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A visit to Mikimoto NYC... And musings...

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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F7DA9965-D056-4645-BBB1-5C28F583ECEF.jpeg 813906FB-8F9F-48DF-9F1C-CDDDF77E25FD.jpeg

Didn’t really understand their appeal until I saw some really nice ones at a HK show a few years ago. Dug up some pics that I thought you ladies may appreciate

Oh. Goodness. Those are lovely @icy_jade. And I’m surprised!! The few I saw at Miki really did nothing for me. They looked like coral. But some of those sets in your pic - this set especially -
8B66A672-1F4B-4AD6-9D6D-23B91AA1C7BF.jpeg
Mmmm. I’d take those. I think.

I like the earrings @lissyflo posted too. The Miki set - they were all the same colour, perfectly matched except that the ring showed more flame than the other pieces. But in these pics - I do prefer the mismatched sets.

Is there a particular colour or shade that’s most desirable - a “trade ideal”? And does white conch also show the flame effect?
 

LLJsmom

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Oct 24, 2012
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11,020
Sooooo.

Anyone care to guess what was left at the side entrance between the screen and the door?

Thank goodness the other half thought to look :errrr: And before I checked the tracking again - lucky save from guaranteed panic!!

I have to be up at six tomorrow so no time to play tonight ;( Tomorrow will be pearlapalooza out here :bigsmile:

3D7741B4-B6BE-43E6-ACB1-C9DDE79F1925.jpeg

Makes me wanna punch fedex in the face...

But that would be bad b/c they would never deliver to me any more...
 

icy_jade

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
4,167
Oh. Goodness. Those are lovely @icy_jade. And I’m surprised!! The few I saw at Miki really did nothing for me. They looked like coral. But some of those sets in your pic - this set especially -
8B66A672-1F4B-4AD6-9D6D-23B91AA1C7BF.jpeg
Mmmm. I’d take those. I think.

I like the earrings @lissyflo posted too. The Miki set - they were all the same colour, perfectly matched except that the ring showed more flame than the other pieces. But in these pics - I do prefer the mismatched sets.

Is there a particular colour or shade that’s most desirable - a “trade ideal”? And does white conch also show the flame effect?

Pink, intense pink with beautiful flame patterns is trade ideal. The ones with good flame patterns are really quite pleasing to see. The plain ones with no flame pattern are much less valuable.

And yes it’s possible to have white conch with flames too.

I was briefly interested in conch and melo pearls a few years ago but their colors fade from exposure to sunlight and is a turn off for me (since I live in sunny Singapore!). Also, there are some treatments that can damage conch pearls so you need to be careful when you buy. Recall reading a GIA article a few years ago on that.

This article gives some foundational knowledge and pretty pics:


And for melo someone asked GIA about it a few years ago:
If you google, their history and link to the former Burmese royalty is quite interesting.

And some conch pearls for sale here:
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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@icy_jade Thanks for those links! I'll give them a read tomorrow. So Mikimoto's conch specimens were a trade ideal sort of colour. Well, I guess that was a safe supposition from the start :bigsmile:

I wouldn't have guess the colour would fade, but... An organic material reacting to UV over time isn't entirely surprising... I've seen UV blamed (in part) for yellowing of akoya, too. On the upside - your pearls won't ever suffer from overly dry air in Singapore!! :mrgreen:
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Messages
22,061
I have SO many photos to sort through!! A few of the first ones -


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These are the standard earring backs. They're much too small for pearls of this size - I'll be using my own jumbo backs!
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Messages
22,061
And a couple followups to the in-store comparisons.

The pearls labelled again for reference -
7.4 = 7-7.5mm "gem" quality, my estimation is Mikimoto AAA equivalent
9.4 = Mikimoto 9.25 AAA
9.7 = 9.5-10mm "gem" quality, my estimation is Mikimoto A+ equivalent

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The two bigger pairs in sunlight. The 9.4 pearls do have stronger pink overtone, which happens to be my personal preference, but both have very pretty colouring and both are spotlight matched (the harshest and most critical lighting for akoya!) in both body and overtone. I could easily see someone else preferring the less pink pair.

SUNLIGHT_COMP_1.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Same pearls in the shade... And Matilda's 7.4mm came out to play as well.

This lineup is actually really interesting. It shows off something that I've definitely seen in-person but have never gotten photos of - unexpected upsides of taking hundreds of pics from almost the same angle :bigsmile: All these photos are wholly unedited (besides cropping). The pics were all taken in the same place - beside an open window late afternoon, with two very low-power strobes for a little extra additional light.

In the leftmost pic the difference in luster and contrastiness between the 9.7 and the 9.4 is negligible. Barely noticeable - you can see it, if you look closely, but it certainly doesn't jump out at you. As you go from left to right the difference between the two pairs becomes clearer - and when you get to the trio on the right the disparity isn't "barely noticeable" anymore, it's quite obvious!

The thing is. These pics are all true. The only thing that changed between photos was where I docked the strobes - and you can tell from the photos that (aside from lefty) the lighting really didn't change in any meaningful way. These pearls really do look like this!! So... I can take photos of a Mikimoto A+ equivalent that make it look almost indistinguishable from Mikimoto AAA. But I can also take photos of that Mikimoto A+ equivalent that show it to be substantively inferior. The little 7.4 pair, the Mikimoto AAA equivalent, those look consistently fantastic no matter what the camera does.

SUNLIGHT_COMP_2.png

Consistency... Because pearls weren't complicated enough :lol:
 
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icy_jade

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
4,167
If you google, their history and link to the former Burmese royalty is quite interesting.
Oops! It should be former Vietnam royalty.

@icy_jade Thanks for those links! I'll give them a read tomorrow. So Mikimoto's conch specimens were a trade ideal sort of colour. Well, I guess that was a safe supposition from the start :bigsmile:

I wouldn't have guess the colour would fade, but... An organic material reacting to UV over time isn't entirely surprising... I've seen UV blamed (in part) for yellowing of akoya, too. On the upside - your pearls won't ever suffer from overly dry air in Singapore!! :mrgreen:

Guess it’s like how seashells can fade/look bleached after being out in the sun for a while. Suppose you can just wear the pearls at night but it just doesn’t make sense to me so no to pearls or any gemstone that will color fade...

A bit more to read if you want:





And just to ogle at the collection of melo pearls


Do wonder if the pearls used to have more vivid orange colors?
 

icy_jade

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
4,167
SUNLIGHT_COMP_2.png

Wow this is fascinating!

They are so beautiful. Fabulous mirror luster on your Miki studs!
 

LLJsmom

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
11,020
I have SO many photos to sort through!! A few of the first ones -


OPEN_1.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

OPEN_2.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

OPEN_3.png

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OPEN_5.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

HEAD_2 copy.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

OPEN_6.png

These are the standard earring backs. They're much too small for pearls of this size - I'll be using my own jumbo backs!

I love the pink overtone in this pic.
 

LLJsmom

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
11,020
I have SO many photos to sort through!! A few of the first ones -


OPEN_1.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

OPEN_2.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

OPEN_3.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

OPEN_5.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

HEAD_2 copy.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

OPEN_6.png

These are the standard earring backs. They're much too small for pearls of this size - I'll be using my own jumbo backs!

Love how they tied the ribbon with the words perpendicular to the box.
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
22,061
Morning all!!

Woke up to a few emails about this thread - and I think it’s worth reiterating something here:
All these pearls are gorgeous!! The Miki AAA/equivalent are cream of the crop. The Miki A+ equivalent - A+ is what Miki uses in their akoya designs!! There are no bad pearls featured in this thread!!


Are the 9.7s Ten-nyo?

The 9.7 pair has a Hanadama cert from PSL, so these are technically Hanadama pearls. I asked my vendor to send it in for me after I bought the pearls, whilst they were still in Japan. They weren’t purchased with a report though - they wouldn’t ever have been what I’ve been calling “pre-certed Hanadama for Western markets” (I’ll be blunt: Too big, too high-quality, and too high a pricepoint).

We could have requested the Ten-nyo cert and they certainly would have earned the Ten-nyo designation. I’m honestly very confident that pretty much any Mikimoto A+ pearls would. But there’s no English Ten-nyo report, and the wait time was much longer, and all I really wanted was the Aurora pic and nacre eval ::)

So - they could have been Ten-nyo, but no, they’re not.


Who would you recommend for akoya?

Vague PITA response cause that’s honestly all I’ve got. Comes down to knowing what you want, and trusting your vendor, and being realistic with regard to pricing. If you want excellence then you’re going to pay for it - one-off steals do happen but in general if two products are both called the same thing but one costs 3x - there’s probably a reason, right? That goes for something as simple as comparing Hanadama strands between vendors too. Mikimoto’s premiums aren’t outrageous by any means, definitely worth considering for staple purchases like studs.

As an American pearl buyer - it’s been really hard to figure out what “excellence” means to me. How much am I willing to compromise? But let’s also be real, I’m kind of an exception even on a forum full of nitpickers. I’m one of maybe five people in the world who has sent pearls to both PSL and GIA. Which took a nontrivial amount of money and created a nontrivial amount of headache for Andrew!! Just because I wanted to know what they’d say.

So. My go to vendors are Pearl Paradise and Andrew (@molinePDG on here). They’re certainly not the only good vendors out there. Just that after months/years of buying I have relationships with them, they know me, they know what I like. They’re both very reputable outfits that price fairly for quality. And I’ll def be buying a few more pieces from Mikimoto.

Both the 7.4 and the 9.7 are from Andrew. He’s only vendor I’ve personally bought from whose white akoya can play against Mikimoto’s higher qualities. Only the 9.4 in the last pics are actual Mikimoto pearls (the 8.5 AA from Mikimoto that I posted earlier in this thread went back). I have other akoya studs from other vendors, including certified Hanadama, but I didn’t even bother putting them on the card because they all fall SO short.


Oh. Fun discovery. My calipers - which I triple checked against loose diamonds and GIA dimensions - put my new Miki studs at 9.46mm and 9.47mm. Guys, I hit jackpot on size. :appl:
 
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yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
22,061
Thank you girls!! :love:

I’m still shocked by how l just scored on size here!!! I missed the next size bracket by less than 0.05mm :appl: :bigsmile: :cool2: :love:

No other threads I don’t think. I’m giving up on sorting photos for now, just too many ;( I know most people aren’t going to see these posts - “secret updates”!! :lol:
 

molinePDG

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
129
I hope @yssie will forgive me for borrowing her thread for a moment to post some general pearl information and some of it I hope will prove interesting as a bit of "insider info."

First, a plea to those who may see this thread: Please be nice human beings. I woke up today to more-than-a-couple messages on my own email/Instagram telling me that I was selling bad pearls, had tricked customers, or misrepresented quality, and one particularly nasty one that I won't repeat here. And using this thread as a reference for doing so. That's incredibly not OK first and foremost to Yssie, who is a wonderful person in real life and whom I know takes very unkindly to those who reference PS and use it as an excuse to be mean or unkind. PS is one of my favorite places - it is a digital getaway where I so enjoy seeing all of your incredible pieces, and not even as a vendor. Remember that most of us even joined trade because we have the same passion and love for gems and jewelry as the consumers do here, and that love never leaves us. Please, just be nice.

Next, here is a very-professionally drawn diagram I just made on a sheet of semi crumpled scrap paper.

IMG_8264.jpeg

There are a few points I would like to highlight from this, similar to what was mentioned:

1. There are no bad pearls here (and I mean that to be PS-wide). 99% of the pearls on PS from any vendor here are within the top sections of "all pearls." - there is legitimate junk that comes from any pearl harvest, and what is seen on PS is all the nice stuff.

2. I am continually trying to push the left side of my "might be considered gem" graph more rightwards, and I'm making progress in doing so. It's hard for a few reasons:

-----> a. Comparing pearls is really easy when you have a whole bunch of pearls to do so. A brand like Mikimoto has literally tens of thousands of pearls on hand and they can more easily determine where their "grade lines" will be. I don't have that, and ideally, I would like a "master set" of pearls across all the best luster qualities and all sizes and surfaces. I would love to do this, and am working on doing so. But, it's by no means inexpensive, putting together master sets like this. So, it's hard to "grade" pearls without comparisons to do so. When I get a pair of pearls in (like a custom order, for example), it's tough to assign a grade without a lot of comparisons available to do so. It's not purposefully or greedily assigning a "gem" grade to something that doesn't deserve it, but it serves as an easy way to say that pearls are within the highest class of pearls available.

------> b. All pearl vendors do get some who specifically say they have gone and compared grades at Mikimoto or somewhere, and that's a different buyer than those who want "really really nice pearls." I (nor other vendors) would never call something gem unless one thinks it is deserving of being so, and that's more than just luster all the time -- it's matching, (lack of) blemishes, size rarity, smoothness of texture, true roundness, and so forth. FWIW, I was told pre-COVID at a Mikimoto boutique that A+ would be going away, and existing A+s just simply become AA. Dunno if that is still their plan. But again, I am by no means (thank the heavens) the king of the pearl grade. Anybody who is grading pearls is giving their opinion, vendor or otherwise, and in pearls that are the 1% of 1%, think of it like how GIA grades high karat colorless stones: lots of eyes to double check. And I'm just me, doing everything, but doing my best all the same, which brings me to the next point...

-----> c. As I often lament, there are no standard grades for pearls. Every supplier, wholesaler, vendor has some idea of best, and rarely is that an actual "best."

3. Finally, and most importantly, the worst feeling ever for a vendor (I think, at least) is to have someone left with feeling like they didn't get something that was what they wanted. I don't always know what someone will notice in terms of comparing, nor do I always know when another pair like the 7mm pair that Yssie kindly showed off comes available. But, I do hope that anyone who has worked with me knows and has left feeling like if they did have a concern, they could ask about it and I would do everything to resolve their concern in the best way that I could.

I hope Yssie doesn't mind the slight thread hijack here, but I hoped to stem a few of the emails popping up in my inbox and maybe give a little insight to how pearls and what grade they should be can be considered...

I'll end it with commenting on the shiny new and very lovely studs -- they're awesome! It's not hard at all to believe that there was only one of these pairs available within the global company. They really are that rare.

Enjoy your weekend, all. :)
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I have to run to the vet. More thoughts later.
I’ve bought from almost every vendor we ever hear about on here. There‘s a reason that I used only Andrew’s akoya for comparisons against Mikimoto, not my pearls from any of those other vendors regardless of their certifications: My akoya from Andrew are the only ones that could hold their own and actually *be* useful for comparison.

If you buy from a reputable vendor you’re going to get what you pay for. If you’re expecting a noteworthy discount off whatever your quality target would run from anyone else - you’re just setting yourself up for unhappiness. And reputable vendors will tell you when they can’t do what you want.

Andrew is my friend. It’s disappointing to learn that some PSers are using my words to put a vendor who actually isn’t exaggerating when he says he has top quality pearls on the defensive. That’s not at all what I want people to take away from my thread. I want my thread to inspire daydreams about how delightful Mikimoto is and how awesome pearls are. So please quit.
 
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Daisys and Diamonds

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
10,647
I have SO many photos to sort through!! A few of the first ones -


OPEN_1.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

OPEN_2.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

OPEN_3.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

OPEN_5.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

HEAD_2 copy.png

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

OPEN_6.png

These are the standard earring backs. They're much too small for pearls of this size - I'll be using my own jumbo backs!

exquisite in every way
 

bling_dream19

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
2,619
@yssie your pearls are just gorgeous you my friend! You are the real gem and these Mikimotos compliment you beautifully!
I am thrilled and loving my pearls from you! I am soo very grateful to you passing these along to me. You have the best eye for exquisitness.
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
22,061
HI:

It is too early to drink/toast to your thread, so I'll put my pearl earrings on instead.

Oh and your earrings are sublime.

cheers--Sharon
:appl: :bigsmile::love:
 
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