Natural Pearls, Basra?

Hi Aspan!
I hope you will report back to us when you get an answer from a lab. It would really help educate us all a bit more on what is natural and what isn't, as we get to see few naturals pearls compared to the number of cultured ones we see daily.
Thanks Donzi and Caitlin. It has taken me a few days to respond since we were in transit, but here is an update.

As I write this, we are in Dubai, and expect to meet Mr. Jhaveri (Exim Jewelers) by tomorrow. I already called him up and have set a time to meet at his shop. We will be back in Riyadh next week and I expect to send some sample pearls to the Bahraini Govt. Lab. This lab seems to have faster turn-around time of no more than a week, as compared to the GIA lab in Dubai (who send to its HQ in NY or California for the tests). I have been in touch with both of them and the tests appear comparable at both the labs. Neither could confirm if they could test and document the age of the pearls, however both would carry out tomography (X-Rays etc), report on the molusk & nacre and off-the-record indicate their origin (i.e. Basra or Japan etc).

Stay tuned! Cheers

I wll be in touch with the forum and upate all to learn more of the tests done, its results etc. Will tremendously help our learning process to educate ourselves further.
Yea!!! You're rounding the plate, heading for home! Thank you for your updates, now we'll be holding our breath...
Sounds fantastic Aspan and thank you for the update.
Make sure and pass on my hello's to Mr. Jhaveri. And beware his collection and story behind the Gulf Natural pearls he has is hard to resist. Honestly though you'll struggle to find a warmer more welcoming character than Jayesh and his collection spans almost 80 years so I'd recommend to take your time and enjoy it all.

Do you have any plans to visit the when you are here, I haven't been yet as they are appointment only open from 10am to 3pm. If you PM I can send you the contact details of the curator there as she is extremely helpful but needs 2 days notice before any visit as there is a full detailed tour. I'd recommend bring your pearls there too as would be interesting to get their thoughts on them too.

Best of luck with your trip and please if you need any information when you are here you have my contact details already.

Best wishes
Hi there Aspan we are all sitting here waiting on the edge of seats waiting to hear how your trip with Mr Jhaveri went and what the initial thoughts on your pearls were?

Thanks and best wishes
Hi guys, I first thought that perhaps I will update the forum after I had received a test-report from the lab of my pearls. However given the interest amongst our members, here is an update of my trip to Exim (& Mr. Jhaveri). As correctly pointed out by Donzi, this is a very small store in a hustle bustle Bur-Dubai. Prior to strating by car we were in touch with Mr. Jahveri on how to get there exactly, as well I had the google map with me for directions to his shop. I was in constant touch with him (since that's what he suggested, to call me once we are at each major junction etc). Finally, he said the shop was right in front of the Pinky Restaurant (which was distinguishable with its pink coloured signs). We had originally planned to meet him in the morning, but he preferred the evening timeslot, by which we could spend more time with him (the store opens at around 11am & then is closed from 1:30 to 4:30pm). He reopens just after 4:30 & would be around there almost until midnight. Anyway, talk of his hospitality and gentleness, first things first (can I offer you tea or coffee or fresh fruit juice?), and of course he insists, so we have tea with him. His first Q was how did we hear of him & Exim. So, I mentioned about this forum & Donzi's expeditions. The store has a front-retail section wherein he sells jewelery & on the back side of the store, where Mr. Jayesh sits is his wholsale business in natural pearls.. He then introduced us to his son. I got the impression from his accent that he might have been educated in the west. Anyways, he was also very pleasant. After the introductions and all the pleasantries, well how can I help you? I mentioned about our interest in pearls, especially the natural ones, and I took out 3 sample pearls I had and requested his comments/opinion etc. He of course took out his 10X magnifying glass, gave one of the samples to his son as well for his opinion, checked the weights of each pearl (they were each of about 9 carats, 11mm in size), and after quite some time of checking-out the 3 samples, he hesitatingly said that he suspects that these might be freshwater pearls. He of course was not sure (may be he felt that if he said so, I would be devastsed!). Far from it, I wanted his honest opinion. He then also gave me the magnifying glass & honestly I could not conclude with any side-by-side comparison of my 3 pearls with his natural pearl of about 8mm (he asked me to compare). He then, along with his son - who also examined my 3 pearls for quite some time, concluded that a) based on sheer size of my pearls he had doubts if these were natural, and if the lab tests report that indeed these were natural and sea-water, then perhaps I had hit a jackpot. However, similar to our forum members' first impressions and Mr. Jhaveri's years of experieince in this whoesale pearls trading business, I have got to go with his first impression that my 3 pearls perhpas are freashwater, although he did say they were beatiful. Despite my insistence on him to give me an honest feedback, he seemed reluctant to conclude that my pearls were of freashwater origin. He siad the acid test is the lab report. He then pursuaded me to make use of the Dubai Gem Lab who would do the tests, quite similar to the Bahrain Govt Lab. This Dubai lab is very next to the main Post-Office in Bur-Dubai, and not too far from his shop. Mr. Jhaveri then showed us some fantastic antique jewelery - kind of a necklace with a fabulous natural drop-pearl, surrounded with small (perhaps 0.1 to 0.15mm each) diamonds and a solitary one diamond of about 1c - but not so good a colour (in fact it probably was K colour with yellow tinges). And he said this would be over $40k total, with most of the value being in the natural pearl. He then showed us some south sea (Australian) white pearl necklaces of about 15mm size (18"), with differing prices depending on quality and lustre etc. He also showed us fabulous golden coloured cultured pearls - about 10-12mm size & although lovely, he said these were Indonesian and not of that high quality. His final remarks were: a) good luck with the lab tests & report for my pearls, b) natural pearls industry was back on track & he would give a written guarantee to take back the pearls even after several years at ++ prices, since these would definitely go up in price, c) he would not offer the same price back guarantee for the cultured pearls, and d) he looks forward to future business for pearls deal with us.

Next morning went to the Dubai Lab (where they test all the precious stones (they have a separate counter for each of the four precious stones (Ruby, Sapphire, Emeral & Diamnonds & Pearls of course)). The lab is open from 7:30am to 2:30pm. Mohammed, the technician was very helpful, I had to fill-out forms etc and that it would take about 2-3 weeks for them to issue a lab report. Thing to note is that the lab would not send back to me my pearls by courier or mail - no choice except to collect in person (what a bummer)! My feeling/impression was that this lab is not as sophisticated as the one in Bahrain (just from Mohammed's comments - a) the final charge for the test will be only after they issue the report - why, because the equipment fails many times & the charge would be between 0 to 180 Dhirams (about $45), and b) he said, isn't Bahrain closer to you? - you should have gone there!), c) he also showed me a sample report and while the Dubai lab bases its report on the X-ray tomography, they would not release the X-rays to me (he said it's illegal!!). At best I would find out out the size/shape etc and importantly however, if the pearls are natural or cultured or fake and if they are freashwater or seawater. He said that they might, off-the record, state its origin, if these are found to be natural & seawater pearls.

So, like me hang-in there until Nov 22nd when the lab report is issued, but I am resigned to conclude (subject to this final acid lab-test) that what I have are freshwater pearls! I will hold my tears though for another 2 weeks or so. Hope this update is useful to all of you. Once the report is issued, I might even put a copy on the forum-post for all of our education purposes. I guess the experieince with Exim/Jhaveris was definitely refreshing and absolutely worth the trip (I understand Donzi that you may have placed an order with him? - best wishes!).

Cheers, and keep smiling!
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I'm sorry it's not looking so good as far as your pearls being natural, Aspan. :(
Yeah, but that's life. Well they could still be natural, albeit freashwater. I don't know what that would mean, but would be highly improbable, since natural and freshwater pearls would hardly be so round!!

I have the patience for the next 2 weeks.

It is always hard to tell people they have freshwaters if they bought them as something else.

If they are freshwater, they are definitely not natural. Natural freshwaters just don't come in that kind of match and round. There are few freshwater necklaces at all, let alone round. They are rarely anything near round and usually highly colorful.While there are white river pearls they are usually small and tooth shaped and come in station necklaces more often then full necklaces. Natural freshwaters are a whole other world, and nowadays, a very tiny one.

Because they came from Arabia, I warned you that pearls are not the same in Arabia as on Bahrain and the story could be from the Arabian Nights. That was my caveat, and I now agree you have freshwaters and should send them back. Or keep them for no more than $500 at most, but I wouldn't get them at all, you can get far better freshwaters than those.

And why in the world would one go to Arabia to buy Chinese pearls that can be had in Hong Kong for $100.00? Spend your money on the real deals, even if you can only get a pair of earrings or something. Are you going to Bahrain? There is a much better choice of pearls in Bahrain. And you are absolutely 100% guaranteed they will be gulf natural pearls! The guys in Dubai sound wonderful, but they really don't have much, compared to what else you can find in Bahrain.

Good luck and I am glad you are taking the time to get educated so you won't get taken in by the romantic stories.
Thanks Caitlin. Your suggested plan will be implemented once I have the test report in my hand, and assuming these are confirmed fresh-water pearls, get my "guaranteed" money back.

Cheers and thanks for the forum members' discussions - have learnt a lot & will continue to do so.

Hi Aspan,

I admire the way you share your information even if it might not be what you had hoped. Many would just have kept under cover, but then we would all (including future readers) miss all the useful points. Thank you also for the great narrative of your journey :)

- Karin
Thanks guys for your support. As far as I am concerned, the game is not over yet, so much to learn and grow. Karink, I am a guy who can easily and quickly get over negativities of life. To me it is another learning episode and hopefully can be avoided in future dealings. This is not the first time I may have been burnt, but bottom-line is I am ahead, since god have been generous & whenever I fall, I get up, forget the past & move forward. Overall I have been fortunate. I believe that whatever happens in life - its supposed to happen, our destiny is written somewhere and that's what exactly happens at an appopriate time. If we take this as given, be truthful and honest ourselves, one will be surprised how lucky and fruitful the outcome will be.

Cheers and stay tuned.
IMO your carefulness and great attitude will get you to the best pearls you can afford. This thread is superb among natural pearl threads here and I hope everyone who reads it will give you reputation points. I always want pearls from around the Persian Gulf to be natural, even though I know that is not the case.

This thread is the perfect story of almost everyone who has believed their pearls from grandma were natural, wild grown pearls.

Or believed they have bought wild natural pearls from a romantic source on a far away continent in the Middle East or India,or Bali or the Philippines.

And of too many eBay sellers, who do not pay the price of learning what is a baroque akoya, and what is natural, before they resell their wares. (I know of at least one who has paid a high price for that knowledge and has several good akoyas for sale on their site.)

And I give my sincere congratulations and respect to all who have learned this lesson the hard way. (and maybe I will finally get it right, too.)
Hello there apologies from my absence from this thread but wanted to say a big thank you to Aspan for his detailed and delightful account to Exim jewellers. Now I was wonder what was the final outcome? To be Gulf Naturals or not be...that is the question?
Giving this fascinating thread a bump; even without knowing the results of testing that aspan received, we can write the ending. I believe some of the "romantic" details about these 2 strands were edited out; that they belonged to royalty, etc.

Reading the thread "Borneo Pearls from Sabah,Malaysia" reminded me of this older thread.