Your Opinion Please! First pearls purchase


Community member
Jan 26, 2018
Hi everyone,

I've been a lurker on PG for a few months and have finally created an account to post. A couple of months ago, I saw a picture of Angeline Jolie with her signature large pearls and was absolutely wow-ed! Been lusting after a pair since :p

I've been stalking Pearl Paradise and other sites recommended by users here, but was put off by the shipping and return fees if I don't like the item, additionally customs duties for returned are a pain. So I found an online seller who told me that she imports them from Myanmar (her GSS/WSS pearls). She was pretty serious about her business - registered it, had invoices with her business's name etc - so I took the plunge.

Would love to hear your opinion on them! What grade do you think they are? Did I pay a fair price? etc.

I found her prices comparable to Pearl Paradise's on discount. Other than the grade of the pearls, which I can't judge, PP would have better tested quality assurance, much more variety in colours, but I really wanted to touch and feel them before committing any money. Will have to wait till I get the chance to go to the states to check out PP!


#1 Tahitian Pearls Studs, 12.6mm, Dark Grey with blue-green body

The first pearls I wanted were Tahitian! I prefer the lighter colored strands, with colourful overtones and iridescence. Unfortunately, my seller only carries dark coloured pearls – apparently very few other customers like the light coloured ones – and I settled for these ones.

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As you can see, the other (smaller) pair I was considering seems to have sharper luster, but it a lot darker. Most, if not all of her pearls don’t seem have overtones and iridescence. I would love a two-tone/ colour graduated pearl.

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They are very clean; I can pick out roughly 2 to 3 blemishes per pearl if I scrutinize them, and one of them has a deep blemish near the drill hole.
I went to a fancy jeweller later and approximate that this pair is about at least 1? 2? grades below gem grade?

#2 White South Sea Pearl Pendant, 11.85 x 11.45 mm, Cream White with rose/pink tone?

I was looking through her WSS studs and pendants when this caught my eye! It was A LOT more lustrous than anything else. Irl there’s a very strong pink tone that makes me almost afraid it’s a FWP?

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See it beside the silver-white WSS pendant I was also considering. It’s a shade sharper.

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Reminds me a lot of this PP pendant (with chain) that I was lusting for:

#3 Golden South Sea Pearl Studs, 11.2mm, Light gold

This is the purchase that I’m the least happy with. Irl it’s a lighter colour than the pictures, and there’s a noticeable lack of luster. Additionally these are the most expensive, and the seller used to sell larger ones of higher luster (they are all listed at the same AAA grade though) at incrementally higher prices to this pair (she said prices have gone up in the past few months).



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One of the pearls has very light blemishing, but the other has ~5 moderate to light blemishes.

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I know it can’t really be compared, but looking at posts like this from Greenhills ( ) and the Pearl City Market ( ) make me really really jealous!!!

In general, do also let me know your thoughts on the grades vis-à-vis PP and official standards? I am considering more purchases (sister’s birthday is round the corner).
As for the seller, her business is registered locally and she gave out certificates from AGGL (Asia Glory Gemmological Lab of Myanmar, which says it’s a member of London-based Gem-A). Wrt consumer protection I think I’m pretty well-protected by local laws if the pearls turn out to be of a different type (though it doesn’t seem so)

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Hi pearlbop,
I don't see any photos. Try posting them again.
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Lots of photos now! ;)

This is my philosophy: a bargain is only a bargain if you like what you get.

I would have thought that white pendant was a FWP because of the warmer body color and the strong pink overtone. It is very lustrous!
Thanks Pearl Dreams! Those are south sea right... fingers crossed lol.

If you or any other member (please do chime in guys), have experience with TPO/ PP/ etc pearls, could you please opine on the relative differences in grade and quality?

Reason being that I would like to purchase more and am not sure if I should from the same seller. If I can get some idea on the price-grade offering for comparison, it would be easier to figure out what i'm looking for in future purchases.

Also if anyone has experience purchasing undyed GSS pearls at Greenfields, could you also opine on the prices there? My bf travels to the Philippines for work sometimes and if the difference in value offering is huge, I would rather save my money and accompany him on a trip.

right now i'm guessing, based on the A to AAA standard, that:

Tahitian earrings are ~AA to AA+ but no orient

WSS pendant is AAA/ close to gem quality but slightly off round

GSS earrings are AA (and one may be A because of the multiple blemishes)

Thank you so much :)
I notice that you don't feel entirely confident about this seller. I don't know where you live but doesn't she have the same problem with returns, duty, etc?

I have bought from PP several times. I live in Denmark and feel I need to be very sure when I buy, exactly because of what you say. I pay a lot extra in VAT and duty and can't just return. I am pretty sure that if I did want to return, it is possible for me to get the VAT and duty back, though. Just never have.

On the occasion where I was not happy with the quality of the three Tahitians in a leather bracelet, PP just sent me a new.

I have always felt sure my purchase was the right one (don't buy a lot) and have not needed to return anything. I would suggest asking for more photos, though, in various kinds of light and hold off with the purchases that are really tricky (needed to find a match for a lost earring) until you can see something in person.

With the big US sellers buying in the bulks they do, I find it hard to imagine a small seller can match their prize vs quality. If you live in Europe and want a seller based in Europe, there is Pearlessence (also an active poster here) who travels to Hong Kong to buy her goods.

- Karin
Hi KarinK,

I think she is honest but I don't think she's very established yet, and don't know her own level of expertise, so in the case of say, the WSS pendant, I am wondering whether she herself got a FWP passed off to her by her supplier (though it seems unlikely).

We transacted physically as she imports alot of her stock from myanmar but doesn't live there anymore, hence I was able to snap photos of some of her other pearls that are at the bottom of my first post. She did register her company where we live (not in Europe or US unfortunately) hence I felt comfortable enough to buy 3 pieces from her first; our local B2C protection laws are very strong.

Do you mind posting/ indicating which of your pearls in your album are from PP? I'm trying to figure out what the quality:price difference is between ordering from PP/TPO and from her; I know she's buying in much smaller lots but want to see if it's worth the difference to order from PP instead.

With her she let me look at the pearls once, and then think about it for a few days before going back - don't really have that luxury with PP being outside of the USA

Thank you :)
Hi Pearlbop,

If you look at this thread, , the Tahitians are from Kamoka. The Golden South Sea Pearls, blue Akoya, baroque white Akoya and white Tahitians are all from Pearl Paradise.

What I do is educate myself about the prizes and what I really like, then buy when one of the special sales are on. I understand the advantage of being able to actually see the pearls. Anything I would want is way too expensive in Denmark so that is out of the question for me :) But I had a ring project that had waited 2 years for me to be able to see things in person and an earring project that had waited a year. Finally got those finished when I was in Los Angeles over Christmas.

I have bought from other sellers on the internet, such as Augustus, Pearl House (etsy, two carved pearls) and Pearl Society (ebay, a pair of unset SSP), but only if it was very good deals on single pearls as even their good prices are more than a sale from one of the known US dealers.

- Karin
KarinK your strands are beautiful!!! Really love the GSSPs and your akoyas... will have to save up though! You also have alot of patience. I kind of want everything at once and also have an irrational fear that prices will go up.
Thanks Pearl Dreams, I am checking out his Insta and he has amazing things. He seems to buy from Jewelmer which may be pricey?
Also noticed that one of his posts is of beautiful pearls from Myanmar, so I guess my seller is just not buying in the same range that he is then.

Will ask him about prices.
KarinK your strands are beautiful!!! Really love the GSSPs and your akoyas... will have to save up though! You also have alot of patience. I kind of want everything at once and also have an irrational fear that prices will go up.

Thank you :) But not that much patience. Bought too much in too short a time. But by now I pretty much have what I want to have within my budget. I have seen better blue akoya here as well as GSSP but I would rather have what I can afford (from sales) than wait years and years as it would be for me.

Prices may go up but not as a rule. There are various yearly sales on the websites, including 20% off at times. It is also worth taking your time a bit to discover what you really love. As you can see, I love salt water pearls best and mostly prefer those close to round. What I bought before realizing that feels a bit like a waste of money by now.
- Karin
I cannot tell the difference between a really good edison and a ssp. The T look to be real as do the gssp. I don't know if I'd call some of the pearls a AAA- Is AAA her highest grade? Did you test the gold? The bottom right gssp on the second to the last picture is my favorite.

One thing I would say is that I love Tahitians for their color. If you are not happy with them because of their lack of color, you won't be happy with them tomorrow, or in a year, or ever... which means, you'll probably end up getting another pair and paying more. Get a better colored pearl even if it means more money. Getting better quality means you won't need to shop for another one. I purchased separate pearls for a T strand and I absolutely love it. Thus, I can look at T strands all day and not have a strong urge to get another one since I love mine so much. The ones I usually end up loving are too expensive so I justify not buying them by thinking of my blue strand of Ts. I do, however, have several other types of Ts... circled, tin cup, keshi, etc... it doesn't stop there. :D
That's true... most first purchases of other things as well - luxury bags, shoes - turn out to be a waste when you realize your style is actually different.

I may do what you've done then, and save the big ticket purchases for those sales, now that I've got at least some idea of what T's and SSPs would look like irl. Previously it was a bit hard to approximate - i wanted to go for 13mm studs all the way but now realise that 11mm is about just right for me. Still love those large babies though :p
Hi Amti!

I was trying to find the price points for GSSP haha - to see if I might have "overpaid". She says increasing demand has been driving up prices for Myanmar's GSSPs :(

I completely agree on the GSSP grade - too many fish bites (albeit clustered and thus fairly hidden) to be an AAA or even an AA. I haven't tested the gold but she's been very forthcoming about what's gold and not.
Thought that the WSSP might be an AAA though, because it's eye clean up close and very very lustrous. However it is an off round ... by about 0.4mm

The bottom right GSSP is pretty isn't it! it's approaching the sort of luster and colour that I was hoping to see... but they're just as expensive as the ones I bought though, and they're smaller and drop pearls at that too.

And you're right on the T's - might sell these and just wait for a pair I love. Colour is so confusing on T's though - the presence or lack thereof of an overtone really makes a huge difference!
First - she's probably right about the GSS general they have been increasing.
Second I think all the pearls are pretty - not knowing what you paid it's hard to tell if you have over paid.
Third - as to her pricing. While it's true that large online companies that buy bulk get a better price that those of us who plow through the strands to buy 3 or 4, the small guys have no overhead other than the buying trip. So it wouldn't surprise me at all if smaller people can sell at a much lower price.
fourth - The T's are nice but if you want overtone then don't keep them. Nice pearls with overtone aren't hard to find. As nice as the surface might be I never buy pairs without overtones , while they might be a bit less expensive, to me they look like shiny beads.
Five - In pearls as in most get what you pay for.. if you want AAA or AAAA or whatever scale you are using, you have to pay for them. No one, even at wholesale, gets those pearls cheaply. They can cost thousands wholesale.
Six - WSS can have , highly sought after, pink overtones. I had some 15mm perfect buttons with strong pink overtones last year.
Thanks Katbran, JerseyPearl,

I checked again and converted the prices to USD properly (didn’t do it properly the first time)

Tahitians: ~USD 280
GSS: ~USD 360
WSS pendant: ~ USD 230

Could you tell me what you think would be fair/ normal for these pearls (if you need more photos I can take more)

I’m trying to figure out what grade these are in the first place, as I don’t know what scale my seller is using except that she said there are indeed higher grades than her “AAA”, but she doesn’t stock those

If i can get these pearls roughly graded to the official A to AAA standard, I can at least figure out if I’m willing to pay more for higher grades from other sites

Kat did you post/ dyou still have pictures of your WSS buttons? They sound very nice!
not bad for a first buy! think of them as training wheels, you are still getting to know your style. Do you prefer gssps over whites? Round tahitians over baroques? the sharp luster of akoyas or satiny finish of wssps?

just my lousy 2 cents though: the tahitians looks a bit flat grey. for studs, find something nice, round and with interesting color play. something dark with strong green overtones? or cherries? or go peacock?

If the gssps are too light-colored for you, return them. check first what shade suits you best. I thought I would look badass with Jewelmer's deep gold studs (and i was willing to take the plunge, yes I was that insane!), only to discover that oops... I look better with their lighter 18k shade. Yeah, that kind of realization hits you. :p

Another thing I learned: perfection isn't everything, so don't beat yourself up for not buying top-notch. a lot of PG-ers here have harvest strands, baroque tahitian ropes, that sort of pearls are not exactly AAA levels but are lustrous and beautiful in their own way that suits the owner's style. Personal experience, again, I thought I would go crazy getting myself a tenyo-grade rope. Guess what? That's a little far from my mind now that I have a baroque akoya rope -- it's far from perfect, but it looks awesome for daily wear.
Thanks CrazyMissy!

I checked out your strand, so gorgeous! Also, I barely even noticed the uneven surfaces until I started to look for them when reading your post. It seems like the luster hides alot!
Am starting to realise that going for perfectly round may not be a big deal since it's actually not that noticeable from far off.

How was your experience custom ordering from PP? I notice you're from Singapore too and I've never been able to claim back GST on orders returned, say, from Net A Porter. And if you don't mind disclosing, how much was this strand?