Would love to ID these inherited pearls!

meliseoz

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Jun 15, 2024
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Hello all, I am so thrilled to have found this forum! I collect antique and vintage jewelry and have recently gotten more into pearls.

I inherited these 2 beautiful strands from my sister in law- the larger one is 1950s or 1960s, belonged to my husband's grandmother. It has 56 pearls, about 7.5mm, knotted, though the knots are slipping into the holes in some of the back pearls. My mother in law thinks it was re-strung with a cheap clasp on the 1980s, I'm inclined to agree. The pearls have a lot of very visible blemishes, a gorgeous almost satin luster and peach/green overtones. They are a bit less yellow than they show in the photos but still a light cream/gold. There are 2 beads showing chipping nacre at the holes, though it just looks like more nacre underneath so I don't know if I'm seeing the nucleus or what. My guess is they're low-grade Akoya pearls but I'd love confirmation!

The second strand I am fairly confident are 6mm, nice creamy white Akoya pearls from the very late 1970s/early 1980s. They were a gift to my mother in law from my father in law, all she knows is that they were "nice." I think the sterling clasp is original, she wouldn't have worn it enough to warrant having it restrung. Both strands pass the grit test, and I have no doubt they're genuine pearls, just not sure what kind.
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Welcome to Pearl Guide!

How nice to inherit pearls-- and they are indeed cultured akoyas. The smaller strand is of average quality, while the larger strand has a lot of surface blemishes so I'd consider it of somewhat lower quality. The yellowing is common with older akoyas.

If you plan to wear them, I recommend restringing them, as old silk becomes weak and can break. Many of us restring our own pearls-- it can be fun, it's not hard, and it saves money not having to pay someone to do it for you. I wrote a tutorial which you may find helpful, with sources for materials:
 
Thank you for your response and for confirming what I suspected! In a world of nearly perfect pearls, I'm rather fond of the terribly blemished ones. I have some experience with beading and knotting so I will give it a go.

Thanks again!
 
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