Please help identify these pearls


Oct 4, 2017
Hi all! First time poster, amateur Pearl lover. Any help identifying some pearls I have collected over the years would be much appreciated. So here goes...
First necklace bought at an estate sale in the UK for 50 pounds. Size about 7mm. Sterling silver clasp. Was told south sea pearls but am skeptical. Tried candling a few, I think they are cultured...?

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Second strand was supposedly bought in Singapore from a jeweller and retailed $600. Sold as south sea pearls but also 7mm in diameter with Sterling silver clasp. 20171004_164231.jpg20171004_164024.jpg20171004_164114.jpg
Hi Buffetm,

I'm sorry but they look to me like low quality cultured akoya pearls. South Sea pearls would be larger, too.
I agree. They look like low quality akoyas. They are definitely not SS. They are way too small.
Thank you for the input!
I must admit I am surprised regarding the second strand. I was told they were purchased from a jeweler in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Singapore and I would have thought that would be a reputable jeweler.

Just out of interest, do akoyas often come in orange? (4th pearl from the top in the picture for the second strand)

Also tips on the candling photos would be great e.g. is the light source strong enough? Overexposed? Or any tips for improvement really.

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I've seen akoyas that look "orange" but they are actually yellow Vietnamese akoyas with a very strong pink overtone.
Pearls can yellow if they are left in a box and not worn. Akoya pearls are usually pinked (dyed faintly pink), so any yellowing on an overly pinked pearl could appear orange. Smoking also can really change the color of pearls to a brownish orange.
Many jewelers do not know pearls.

A very reputable jeweler from whom I have bought a few colored stone items over the years was selling multicolored Tahitian-appearing "shell pearls" (which are imitation) as cultured freshwaters (!) because that's what his supplier told him they were. The owner wasn't in the store that day but I showed his 2 employees how one could tell the pearls were fake, and they told the owner, who returned the items to the supplier.

I highly recommend the following book, newly updated in 2017:
Will read.
I am actually returning the second strand of pearls tomorrow.
Thank you all for the advice!
I'm glad you are able to return them!!

You will find the book very educational. I also suggest buying a jeweler's loupe (Rio Grande carries them) so you can examine pearls close up when buying in person. Also, if buying online, only buy from vendors who have a good return policy.