thanks, y’all. The pearls are a nice size and the overtones are lovely. Douglas, as I was testing the beads I was thinking the same as you—I have never seen a 10K bead, so I bet these will be 14K.

I’m going to give the piece some TLC with my nylon-tipped pliers—smooth out the pin part and gently re-align body of pin and clasp with the pin section.

I’m guessing that if the pearls are real and the metal is gold, then the faceted black beads are onyx and not cut glass. All in all I’m happy with my purchase and look forward to wearing it :) Thank you again for your time, BWeaves and Douglas!
My pleasure! But you are the one sharing with us, so we are blessed with pearls and beautiful jewelry! :D