Lane, Crawford, LTD. Pearls?

cabochris

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Aug 16, 2012
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I have a 17 inch strand with 14K white gold and diamond single bow-tie clasp. The Lane, Crawford's paperwork and Mikimoto booklet show this necklace was purchased in 1962 with 50 pearls and clasp #HF 192. The necklace has 50 pearls and the gold clasp a few diamonds.

However, while the clasp is marked 14K I do not see an "M" mark. There is a mark, but I can not make it out. There is no box. My local jewler says they're Mikimoto.

This looks like a quality matched 7-7.5 pearl necklace, with original paperwork. Can I call this a vintage Mikimoto necklace, or does the clasp bring this piece into question?

Thanks for any help.
 
Please let us see some photos! I would love to see that clasp!

I think you can call Mikimoto and ask which clasp is the #hf-192, if it matches, there is your proof.
 
Caitlin, thanks for your response. I do not have a good camera right now but took some cell phone photos. I can't make the mark on the clasp out, but it does not look like an M. I guess a call to Mikimoto wouldn't hurt?

The clasp does look period and the pearls very nice. I just wonder if Lane Crawfords produced necklaces using Mikimoto pearls but other brands of clasps?

Thanks, CC.
 

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Mikimoto sells necklaces to some people to resell, but I don't know if they sell brand name pearls for other people to make into necklaces.
I wonder if Lane Crawford is still in business.

This is an interesting puzzle and well worth investigating until you get the answer.
 
Lane Crawford is certainly still in business. I didn't check out their jewellery section when I was in Hong Kong, but I think they no longer sell Mikimoto pearls.
http://www.lanecrawford.com

FYI there is a very nice Mikimoto boutique in IFC Mall if you ever go to Hong Kong.
Saw a gorgeous South Sea pearl ring that I went ga-ga over. :p
 
I would think all Mikimoto brand pearl jewelry would have to have their M mark? This could very well be a quality necklace of Mikimoto pearls. It is possible that perhaps back in the day, Lane Crawford simply used a clasp as selected by the buyer? Or over time when the necklace was re-strung a different clasp was used?

I feel the piece is as the paperwork states. In the Mikimoto booklet with it, is written the necklace has 50 pearls. Well this necklace has 50. The clasp looks period and there is a receipt. I just do not know if the clasp is Mikimoto? The proof mark might be a distorted M, because I can't make it out.

On the other hand this necklace although a quality piece, could have been mixed up with the real one? But how would one explain the 50 pearls? I will try to contact Mikimoto and see if they have a reference to the clasp number, but suspect that will be a dead end.

My concern is if I decided to sell this piece, could I call them vintage Mikimoto, despite the included paperwork? Interestingly, there is also a pair of Mikimoto earrings as listed on the receipt and they are clearly marked M.
 
I would post close up photo's of everything (including the front and back of the clasp), and then state that this is a pearl necklace from Lane Crawford, with paperwork that suggests it may be from Mikimoto. This would be an honest description.

Chances are neither company keeps records of what they were doing in 1962, so its not clear you could prove things one way or the other. However I would imagine that Mikimoto has done private/exclusive label programs in the past, similar to the Blue lagoon/Sea magic programs for Signet and Zale corp.
 
Yes thanks, that makes good sense. I'm surprised to see several expensive pearl necklaces implied to be vintage Mikimoto for sale on line. They are rather clever by including a vintage sterling Mikimoto clasp and cleverly worded in the description, so it almost sounds like a vintage piece. Only, the clasp is vintage and the pearls obviously not! Some customers must fall for that?

The necklace I have belongs to an older lady that asked me to either sell or buy them. They are beautiful pearls and I may just have to add them to my collection if we can agree on a fair price. She expects a Mikimoto value, however under the circumstances I'll have to tell her perhaps to cut that expectation in half. I just could not sell them as Mikimoto for her without knowing for sure. Though they are beautiful!
 
Those listings- the ones that actually sold are the best indication of what people are actually paying. On ebay you can look at expired items. The sold ones are green, so it is easy to see them.

The clasp may be the most valuable part of the necklace. It is what it is and there is a receipt for it.
 
I would think all Mikimoto brand pearl jewelry would have to have their M mark?

You're exactly right, cabochris. On the Mikimoto website it specifically says they won't authenticate as Mikimoto a piece that doesn't have the Mikimoto trademark. Given that, I wouldn't list an item as Mikimoto unless I could clearly show potential buyers the trademark. I think Honey_and_Lemon's suggestion about how to describe the necklace is spot on.

You said there is something written in the booklet about the necklace. What does it say exactly? And does the receipt say anything about Mikimoto other than in connection with the earrings?
 
The question is how Mikimoto would be hallmarking their pieces sold at Lane Crawford in 1962. That's why I suggested contacting Mikimoto directly, however I don't know what kind of answer they would give you about things that were going on in Hong Kong 50 years ago.

As far as pricing, look at the prices for a comparable strand at internet vendors (Pearl Paradise) and examine eBay completed sales for a week or two, to get a sense of what would be appropriate pricing. It's up to you as to if the pearls being 50 years old is a bonus or malus.

Keep in mind that without an obviously recognizable mikimoto hallmark (and/or confirmation from mikimoto), this should be described as Vintage Lane Crawford pearl necklace w/ Mikimoto papers. I would include photo's of the inside of the Mikimoto pamphlet as well.

Using the BLS calculator, the US Customs declaration of $239 of value, is equivalent to $1,813 today so this was valuable in its day. You may want to talk to an auction house to get their take on it.
 
On this page I saw a person who had the same problem as you, he had everything except Mikimoto's identification on the clap, I put the page for you to see, but above all, it doesn't matter if it is Mikimoto or not, there are pearls that can be found. They sell much more expensively and they don't say Mikimoto, it depends a lot on the size, luster, roundness, and more. The only pearls that do not need a brand to identify are the Sea of Cortez pearls, those are my golden dream. https://caseantiques.com/item/lot-398-mikimoto-24-8-x-8-1-2mm-pearls/
 
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