Seeking some details about this Mikimoto Strand

Nancy

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Joined
Oct 16, 2023
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6
Dear Pearl-Guide Forum Members,

Wow, what an incredible website this is. I am only just starting to learn about pearls. I am a volunteer at a charity shop and my task is sorting and selling the jewellery. We sell more valuable pieces online, so that we can (hopefully) reach a better price and then this benefits our local community.

Anyway ... I digress ... This beautiful strand of pearls arrived in a plastic bag of donated jewellery last week. I recognised the Mikimoto logo immediately and am doing some research but getting rather muddled. My main questions are: 1. Approx. age of pearls and 2. Is there a way to know their grade/quality within the Mikimoto 'heirarchy'. Their sold prices on ebay seem to vary so much!! I will be selling these but do not want to accidentally under-price them. The strand measures 50cm from end to end (including clasp) the largest pearl is just over 7mm. Any assistance from this forum would be greatly appreciated.

Mikimoto clasp reverseMikimoto claspMikimoto in handMikimoto wide
 
Hi Nancy!

My first thought is that they may not be Mikimoto pearls, even if the clasp is (or appears to be) a Mikimoto clasp. Pearls can be restrung with clasps not original to them. Note that in the photo with the necklace in your hand, the pearl on the clasp seems whiter and more lustrous than the rest of the strand.

Now, maybe the necklace is just a bit grimy and will appear more lustrous after a nice bath (in warm water with a bit of mild soap.)
The knots are dirty. Dirty silk is weakened silk. The buyer will need to restring; this lowers the selling price.

I'll be interested in hearing what others with more knowledge of Mikimoto have to say.
 
Oh dear, that would be so disappointing! But, thank you for flagging those issues. I will give it a very careful bath anyway. We were so hoping they were genuine, as it would make a big difference to our homelessness program funding!
 
:) Wet silk is weak silk, so be gentle, and place them on a soft towel to dry after washing them.

They may be genuine Mikimoto, but even if not, they are still genuine akoya pearls.

Also, as to price, why not list as an auction and let buyers decide what they are worth to them? With a reasonable starting bid, of course, based on the "sold" prices of other pearls that look more or less like these.
 
Also, as to age. They may date back to WW II/Korean War era. During that period, it was common for 3-7 mm strands to be sold in Japan. They were called "momme strands" or "3.5 momme" (momme being a unit of weight.) People working in the region, soldiers etc, would buy such strands and bring them home to their sweethearts. The fact that they were graduated reduced the weight (and thus the cost) of the strands.

I have found several such strands in consignment shops, usually underpriced and grimy (which means they were worn and loved). Someone passed away and the heirs don't know what to do with the strands, as they are often in poor shape, so they donate them. They clean up nicely.
 
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Thank you! I will give them a bath, see how they look and take some better photos. :)
 
I look forward to seeing additional photos after their bath! :)
If you have well water, or hard water (as we do) I suggest you use bottled water to wash them. Hard water minerals can combine with soaps to form a scum that is very hard to get off. (And when I say soap, I mean bar soap or liquid soaps like Bronner's. These are true soaps, chemically speaking. Most liquid soaps are actually detergents and do not form scum with hard water.)
 
Here is some useful information about vintage Mikimoto pearls :

It appears to me this strand has been restrung with Griffin silk and knotted between each pearl, giving a rather heavy look. Originally only the few end pearls would have had knots between and double thread would have been used.. The sterling silver (sil) clasp appears original, probably the pearl on the clasp was lost and replaced. As Pearl Dreams mentions, these will clean up nicely. They will likely bring the best price if restrung before selling. I'd estimate the value somewhere in the hundreds.
 
Here is some useful information about vintage Mikimoto pearls :

It appears to me this strand has been restrung with Griffin silk and knotted between each pearl, giving a rather heavy look. Originally only the few end pearls would have had knots between and double thread would have been used.. The sterling silver (sil) clasp appears original, probably the pearl on the clasp was lost and replaced. As Pearl Dreams mentions, these will clean up nicely. They will likely bring the best price if restrung before selling. I'd estimate the value somewhere in the hundreds.
This all makes sense.
All those extra knots explain why the necklace is so long -- 50 cm would be quite long for such a graduated strand. Knots take up space!

Looking again at the photos I can see it looks like Griffin silk cord, which has a twist in it. And replacing the pearl in the clasp would certainly explain the difference in appearance.

If you decide to restring, I suggest you use the Fine thickness of Serafil, which you can find in Pattye's Etsy shop, in a color that matches the pearls when clean. Serafil is synthetic, stronger than silk of that thickness, and very easy to knot with. I restring all my pearls with it.

I would not attempt to polish the clasp in any way. The patina speaks to its age.
 
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Thank you everyone for your assistance. I am truly touched. I don't think I will restring them, but sell them as they are. I have buckets of jewellery to sort and sell (plus a day job) so they will probably just be listed after having a nice gentle bath! It's frustrating not knowing much about their history, but so nice to have the information from you all to help me. Thank you!! I have more donated pearl necklaces to examine, and will do some research on them (and clean them!) then perhaps ask for the pearlybrains trust's advice again!
 
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Dear Pearl-Guide Forum Members,

Wow, what an incredible website this is. I am only just starting to learn about pearls. I am a volunteer at a charity shop and my task is sorting and selling the jewellery. We sell more valuable pieces online, so that we can (hopefully) reach a better price and then this benefits our local community.

Anyway ... I digress ... This beautiful strand of pearls arrived in a plastic bag of donated jewellery last week. I recognised the Mikimoto logo immediately and am doing some research but getting rather muddled. My main questions are: 1. Approx. age of pearls and 2. Is there a way to know their grade/quality within the Mikimoto 'heirarchy'. Their sold prices on ebay seem to vary so much!! I will be selling these but do not want to accidentally under-price them. The strand measures 50cm from end to end (including clasp) the largest pearl is just over 7mm. Any assistance from this forum would be greatly appreciated.
Does not appear authentic
 
Diamonds, why do you say this doesn't appear authentic?
The clasp. The logo. Seems off to me. But I used the word appear due to the fact that I’m not certain, but opinion. May be because I’m use to seeing gold but something still seems off. And what that something is, is not only the clasp but the quality of these pearls do not impress me, might be the direct sunlight?

So with these things taken into consideration I recant my statement of them not seeming authentic.
They very well might be
 
The clasp. The logo. Seems off to me. But I used the word appear due to the fact that I’m not certain, but opinion. May be because I’m use to seeing gold but something still seems off. And what that something is, is not only the clasp but the quality of these pearls do not impress me, might be the direct sunlight?

So with these things taken into consideration I recant my statement of them not seeming authentic.
They very well might be

Hello again, are you please able to elaborate on why the logo and clasp do not look authentic? From what I can see, the clasp looks correct. I have attached some quick images of other pearls being sold as Mikimoto (from various sites) and the logo looks the same to me?

Mikimoto logo example 3mikimoto logo example goldmikimoto logo other examples
 
I kind of spoke out of my first impression. I zoomed in to the logo on both

The SIL on your strand is not as uniform, it looks less uniform than the other but really like I said I’m not into the silver clasps so I could be wrong. Also, this style clasp is not marketed in silver, it is only marketed in gold (THAT I HAVE SEEN)

Very minor inconsistencies. The S is not the same. The M is even different even if just by a hair. Something just seems off.
Take it with a grain of salt.
I am well educated but am not giving an official decree.
 

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The clasp looks authentic to me. The pearls are knotted throughout the strand, whereas early graduated strands were only knotted near the clasp. This would tell me it has been restrung, and so it's possible the clasp did not originate with the pearls.

However, the pearls are akoya, and the style is an older style (3.5 momme graduated) so they pearls are aged. They aren't the finest akoya pearls, but the clasp is also silver and not gold. Mikimoto produced pearls commercially through the 1950s, so they produced all qualities. I personally think it's an original Mikimoto.
 
The clasp looks authentic to me. The pearls are knotted throughout the strand, whereas early graduated strands were only knotted near the clasp. This would tell me it has been restrung, and so it's possible the clasp did not originate with the pearls.

However, the pearls are akoya, and the style is an older style (3.5 momme graduated) so they pearls are aged. They aren't the finest akoya pearls, but the clasp is also silver and not gold. Mikimoto produced pearls commercially through the 1950s, so they produced all qualities. I personally think it's an original Mikimoto.
did they make the bow style clasp in silver? I thought it was only a gold design…. I had to authenticate Louis Vuitton in a passed life, and authenticity is in the details. Look at the differences.
 
There is quite a bit of variation in their hallmark over the years. Older clasps usually show a larger, less defined shell mark, like this one.

A quick Google search does show another bow style in sterling -

It would be really strange for a counterfeiter to create a replica in sterling when the value is in the name not so much the metal type - especially if sterling was never an option.
 
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