Old pearls


May 2, 2022

I’ve posted here before and you lovely people helped me identify and restring my beloved mother in law’s freshwater pearls that she gave me shortly before she passed away last year, and I wear them all the time in her memory.

I’ve now inherited the rest of her jewellery collection. It includes two more pearl necklaces. She comes from a long line of fairly wealthy people. I don’t know any history on them, they were just in her “special” jewellery box which contained other things generally belonging to her mother and grandmothers. She wouldn’t have bought them herself as they aren’t her style, so would likely have been inherited from a mother or grandmother. They would have most likely come from England or Germany as this is where her family are mostly from, but possibly also France.

I just want to double check these aren’t anything special before I go trying to restring them myself again - I’d only want to do that with freshwater ones as I’m not so bothered if I damage any of them!

The first is graduated from about 3mm to about 7. It has a silver clasp marked NKa and 800. The string is very fragile, as I handled it the end snapped and one Pearl came off. The pearls are quite grubby so aren’t at their best but are still pretty, I’m too scared to wipe them down now as it snapped with handling. They are knotted but the knots are so tiny you can hardly tell.

The second they are all about 7mm. It has a silver clasp marked B35. This is a bit more robust. It is also a bit grubby.

The photos are taken on my phone on a very dreary day in the west of Ireland so the light isn’t great! If you need better photos I’ll try again when (if) it’s a bit sunnier!

Thanks so much for any help!

The first one

pearl clasp 800 hallmark
nacre missing around drill hole
pearl showing a crack in the nacre
Vintage clasp on an old pearl strand
Crack in the nacre?
Old pearl strand, broken, in need of a restring

The second one

Old pearl strand
Clasp up close
back of clasp hallmark B35
Curious surface characteristics on old pearls
They appear to be older strands of cultured akoya pearls. They are in decent shape, but not tremendously valuable. The first strand is graduated and strung in the traditional way with the knots only near the ends.
By not terribly valuable are we talking, say, under £50? I’ll restring them myself if so, but don’t feel confident doing it otherwise!
Ah that’s fabulous thank you! I don’t really know if I need like 4 strings of pearls but these are much rainbowier than the freshwater ones so I’m sure I’ll find a time to wear them!
Pearls are looking great in the photos still if they are taken from your phone on a very dull day when light is not great.
I especially liked the first necklace...the shape of most of the pearls is not round, giving them a very "natural pearl necklace" look.
It's a nice heirloom!
Love reading this and the pictures. Great information. I have washed and cleaned a couple sets of family vintage necklaces. It’s amazing the difference a cleaning can do.