Need Help regarding Mikimoto Pearl Pearls - HELP


Pearl Designer & Collector
Jan 25, 2007
Hi all,

I listed a necklace of Mikimoto pearls (shell on back etc), vintage to some extent but didn't know how old so when asked said I didn't know. I am in no way an expert on Mikis. I feel they are overstated and overpriced etc.

But had a strand I listed and expected because they were Mikis expected to get app. $500 to $600 dollars and possibly more. Oh, this on eBay naturally. I don't think I said anything misleading. Mikis are just by their name - high quality.

Anyway will include some photos but also the Item number on ebay for your inspection and opinion. I have seen better pearls and like I said believe Mikis to be overated. I believe there are many grades of which I do not have a clue. Have heard of Blue Lagoon which I believe are of one of the lowest but that is not written in stone by anymeans. I think they put real gold on some of there best. So by deduction Sterling silver claps must mean that they are not the top quality Mikos.

I really need opinions. Please look and give me your honest opinion on if I have seriously or otherwise given false information. Naturally as a selling I don't run down any item I have to sell but at the same time I try to tell the truth. Look at the bottom where people have asked me questions. The woman that bought these pearls said she bid/won and eventually bought these because of my candid replys. ie. I was asked if they had a shiny (or similar) lustre and I answered that in my opinion they had to me a mellow lustre.

I do think they actually might be quite old but as I didn't know I also stated that in questions and answers and also suggested the buyer took them to a jeweler regarding restringing. As we all know pearls that are worn will stretch the silk thread and that they do need to be re-threaded and if antique or vintage or worn a lot they will get some wear signs on them from natural wear and general knocking about by the wearer.

Anyway, I will leave it up to you. Please do be fair while giving me you honest opinion. Have I been misleading or dishonest in listing these Miki Pearls?? I don't think so but then I am not a Miki lover, a pearl lover yes but... well judge for yourselves and please do let me know all opinions as fast as possible.

Really do need help on this one. I am a bit confused and also am after a couple of emails think the buyer actually intended to double her money rather than restring and wear.

Nearly forgot the eBay number is - 310209697412 .. one other thing the photos are totally the strand she got. I never, ever touch my photos up. Tried it a couple of times to get bad photos to look more like what I was offering and it altered them so just stopped trying and took loads more photos instead until I got photos that showed up items as they were. I never want to mislead.

I couldn't upload the photos as I have to use 2 computers to size and crop and just couldn't find them on my sizing computer my Mac. Must still be there somewhere but can't find them now. I could try and send thru larger photos from my normal PC but doubt they will get thru as way too large.

Really need help here. I have the feeling the buyer wanted to resell, double the price, saw she couldn't and so hence my problems but I just don't know Mikis well enough.

Please I do need help with this. I need to make a decision on what to do about it. Neebies too are welcome to answer. Stop lurking :)

Dawn ID eBay dawncee333
Hi Dawn,

I am reading between the lines that the buyer is not entirely happy with her purchase. She may have gotten caught in a bidding war and bid more than she planned.

1. She is a very experienced shopper on ebay.

2. Your photos certainly give a good indication of the necklace.

3. Just because the clasp is silver shouldn't necessarily mean the pearls are low quality. Although Blue Lagoon are the lower quality Miki's, they are still are in the top percentage of the akoya pearl harvest.

4. I can't see that you have been misleading at all. Is she thinking they aren't Miki's?

5. You didn't indicate they were any specific grade.

6. Were you contacted within the time frame to accept returns?

Good Luck! I know none of us on ebay want negative feedback and do our best to be honest among sooooo many completely deceitful sellers.
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You don't say what the problem is - We assume that the buyer is complaining - but about what? something specific or just a generalised whinge due to regretting the purchase.
Has she complained to ebay - to paypal?
When people buy a Miki with a clasp, that is what they have- a Miki clasp. Unless it's a knock-off. Those things are expensive. There can be no guarantee they are even the original pearls, though they probably are.

As for the pearls, the luster does look a bit diffuse, they are probably old and well worn. The 9mm center pearl is larger than average and the necklace is longer than average. My guess is it originally cost more then the typical 7mm center, but when did Miki offer those? 9mm is huge for an akoya. I wonder how far back in time they were cultured?

I don't know why Mikimoto used so much silver, the few Mikis I have seen have had silver clasps.

Mikis are a subject that needs experts, because of the possibility of fake miki clasps. We have a thread on this subject somewhere and I think it has a picture of a fake clasp. LINK
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Hi pattye, pearlescence, Caitlin and all,

I think is is a very experienced eBayer and from the look and sounds of it she has many Mikimoto strands. The necklace she bought from me is apparently a lower grade than her other Mikis so she is not happy.

My photos show the Mikis I sold exactly as they are because I really don't mess with photos. They are what they are. I put in the listing that the buyer should check with their jeweller about re-stringing and I think my photos show that there is some stretching from being worn. That is only natural.

I was asked how old they were but I really didn't/don't know and said so. I was also asked if they were shiny and said the lustre was more mellow. This in questions and answers.

After she bought she said that as I was candid with my replies and had added so many photos she had bid and bought from me, plus my feedback.

As for the complaint it is more of a general winge. They are not as good as she thought they would be. Not as good as her other Mikis. She said that one pearl is a little oval about 8 from the clasp. I looked and it does look oval. Didn't see that before though. But that is why I say enlarge photos, copy etc and get a good look at them. Ask questions etc. She didn't ask any questions before bidding. Most people don't though. But I also offer to take more photos for people, bigger if possible and would have.

It is a general pain in the neck. She said to make a Second Chance offer to other bidders but after a month (by the time I get them back) I don't feel that is the right thing to. I never have offered Second Chances.

I do believe the clasp is a genuine Miki clasp and think the peals are too. They have obviously been worn a lot in the past hence me saying take them to a jewellers.

I did not say a grade on the Mikis because I don't know how they grade their pearls, I have always thought that they are overpriced and over-rated. Sort of a pearls that have a great snob value :) I am not saying they are not beautiful it is just that a lot of pearls are, just without the Miki name.

I actually have on my eBay site that I only take returns if I have made a mistake or been inaccurate in my listing. Saying that I have & do take returns when someone has nit picked something. Like a pearl not being drilled exactly in the middle or tiny things like that.

Yes, she wants to return them for a full refund etc. They are not up to her standards.

I need to buy calipers because the lady has some and said the centre pearl is 8.67 mm or something like that. I have been using tape measures :) But then I always say sizes app.

I am sure to have left something out that was asked.

What I think is that she saw what she wanted to see & hoped she would be grabbing a bargain and when she found they were not the top quality Mikis she had hoped, but which I don't feel I promised, she wants out of the deal.

I have done this myself. Especially when searching for natural pearls. And you all know I have found some but I also have made mistakes but I don't blame it on the seller because I had hoped I was getting something special and it just wasn't so.

Thanks, Dawn eBay seller - dawncee333
She has made a bad bargain and wants out - why are you letting her? If she really thought she had grounds she would have put in a proper complaint to ebay or paypal. I would ignore her. what is the worst she can do - one bad feedback to which you can respond.
Hi Wendy,

I have told her no and now I am waiting for the :&^# to hit the fan. I hate this. But sometimes one has to stand up, especially in a case like this. We will see what happens. Keep you all posted. I also hate bad feedback. Do everything I can to make sure I do the right thing but I guess there will always someone who feels that they can take advantage of people, whether it be seller or buyer.

Dawn eBay ID dawncee333
First rule of contract law is that the only contracts which reach the courts are the ones where someone has made a bad contract and says to a lawyer 'get me out of this contract'.
If she had anything substantive she would have gone to ebay or paypal.
you may have to ride out one bad feedback.
First rule of contract law is that the only contracts which reach the courts are the ones where someone has made a bad contract and says to a lawyer 'get me out of this contract'.
If she had anything substantive she would have gone to ebay or paypal.
you may have to ride out one bad feedback.

Hi Wendy and all,

Thanks for you support. It was you Wendy that gave me the courage to stand on my digs so to speak. I really believe I represented the Mikis correctly. Didn't say they were AAAA grade or anything like that. Still I think they were rather beautiful and the mellow lustre was very appealing. The more I looked at them the more I liked them. I did think that the lustre showed what I think is called water. But could be wrong on this. Just not a pearl "water" expert I guess. It confuses me. But that is what I thought I was seeing.

But that is why I put so many photos in and ask people to ask for more if needed. I just started to list another antique pearl strand but my photos showed that I had forgetten to clean it - this after 20 or 30 photos. What a pain. Guess I had better hold off on that listing for a couple of days until I have cleaned it properly. Dirty silk is a turn off. :) and it also means the pearls must be dirty even though they look good. Have to do packing Thursday anyway so that will take me ages. I am so bloody pedantic over it. I stress myself out no end over cleaning and packing.

I have dropped the A or AA or AAA from my listings as I go because it really means nothing as has been said here. I guess I was taking the lead on that from other sellers and ages ago thought if I didn't put some kind of A or AAA grading in people would think they were not up to scratch or not as good as what other seller's had listed. But decided to stand on my own totally and just list as I saw each individual piece whether pearls or not. And describe pearls in my own way without gradings that may or may not have any real meaning.

I do expect hell as that lady bought another Kyanite & Pearl necklace too and although she is happy with it, I did measure the biggest bead incorrectly so my size was out by 3 mm or so. Huge bead. Huge and I think must have read the tape measure incorrectly, easy to do actually. So I expect her to give bad feedback on that too as revenge.

But we all have to make a stand sometimes and luckily this kind of things rarely happens and 99.9% people are wrapped in anything I sell.

Haven't heard back from her yet. It is a pity that this has happened, I generally have great relationships with my customers and she actually seemed and probably is a lovely lady.

Thanks all and thanks Wendy,

Dawn eBay ID dawncee333
You do need to get a proper electronic micrometer/caliper, they are pretty reasonable for an amazing bit of kit, because you are leaving yourself open to complaint if you mis-measure.
To take a contrarian point of view - you described the auction as "superb necklace"... "high luster quality, water, orient" ..."wonderful lustre and quality"....
I would expect a high quality pearl necklace from this description.
High quality akoya pearls are not "mellow lustre".
To take a contrarian point of view - you described the auction as "superb necklace"... "high luster quality, water, orient" ..."wonderful lustre and quality"....
I would expect a high quality pearl necklace from this description.
High quality akoya pearls are not "mellow lustre".

I agree with this statement. For one thing, water is not a term in regular use and does not describe this necklace at all. It's a kind of transparency in pearls that have very deep nacre depth. I do see some orient, but it doesn't appear to be evenly distributed and the luster is not as good as your description above. Remember that akoya pearls are known for being like little mirrors when their luster is good.

But, since ebay descriptions are usually a bit over the top, it's not outrageous. It's kind of like the ring with the unknown green stone that was sold as emerald and could have been anything. To protect yourself, you need to be less effusive and more accurate. The photos were very good, though, and your answers were honest. ;)

She should keep the necklace because she could clearly see what she was buying and you should be a little more careful in the future.

I hope you don't mind my feedback. Selling on eBay can be very frustating. ;)
Hi Gemgeek & raj,

No, I don't mind. I tried to describe what I saw but I also took loads of photos - un-tampered with as a photo is supposed be be worth a thousand words and my photos showed the pearls exactly as they are/were. I did think that water was probably what I was seeing but maybe I was wrong about that. To me they are a beautiful necklace. I have seen better or ones I preferred to them but that is only natural. As they are Mikis they have a reputation but I did not try to overstate them but may have. When I said the lustre looked mellow to me anyone who wanted a mirror lustre should have backed off. I tried to be honest.

I cannot control what people bid. Just last night a beautiful Akoya pearl necklace with a gold clasp sold for less than $100 - that is just the way it goes. I honor my part of these transactions, always. I often lose on items I sell at auction.

If a buyer cannot be bothered to use the photos, enlarge, zoom all of which I supply how can they then say that one has a tiny blemish when I clearly took the photo of it. Or should I withhold items that don't sell at my expectations. I don't think so. One must expect buyers to look and ask questions if they are in any doubt and especially if they are thinking of bidding high.

My praise of items is nowhere near what many sellers put in about their pieces. And at 100% totally good feedback I think I have a right to be proud of the pieces I sell and have sold. I am honest and always try to be fair and do follow help for buyers and get many people buy from me privately without protection from eBay or PayPal. That means a lot. Just a few regulars that get me to make up special pieces for them. These customers mean more to me in esteem than any sales I get on eBay.

I do get your point, be very careful on terms used. And buy a pair of calipers :)

Raj, wouldn't you look at the photos of which there are many, enlarge, zoom etc and examine and make up your own mind. Some sellers give lousy photos and say items are beautiful. That does help in my mind. I want to see the item from as many angles as possible. Many sellers will not even bother to send extra photos if asked. Some get angry as if one doesn't have the right to have a good look.

Didn't sell it as an Emerald. It was age of item that was the problem, not the stone. I still have that piece. Said it looked like an Emerald and it really did. I plan to have another gemstone put in it, maybe a spinel or tourmaline.

One seller once had on his site that people bought items from booklets shoved in one's mail box from one photo so he didn't see why he should supply more than that. Now that does stink!!!

Dawn eBay ID dawncee333
Water. Water is clarity or translucency of the nacre. It is an old term used back when the pearls were natural and the nacre was thick. Even a .5 thick nacre is highly unlikely to show water and if it did, what you would see is the bead inside. I am pretty sure I have seen water in some of Dr. Tom's pearls. At least he has a few where you can see right through the edges when held in the air or see the color of the cloth, when laid down. Not only is it only found in natural pearls only, it is only perfect on a round natural pearl. It tends to be horny looking in baroques. Water, especially water that enhances the pearl is a rare entity, even in Tavernier's 17th century world, and he was the only European who had access to the world's finest pearls and the most experience in procuring them.

Water is not a term in general use any more-it just doesn't work for cultured pearls with a bead. This forum is probably where people first heard the word -unless they have read Tavernier. Our excoriated citizen, ZErskine used the word here first. She had read Tavernier and was a bit snotty about any pearls except natural or at least solid nacre pearls. After she used the word, people here started applying it to cultured pearls. So, it became a little demon popping up everywhere in posts.

P-G is the only place that uses the word or perhaps I should say, mis-uses this term.
Thanks Caitlin, that clarifies a lot. It is good to know. Will look up Dr Tom's pearls and see if I can spot what you mean. :)

Thanks, Dawn

eBay seller ID dawncee333
If you haven't gone through his thread in a while, it is totally worth in it terms of seeing natural p.maximas. Look in the date range of Feb/March 2006 Maybe 2007, but it's near the front of his thread. Look for photos where you can see the red cloth through the pearls. They are not really high quality water, but they do show genuine translucency and when you move it a little, sheets of iridescence shoot through the translucent part to the edge. I imagine that a high quality example of water would only occur in a small number of pearls that exhibit any kind of water at all.

Tavernier operated in the Elizabethan era, when there was an incredible flood of pearls coming from the Americas. The world has seen nothing like this outpouring of pearls before or since- needless to say, all major natural pearl sources were wiped out and still have not recovered 400 years later! Witness Cortez pearls struggling to restore pteria sterna and to a far lessor extent, p mazatlanica, to anything like their former numbers. The Bay of Cortez would have been aptly named the "Bay of Pearls", there was such an abundance of the little critters. I weep for this loss.
Water looks something like this:

IMHO the description and photos are equal sources of information.
Photos are important - but for better or worse, there are many factors that can impact the representation of an item in a photo vs reality.
If the description contains more than just factual information then there is always the possibility for a difference of opinion. :)
Can you do a photo on a red background?

Caitlin, this is a pearl from the private collection of Paspaley. I'll probably never get into that room again. I can dream, though! :cool:

The pearl was incredibly transparent and iridescent at the same time.