My Natural Pearl Collection


Natural Pearl Lover
Oct 11, 2012
Hi! This is my first post here; I love natural pearls and collecting antique jewelry. A lot of my pieces are inherited and I'm not really sure what they're worth, but I do know that they are all natural pearls. I'd like to get an idea for insurance purposes and getting written appraisals isn't in my budget at the moment (grad student, lol). I was hoping some of you guys could give me an idea of how much this stuff may be worth :eek: Thanks so much and happy pearling!

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While you have some choice pieces and I agree they are natural pearls, and lovely pieces, I don't think we can value them, here. But let's see what others say. Are those diamonds in that ring?
Welcome, madsciencechik,

What a delightful collection! We love seeing pieces like these. I agree with Caitlin; there is no way for us to give an accurate value. You might check some sites that sell vintage jewelry, such as ebay and Ruby Lane for comparables. The quality of gemstones, and what the metal is will make a difference in the value.

Best wishes with your schooling!
An amazing collection.... you really do need a qualified valuer though to assist you. Take any paperwork you have on the pieces. They really are special!
i am a qualified valuer the only thing with pearls is there is no set value

if we know the weight of the gold the brands ( if there ) the country made and size of stones set next to the pearls there are a few here who can do a estimate

the diamond ring in the last picture also seems to have quite a size diamond in there another interesting one is the pendant with two blue stones any idea what this stone is ?

at the moment some auction bring high prices for natural pearls and some don't thats also the hardest thing, my grandmother works for auction houses and insurance company's doing estimates i do this for some jewelry stores and at the moment there are (specially in europe ) thousands of jewellery pieces being sold for just material value so gold weight diamond weight and a little for the pearls

if you have all the weight sizes and maybe stamps i'm sure some here will do our best to try to value some of them ( its always a guess )
Thank you guys for the responses!

I would love to have my collection properly valuated and that is definitely in the plans for the future when I'm out of school and gainfully employed.
Some of the pieces are marked, some aren't, and I have paperwork for some of them too. I've been doing google searches for similar items to get an idea of value, but some of the items (like the arts and crafts pendant) have been near impossible to find similar items for and it seems like a lot of the value comes when you can attribute a piece to a particular maker. Without hallmarks that becomes pretty much impossible. I've contacted a few auction houses that are frequently on Antiques Roadshow, but haven't gotten any numbers. Right now I'm just looking to get an idea of value for my renters insurance. If any members who'd like to valuate for a broke grad student, I'd be really appreciative! Just message me and we can chat on the details of each piece :)
Oh, the diamond in that ring is an old mine cut, over half a carat, G-H color and VVS1 clarity - it's one of my faves because the pearl is this subtle shade of bluish grey...
Thanks again everyone, this makes my day!
Beautiful pieces you've got there! I love the earrings with the white pearls inlaid in yellow gold. I do hope you can get a qualified valuer to help you. :)

I love the earrings also, especially viewing them enlarged!
What stones are in the wire-cage drop earrings?
It's really amazing that a poor grad student has amassed such a terrific collection. :) To get the jewelry onto your insurance, you'll need appraisals because they have the measurements, weights, karatage and qualities needed to replace the jewelry. To do that, someone has to examine them in person. In any case, if you had a loss, they would be replaced with equivalent pieces that might not be similar. Also, in a general policy, there is a limit, usually around $1500 dollars US on jewelry unless you add a rider to your insurance. It might make more sense to have a safe-deposit box or to install a small hidden safe where you live.

It can't hurt to call the insurance agency and ask questions about coverage and what is required.
Ha, I know it seems really absurd to have so much jewelry! I've been really blessed to have been able to inherit a wonderful collection from my grandmother and to have a dad who believed in investing in gold when I was a kid. :) My grandmother used to travel a lot when she was still with us and she would pick up a piece of jewelry to commemorate her travels, usually something iconic of where she was visiting. I loved hearing all the stories behind the pieces and the adventures she had! I've carried on that tradition, though I certainly can't afford the quality she was able to purchase.

GemGeek: I had no idea there's a cap on how much a regular policy covers on jewelry. I always thought that renters insurance was just a cover-all for valuables inside a rental property. I do have a small safe here at home, but I think maybe getting a bank deposit box would be smart for the more valuable items. I've shopped around all the local reputable antique jewelry dealers and the quote I got for written appraisals ranged from 75 to 100 bucks per piece. Who can afford that?! Considering that kind of cost, a safe deposit box will likely be the way I go for the foreseeable future.

It'd still be nice to get some kind of rough idea of value for my own knowledge and notes. Google searches will continue and if I find anything else out I'll definitely post the info here!
It's not absurd - it's delightful! Your best bet for values is to look for comparables. That will take some time. You can get a better price on the appraisals if you did them as a group, but it's still going to be expensive. Trust me, the insurance company wants proof of ownership and all the details, not just a dollar amount. If you store them away in a safe deposit box, put a slightly open baggie with a wet piece of sponge in with the jewelry to provide a little humidity. Someone in your family may already have a safe deposit box with extra space.
Your collection is extraordinary. A delightful mix of natural seed, button, baroque and round pearls mounted in Victorian or folk art pieces. Solitaire, clustered and mixed with other precious or semi-precious gems. I'm also presuming a mix of fresh and salt water origins.

I agree with the previous posters on evaluation. Irrespective of a dollar figure, it's really important to factor in replacement. While substitution is an option, replication isn't for most of these pieces, afterall natural pearls and their settings are often one of a kind offerings. This qualifies them as antiquities and as Blaire suggested, requires a special rider from your insurance company. Likewise, she suggested it's very costly to produce the documentation.

You are grad student on a budget... perfect! I'm certain you are both frugal and information resourceful. Here is what I suggest you do in the interim. Start with a photographic array. A high quality portfolio. Use a high quality camera, lightbox and macro mode. Place each piece individually on lined graph paper of known dimensions. Take shots of the front, back and all sides in full frame. Obtain clear photos of any hallmarks and manufacturing details such as solder joints, split rings, carvings or castings. Leave no stone unturned (no pun intended) when it comes to clearly depicting every pearl or gem in these settings. This is important, because replacement may only involve a single pearl from a single piece, as opposed to total loss.

Natural pearls hold up much better than cultured pearls in safety deposit boxes over time. They are less likely to crack, peel or dry out because of their thickness and structure. I've been storing them since the early eighties and have experienced no significant changes.

Next, you would do well to research the origin of these to the best of your family's knowledge and history. Without sounding like one of your professors, you need to write an essay in great detail, outlining the motives, inspirations and sources for your parentage's history aquiring this collection. Timelines, conferences, expeditions etc. undertaken by your folks might contribute details to your research. Factually presented, this would greatly assist your underwriter in a premium assessment.

Lastly, detail species and origin. Without beholding these pieces through my loupe, I am assuming several of the pieces to be British Indian in origin, likely with Gulf or Indonesian pearls and some from American freshwater mussels.

Your collection is terrific and I thank you for sharing it with us.
Hi Dave,

Thank you for the overview, I truly appreciate your candor and thoughtfulness.
I have actually been doing a preliminary gathering of information for a while now, though since being mostly consumed with thesis writing and editing it's been a very slow process. I do have a quick and dirty photography of my entire jewelry collection as well as an excel file with brief descriptions and a value guesstimate based on values I've seen online and the current value of gold.

I graduate in December (hopefully) and after that will have much more time on my hands for undertaking a project such as you've outlined. Of course, I'd be more than happy to post updates once I've actually started into the meat of the work. I think the most difficult thing to find out will be the species of the pearls without getting a GIA certificate. The rest of the information will be a matter of writing everything down that I know, taking measurements and photos. Should be really fun to do it for the entire collection, and at over 100 pieces will be a nice long project! Maybe I'll have the entire portfolio bound in the end, that would be pretty cool :cool:

I'd like to share one quick story about a non-pearl ring: a few years before passing, my Nonna decided she wanted to disperse her jewelry to all of the female grandchildren (there are 4 of us). She gave to each of us one piece of jewelry that reminded her of us individually. To my one cousin she gave a beautiful art deco white gold, diamond, and aquamarine ring, so absolutely beautiful just like my cousin's loving personality. To my other cousin she gave a trio of gold bands from Sicily (where the family is from) that were interconnected to each other and of different colors, exemplifying my cousin's open-mindedness and loyalty to our heritage. To my younger sister she gave a pair of retro yellow gold and blue topaz earrings that glowed like my sisters beauty. I really had no idea what my Nonna was going to leave to me, and when she pulled out this ring I never saw before I was surprised. Unlike the pieces she gave the other grandchildren, I never once saw her wear that ring! When I asked her about the ring, she told me she picked it out especially for me because she knew that I would be the only one who would appreciate it. It is not a ring you could wear in the everyday and it takes a particular type of person to be able to rock it without looking silly. Nonna told me that my Nonno gifted her with it for an anniversary and he called it her "pope ring". When she told me this she mimed putting out her hand with the ring on it to be kissed! She was a hysterical woman with a subtly dark sense of humor. She told me that since I loved jewelry, and she knew that I am weird enough to wear such a ring in my daily life, that it belonged with me. I don't get much opportunity to wear it these days, but I like to look at it once in a while and remember her and our wonderful relationship. Thank you all for letting me share this story with you (and a pic of the ring too)!

View attachment 19024

Thanks again for all the advice, I'm excited to put it to good use!
I think the most difficult thing to find out will be the species of the pearls without getting a GIA certificate. The rest of the information will be a matter of writing everything down that I know, taking measurements and photos. Should be really fun to do it for the entire collection, and at over 100 pieces will be a nice long project! Maybe I'll have the entire portfolio bound in the end, that would be pretty cool

This collection is consists of multiple pieces of various species and designs, all pearls presenting as natural.

Many of the thought-to-be natural sets posted here on P-G have concerns, but these certainly impress. Hence as to provenance, this lot stands by virtue of itself.

Your grandmother had a wonderful eye and vicarious gift. Even without the pearls, my estimate would be... priceless. :)
here's the pic opened for me when I attached it the first time, so hopefully it will work now.


"Your grandmother had a wonderful eye and vicarious gift." Thanks, Dave! I'll take that a complement onto myself as well since some of those pieces were acquired by me :D
here's the pic opened for me when I attached it the first time, so hopefully it will work now.

View attachment 19027

"Your grandmother had a wonderful eye and vicarious gift." Thanks, Dave! I'll take that a complement onto myself as well since some of those pieces were acquired by me :D

Oh my what is it? to much doubling for citrine or topaz I think. Zircon? tourmaline? Then again maybe imperial topaz.