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Your first pearls - when and how?

Happy Huku

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Joined
Aug 28, 2012
Messages
729
This is a thread I have been wanting to start for a while - I'd love to hear about people's first pearl dream/purchase/gift/love...

What set you off down the path of pearlitis?

Lots of photos please!

My first pearls were a 16"-18" graduated strand (about 3mm to 6mm) with a silver and paste clasp. They were given to me by my Grandmother when I was about 16. She was born in 1910. They were hers and she said she never wore them any more, here take them.
I was thrilled and wore them to bits, all the time, with everything. So much so that the smaller ones slowly died off. The necklace got shorter and shorter every time it was re-strung until it eventually got so short it nearly choked me!
My Aunt took pity on me and gave me the ruby or garnet beads to add to it and so, 30 odd years later, I am still wearing them to bits!

Now, how about yours?

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Pearl Dreams

Pearl Enthusiast
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Sep 24, 2007
Messages
8,941
My first pearls that got me started were cheap little imitations given to me by the Santa I had stood in line to visit. But I did love them!

My first real pearls were a strand of small Biwa pearls given to me by my mother for Christmas, 1980.
 
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dkan 168

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Oct 6, 2008
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1,393
Don't think I have my first ever strand with me anymore, however, it was a little strand of small rice crispy Chinese freshwater pearls with a silver clasp.

DK :)
 

Sea Urchin

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Feb 7, 2012
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1,077
That's a lovely story, Huku. Pearl Dreams, your tourmalines look like candy! I've had the rice krispies and other pearls throughout the years but wasn't especially interested in them. Then a few years ago, for a big anniversary, I decided I needed some good pearls. I got a 36 inch AAA white freshwater strand (8-9mm) and stud earrings, and fell in love with pearls.
 

wild onion

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Joined
Jan 12, 2008
Messages
53
Fun topic! Thanks for starting this thread, Huku! My first pearl, which is still one of my favorite pieces, was a Biwa pendant, given to my mom in the '80s and passed on to me. It's set in sterling silver, and came with a little booklet explaining how, unlike akoyas, these Biwa pearls didn't have a bead inside. I'm sure tons of pieces like mine were made for tourists (in Japan, if you travel someplace, you absolutely must buy whatever the local specialty is, to take back to family and friends), and I even have a matching brooch, but it is a special piece to me. My case of pearlitis started much later, when I moved to Hawaii and discovered Tahitian pearls. :)
 

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lizard

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Nov 5, 2010
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70
These are what I regard as the beginning of my pearlitis syndrome... 10-11mm drop SSP's from Atlas South Sea Pearl.

I'm afraid my addiction started as a share investor who bought shares in ATP on the ASX a decade or so ago. While researching the market for pearls, I came across this forum and became infected... used one of the dividends from ATP to buy these from them with the shareholder 25% discount. (Sold the shares after becoming convinced that they would eventually struggle against Chinese FWP prices and quality).

I still love these pearls and they remain my most expensive purchase! (the right hand pearl is not scratched - it needs a clean, along with the box...)

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Sea Urchin

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Feb 7, 2012
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Ooh, lots of pretties. And so far, all white? Hmmm... Here are mine:

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jshepherd

Natural Pearl
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Jun 22, 2004
Messages
5,686
It was in the winter of 1996. It was a strand of white freshwater pearls from the Hongqiao pearl market in Chong Wen Men, from seller Ju Fen, who I believe still has a booth.
 

Mikeyy

Pearl Diver
Joined
Dec 7, 2006
Messages
1,089
Mine was a nice Rosebud pearl I found in a mussel shell that I dug out of the Illinois River in Peoria about 1969. So long ago that Google was a sound babies made, A Yahoo was a fool, An Apple was something you took the teacher and Twitter was something you did behind a tree. ;)
 

Red

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Apr 8, 2012
Messages
1,732
My first pearls were a 16" strand of baroque akoyas I received as a high school graduation gift from my aunt, who was a buyer for Halle Brothers in Cleveland, Ohio. Both the Halle Brothers department store and my aunt have passed on. Recently, I had my local jeweler add 6 freshwater pearls to make this strand 18" long, and a much more attractive and wearable necklace for me. I think you will agree!

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Daddys Little Pearl

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Jan 6, 2013
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180
Lovely pearls everyone! My first necklace was a typical graduated cultured pearl one, I now know it was quite fine quality, given to me in the sixties as a teenager. Unfortunately in the late seventies in one of my "save the earth anti-materialistic hippie moments" I sold it at my yard sale for fifteen dollars; one of my mom's friends actually bought it and of course said not a word as to its value, I had not a clue. Five years later when i started studying and collecting jewelry, I found out my mistake, and have kicked myself many times for selling it. Oh well, c'est la vie!

Daddys Little Pearl
 

Ramona

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Sep 2, 2008
Messages
472
My first pearls were a strand of (as I realize now) bad quality 6-7mm Chinese freshwater pearls, which were claimed to be high quality akoyas. I bought them on Ebay. My second Ebay buy were pearls from Josh's farm (I am a fast learner), which I bought from Ehret. A strand of keshis and some loose pearls including two killer keshis. I yet have to finish incorporating them into something final.
 

FrenchPearl

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Feb 9, 2013
Messages
155
I was planning to introduce myself as a new comer, so thank you Happy Huku for providing the opportunity in this thread.

I found my first pearl in a Fanny Bay oyster 4 weeks ago, during a nice seafood dinner at home. I?m still not over the memory of chewing on a perfectly round little pearl. There was at first an unpleasant shock about this unexpected hard texture on my molar and the fleeting thought of a gritty piece of shell, then the puzzlement of ?tasting? it so round, like a small ? artificial- marble, followed by awe and delight that it was an actual perfectly round pearl.
For a few minutes, I was in awe of nature and the perfection of this little ball of calcium ? (calcaire).
For a few hours, I felt special and chosen.
From the mate aspect of it, I sensed it had no commercial value, but the emotion around its discovery was priceless.
Sadly a week later, my pearl disappeared from the little bowl I placed it in. My home cleaner came that day, and cleaned the counter below the bowl. The pearl was too small, too round and probably flew away.
I confess I mourned my pearl for a day, and then decided to focus on the search of my second pearl :)
I?m thankful it introduced me to the wonders of the world of pearls and to pearl-guide forums. I got hooked on the ?Nautilus? thread and the rest is history.

Here is the only picture I have - hope it works (it was before I learned about the white background ;-)
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Found in a Fanny Bay (BC) oyster, estimated 0.4 to 0.5 mm, round, mate, non nacreous
Thank you all for the wealth of information and the community spirit on this forum.

Sophie -
 

Caitlin

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Dec 11, 2004
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8,572
I 5 starred this thread. It is a fun idea... and I am loving all the stories.

Welcome French Pearl
I love a good pearl story and though your pearl was found, then lost, and perhaps the most worthless of our pearls in this thread, it beckoned you to the land of pearls. And your story is a sweet literary gem.
 

Nora

Art historian and devout NCN
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Apr 18, 2006
Messages
956
My perlitis started in 1964 when a friend of my grandfather pulled from his pocket a several strands of pearls. I put them through a tooth test, which I learned earlier from my uncle and the rest is history. They were smuggled goods and therefore very cheap.

As they were my first pearls, they received this honor of carrying Douglas's beauty, the famous "Drop Dead" of the Sea of Cortez.

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CLICLASP

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Apr 23, 2006
Messages
1,215
I fell in love with pearls on Geneva flea market, it was in 2004, I think at time of China pearls massively arrived on the market. It was so amazing to see full strands of so nice colors, so big size at such a cheap price, I bought a white one and a pink one and later a drop shaped strands of lavender/pink/white pearls. That was a discovery ! This started my passion fo pearls.
 

CortezPearls

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Aug 26, 2005
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Primer Perla Esferica Mayo 1995 La Bebé.jpg
My story is a bit less traditional than most I guess...I did not have nor did I wear any pearls, and I had seen my mother's pearls (dyed Akoyas) but they did not really catch my eye. But when we started our Pearl Research Program in the early 1990's I had little experience or knowledge on pearls, limited by what we had available in those days: Akoya pearls, Mallorca Imitations and some "rice Krispy" FWPs. That would all change in 1995 when we were able of obtaining our first Cortez Cultured Pearls.

Mind you: these were just experimental pearls with just a 4 month culture period, but this little 5.5 mm bronze colored pearl -which we called "La Beb?" or "Baby"- was the one that made me fall in LOVE with pearls. This particular pearl also has a sad story, because instead of remaining with us in our little "Pearl Museum" was snatched from our hands by a lowly individual...another story that might better be told in my Blog (it is quite long!). Sigh!
 

CortezPearls

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Aug 26, 2005
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2,805
My perlitis started in 1964 when a friend of my grandfather pulled from his pocket a several strands of pearls. I put them through a tooth test, which I learned earlier from my uncle and the rest is history. They were smuggled goods and therefore very cheap.

As they were my first pearls, they received this honor of carrying Douglas's beauty, the famous "Drop Dead" of the Sea of Cortez.

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I LOVE this Pearl...and the combination of the white Akoyas and the rainbow colors of the "Drop Dead Gorgeous Pearl"...the best pearl of that year's harvest.
 

knotty panda

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Apr 11, 2007
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So lovely, Nora!
 

perlmutter

Member
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Aug 22, 2012
Messages
17
I got my first strand in college - pink rice pearls from ebay. Not even sure why I wanted to buy them. Probably something someone said about interview attire. Didn't really get into pearls until my current boss came in wearing a fabulous fw rope. It was ahh-mazing. Started reading and researching pearls after that.
 
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