Vintage Akoya?


Natural Pearl Lover
Oct 11, 2012
So I just got this in the mail today, purchased from eBay. It was a risk because it was one of those it's so cheap it's too good to be true sort of things. But I purchased it mainly for the clasp which was advertised as white gold with diamonds; after asking the seller if it was marked or acid test did I receive a reply of that had acid tested at 14 but could be 16ct. There are no hallmarks present on the clasp or safety chain. So I'll have to get the diamonds tested soon. But I believe the pearls are vintage Akoya, they are a cream color with a strong green orient to them. There are some bumpy areas which I guess could be thickened nacre. My point-and-shoot is packed away somewhere so all I have right now are phone photos which are not the best. Based on the clasp style I believe this necklace is from the 1940s.

What do you all think? Are these vintage Akoya? Did I get a deal? Or could this be a really good fake?
Will break out the calipers and ruler later, but it's a long necklace like 26 inches and the center pearl has to be around 8 mm.

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I can't really comment on whether or not the pearls are fake, but they do look like they could be Akoya. That clasp, whether gold or costume, is outstanding! I am a real sucker for a baguette cut stone, and you have some great and unusual cuts on that one. Do you have a loupe? Or a microscope you can use to view the diamonds?
You didn't say how much you paid.........???
Anyway, I think it looks like an akoya mildly baroque necklace, a nice one at that. The bumps and uneven surface are called "growth characteristics" and you describe what seem to be akoya growth characteristics. If the carat is not marked on the clasp, it could be "paste" - which hardly matters to the looks, though it will contribute to the value. If you didn't pay for a real clasp. it probably isn't one - we are talking about Ebay after all- But, those older clasps even when faux, are beautiful.

I think you did well, no matter what you paid, but just curious........
Caitlin, thank you for the assessment! I paid just over $300 for it, which is big money for me but not comparatively to other similar necklaces I've seen. These are my first Akoya, so I don't have much experience with their characteristics. Should be good study material though!
OK, I'm totally guessing, but it looks more Art Deco to me (1920-30s) than Retro (1940-50s). I say that because of the length of the strand and the look of the clasp. Either way, I think you bought a lovely necklace.
BWeaves, I actually thought late deco, not really retro style. I think we've got similar thoughts here!

I found a very small hallmark on the tongue of the box clasp. A little bit of online sluething showed it to be a french hallmark for 18kt gold. The eagle head mark on the clasp looked just like below. I could not get a good photo through the loupe.
french 18kt eagle head hallmark.jpg

I acid tested both parts of the clasp and they did not test for silver (no color change). Gold dissolved at 14 and 18kt albeit slowly. Very slow dissolve for platinum. So, I'm not sure. I'm going to take it to a jeweler for confirmation.

The stones are a bit dirty, so at this point I would just rather have a jeweler test with a refractometer or whatever the tool is called.

I think the pearls are not fake and they are pretty nice, so maybe I did get a score here.
What I do know is that those acids gave me a hellacious headache! Figured windows open would be enough ventilation. NOPE.
These are really beautiful and it sounds like you got a great deal! They look like soap bubbles, especially in that first pic. I'm looking forward to hearing what the jeweler says re the metal and stones in the clasp. And if it ends up being paste, it's still lovely.
Diamonds have very sharp facet junctions. If they are worn, they may not be diamonds. :)
Thanks BN! Do you think even if the clasp is glass or paste that I did not over pay for the pearls?

I don't think you overpaid. I'm not an expert but they seem to be genuine akoya and if they're old, the nacre's likely thicker than what you'd find on akoya today.
Whew okay, that's reassuring! Thank guys, for all the feedback; this is the first vintage cultured pearl necklace I've ever purchased, so I'm really glad I did pretty okay :) I'm dying to get the clasp mystery resolved, hopefully tomorrow. If the stones aren't diamonds, but the metal is gold I'll probably still use it for my next pipi project. And I am definitely going to restring the pearls!