Looking to buy my first necklace, or two


Community member
Jan 23, 2021
Hey guys. So I've been into pearls for quite some time but it was only rather recently I started experimenting with them and including them as complimentary pieces to my outfits. I've taken a liking to a white fresh water semi potato/semi baroque strand and fresh water oil slick dyed bracelet that my mother had in her cabinet for some time, but the reality is they're not particularly high enough quality to make me as happy as I would be with something round and with some more character; more luster and colour complexity(the necklace is my priority). I've spent countless hours researching and reading up on the types of pearls that are available to me and informing myself of the type of necklace I'd like to buy, so I have a pretty good picture in my mind of what I'd like to purchase. The issue being my budget is rather small and I need to adjust my preferences to fit into it. Ideally I'd like to get ahold of an 18" Hanadama or high quality 7-8mm or 8-9mm Akoya strand with white gold clasp, but even on discounted shops like Pear Paradise this is far out of my range. I've tried my hand at auctions but most online are selling brand new pearls and the prices reflect this, so I've been searching for estate necklaces and the secondary market in general which seems to be impossibly small. Are there any sites or resources you would recommend for second hand pearls? I've also looked into the option of Edison pearls which seems significantly more realistic, but ebay is a crapshoot and there aren't many available options at the typical discount stores for good quality round and lustrous pearls. Is there a go to resource for my Edison pearl needs, and is it reasonable to assume I can find a decent second hand Akoya necklace?

Thanks so much in advance for any information you can contribute. I'm eager to find out what else I can learn through my pearl hunt!
Many of us pearl lovers have champagne taste on a beer budget! Here are a few budget-stretching ideas:

• Consider getting gem quality freshwater pearls instead of akoyas. There is a large price difference.

• There is a significant price jump when pearls are 8mm and larger. A 7-8mm necklace will cost quite a bit less than a necklace that is 8-9mm.

• Are you open to a graduated vintage akoya strand? These appear often on eBay and in consignment shops, as they were common in the WWII generation. As that generation passes on, their heirs often don't want the pearls and also don't want to spend the money to restring them. They are often sold at fairly low prices on eBay, Etsy, consignment shops, or on consignment in jewelry shops' "estate jewelry" counter. I found a few very nice akoya necklaces this way for a song at a consignment shop. Cleaning them and restringing them yourself is easy. We have a tutorial and videos on our Lowly Beaders Forum.

• Check out Loupe Troop and Diamond Bistro. Some folks list their pre-loved items there. Ruby Lane, too, although prices may be higher.

• Save up and get what you really want. Sometimes this is the best option.
Hello Rokor...and welcome to our Pearl-Loving forum!
Happy to see you've already have a very good suggestion from Pearl Dreams :)
Hope we see more on the way!
Thank you Pearl Dreams and Cortez! I just may have the room to stretch and get the ones I want, although I was hoping to repurpose those potential funds for another project I'm working on. I guess I'll have to prioritize because one of the things I've learnt on here is the value of a halfway wanted pearl isn't much more than an unwanted one. There is a beautiful 8.0mm-8.5mm white/blue Akoya in my preferred size from a reputable maker with the most beautiful almost metallic luster and silver overtones that I came across. I haven't bid on it yet and it's already at the middle range of my budget but I think I'll give it a real shot when the deadline closes in a bit more in the coming days. If this ends up being too expensive for me, which it very likely will, I'm absolutely open to graduated pearls. I do find the yellow toned pearls in this format are a bit too retro for me but some of the simple whites I've seen would definitely appeal to me, thanks for the suggestion! If I wanted to experiment with different size pearls and lengths would you recommend Edison pearls to keep the price down, or should I stick to traditional fresh water pearls? I'll also expand my search to include gem quality freshwater pearls but I'm having trouble finding some with a comparable luster to a nice quality Akoya. I just love the luster of some of them that I've seen and they really set a standard in my novice mind. Thanks again guys! Off too perusing second hand options I go, haha.
Hey again. So some progress has been made in my search and a few more options have come up that are in my price range which is now comfortably in the Akoya range. I have some more questions that I'm hoping to get an opinion on again.

Firstly, is this an authentic silver vintage Mikimoto clasp? Most I've been able to come across have the "S" stamped around as opposed to being stamped as a negative. It also doesn't appear as crisp as any photo I've seen of more clearly authentic clasps, but can this be simply due to wear? The hollowness of the "hoops" on the underside also seems unique to this clasp.
Authentic vintage Mikimoto clasp
Silver Mikimoto clasp

Secondly, I'm curious of the Hanadama strings you can find on Etsy that apparently come with a certificate. Does anyone here have any experience or opinions on the legitimacy of these pearls? The prices, though high, are relatively cheap for something that comes with a certification.
Hello Rokor, and welcome back. Nice to see you are "researching" and finding the best buy for your gift. As you have written in your own words "the value of a halfway wanted pearl isn't much more than an unwanted one" so it is important that you find the time to make the best selection.
I wish I had experience on Etsy, but I don't so I cannot offer any advice there, but as with ANY REPUTABLE VENDOR, the first thing to do is check for their RETURN POLICY. If the policy does not suit you...best not to tempt luck.

Regarding certificates, there was recently a thread here about a Hanadama purchase and the certificate was all wrong...it would be great if you looked at it to see what this new member came up against. Click here for the story.
So, I would recommend a reputable supplier with great merchandise return policy.

About the silver clasp...the stamp looks very much like the original Mikimoto brand logo. But I do not recall Mikimoto selling silver clasps (doesn't mean they never did) but I am not a Mikimoto brand expert...but I am sure some of our other forum members will be able to share their knowledge her too :)
They did have silver clasps but I am not an expert. on Mikimoto. BWeaves knows a lot about the brand and hopefully she will post.
Keep in mind that even if the clasp is genuine, the pearls might not come from Mikomoto. It is very easy to restring a necklace.

Personally I would not take the chance of buying Hanadama with certificate on Etsy. I would use one of the reputable dealers you'll find on this forum. What I _would_ do, though, if I didn't need the paper work but am after the quality of Hanadama is to contact one of those reputable dealers and ask about a strand in Hanadama quality without certification. I think BWeaves did that and I would think that would cut a bit off the price.

- Karin
Excellent information by both KarinK and Pearl Dreams.
So, even if the clasp is authentic, it may have been obtained from another strand! So, we have a standing doubt here.
And again: VENDOR REPUTATION. If this is your first importante pearl purchase...why not go to the safest route? That last thing you want is a bad experience.
rokor, I saw the listing.

The pearls look nice enough and seller has good reviews, but note that
* the seller does not accept returns.
* shipping from the UK is costly.
* it's just under 16" long and based on the number of pearls and the length of the necklace, I calculate the pearls are only 6.5-7.0 mm.
* it really needs to be restrung. Now, you can do that yourself (see tutorials on our lowly beaders Club) but if you will pay someone else to do it, you must factor in the cost.
I'm definitely leaning towards it being an authentic clasp despite the unique silver hallmark, but I await any one elses opinion patiently. But yes Pearl Dreams, you're absolutely right, it desperately needs a restring! This is something I had planned on giving a shot if I went with it, but I have a friend who runs a jewelry shop with his family who I can turn to in case frustration gets the better of me, haha. It does have quite a few negatives, particularly the return policy, but the positive is I'm big on sustainability and something of this vintage would be a benefit. I have a lot to think over but I've been busy since first posting, learning more about the Hanadama certification process and finding a few very budget friendly good quality strands of both Akoya and WSS from reputable sellers with great return policies. I've also contacted Cees to see if he has anything that would fit my criteria, to which I'm still waiting on a response. In the mean time I've settled for a necklace from Ruby Lane that has a Mikimoto Sea Magic gold clasp and 18" 6.5-7mm strand which seemed particularly underpriced, possible because the seller knew it was strung with different pearls or because the seller didn't recognize the clasp. In either case, it was comfortably affordable and will satisfy me until I've made a decision on which new one to call my own.

Now the pictures weren't particularly great, but some of the close ups of the clasp do a fair job of displaying the luster and colours of the pearls. I'm eager to hear your opinions on if this is a good buy for a middle of the line quality necklace. If not, I can either return the item or relist it at auction, or even gift it to the person who graciously turned me onto pearls in the first place!

Mikimoto strand

Thank you once again to everyone who has contributed knowledge or opinions during my hunt, I really appreciate it!
Do you have any other photos of the pearls? I love the clasp.

A way to judge a pearl’s quality is by looking at the reflection inside the pearl. The sharper the edges of the reflection, the better.

Given that, you weigh in the other qualities you’re seeking. The color, the size of the pearls, the length...and if the pearls are a fill-in until you get your dream strand, and you say a good price - the only question I’d ask is Would the cost of this intermediate necklace made a big dent in your dream strand fund?

Because the luster on this strand is ok, according to this photo, but not super. Nonetheless, we’ve all enjoyed the heck out of our intermediate strands. I wouldn’t deny that pleasure to anyone.
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Ps I went to ruby lane to see if I could find the necklace and more photos, but lol, have to say my youthful “can do” has gone. Or eyesight. I’m pondering cosmic things like “Is it age, or just getting too used to feeling safe with known vendors, or what! my take-a-chance confidence has taken a hike”.

eta - I see I expressed myself poorly - I quit looking for the necklace because my “unknowns” anxiety was creeping up,

But, I saw a - SOLD 100” necklace - listed as sold, with original unopened package, unworn, vintage 1970s.- I was given that exact setup package (only 100” dyed grey pearls), freshwater, vintage 1990s. That’s when I thought “too Wild West for this old lady, leave it to the young and adventurous”.
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From the photos posted on the page it was quite hard to see the quality, so I just took a bit of a gamble from what little I was able to make of them. Unless they arrive looking completely off of the grainy photos provided I think I'll be happy, but I'm expecting generic middle of the line Mikimoto Sea Magic quality; that is somewhat good luster and roundness with the advertised 18" length and colour represented on the page. I think I have a lot of knowledge, and a standard, to gain from this necklace, which is more than justified in the price. With that being said I could have put the money toward a higher quality Akoya or more affordable South Sea strand but I'm eager to see an Akoya (of any quality)in person and have another option around for daily wear while I keep my more expensive necklace for certain occasions.

Here are some more photos of the suspected Sea Magic purchase.
Mikimoto clasp
Mikimoto strand

Lisa, 100" sounds insane! I'm curious as to how that would be worn, surely double or tripled up to a more manageable length.
Good rationale, rokor! and your gamble is way more likely to pay off than a lot of our early gambles on eBay! I hope it’s more beautiful in person, which it may well be, since pearls are hard to capture in photographs. I’m looking forward to seeing it.

oh yeah, those 100” ropes are tons of fun!!! I wish I remember what year I got mine. I have 2 pink ropes.
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Hi Rokor:

Sorry, I'm a bit late to this party. I'm not sure about that Miki clasp. Also, the pearls don't look that great.

I'm not sure about Sea Magic. I have a strand of Blue Lagoon that belonged to my Aunt Love. This was another of the less expensive Mikimoto brands, and the pearls look amazing, but small (6 mm).

Personally, I've been thrilled with the Hanadamas with certificates I bought from Pearl Paradise.
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I'll definitely post some higher resolution photos once it arrives, hopefully tomorrow or early next week. I've also decided I'd like to play with lengths longer than 18" but it's difficult finding a quality necklace that fits into my budget after all these potential buys are added up on my mental checklist, I'm sure I can't get away with a 100" though, haha. BWeaves, I've decided to pass on the Mikimoto silver clasp. It just didn't speak to me in the same way some of these Tennyo's or WSS strands are starting to and it was a restoration project at the very least. Maybe if the pearls were more of what I've come to expect from Mikimoto I would jump at it but they don't seem to have been well taken care of if they ever started life in such a condition. I'm currently awaiting some more WSS options from someone via email and in the mean time I'm bidding on a larger sized Akoya, and contemplating a 8mm-11mm WSS necklace that's quite close to my preferred colour and quality. If all things go as planned I should own 3 very different relatively high quality strands by the end of next week! From that point I will begin to compare and sus out what aspects of each I dislike and enjoy the most and I should be able to come up with my ideal necklace from there.
My first Akoya necklace arrived, finally. Here are some photos.


It wears quite neatly against my collared shirts and quality is far beyond what I’m used to. I’m now waiting for a WSSP necklace from Cees in a larger size, I’m quite excited to compare the quality between these two and another WSSP necklace I found on eBay. From pictures alone the strand from Cees takes the cake, but the eBay strand is a 12-15mm strand so size wise it will be the largest. Next is going to be a slightly larger 20” or 22” Akoya that should sit nearer my collar bones when worn with dress shirts. I quite like the way this current Akoya strand sits when wearing more casually with tees though. I appreciate the opinions and help I’ve gotten so far from everyone here, it’s really been an informative experience.

EDIT: I apologize for the photos coming out sideways, unfortunately it seems the site does this automatically when uploading directly from my phone. Future photos will be from my camera and uploaded via computer.
What’s your secret, how do you keep the necklace stationary as you move about? You’ve got it positioned just so, that’s why I’m asking.