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Akoya opinions? I think I need a reality check...

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Calling all Pearlites :)) @amoline I owe you a long response - it’s on its way, I promise :(sad

One Ten-nyo strand. One Hanadama strand. Right page of both certificates attached. Both from reputable vendors, and no concerns re. authenticity of reports or mismatch of strands.

From the Hanadama strands available to me at the time, I deliberately selected the strand with
First priority: Sharpest lustre, and
Second priority: Strongest aurora per the certificate.
I was surprised to find that the strand with thickest nacre was not the strand with sharpest lustre. The strand I chose is 8.5-9mm.

I bought the Ten-nyo blind. It’s also 8.5-9mm. I can return it.

I was honestly expecting the Ten-nyo to blow the regular ol’ Hanadama away. In hindsight, I suppose I’d almost started to picture ball bearings with rainbow soap-bubble orient...

Aside from the fact that the Ten-nyo is much more strongly pinked (which seems like it probably must actually diminish the play of orient colour) they look... Well... Identical in quality. Same lustre to my eyes. Same degree of (very light) blemishing. Same roundness.

All opinions welcomed. Were my expectations just completely unrealistic? Or do I have a particularly awesome Hanadama strand, or a particularly unimpressive Ten-nyo strand? Is it even possible to make any judgments from photos?

I should add that I haven’t seen the Ten-nyo in daylight yet - so I suppose there could be surprises in that lighting context.

I definitely plan to visit Mikimoto when stores reopen! I want to see what I’m missing. I want to experience the undisputed best of the best.

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C3C57F1A-B5C1-436F-9CE0-36709F64679C.jpeg
 
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mrs-b

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@yssie -

A visit to mikimoto is in my future, also. Wanna go together?

Lol...was just thinking about that visit and it made me laugh - you and I are both addicted to 'the best of the best' when it comes to jewelry. Which one of us do you think will be the first to get a mikimoto piece after our visit??

2nd ETA - I can tell you right now - I want a 9mm bracelet with a custom made M2C clasp!

PS Did you fix your oxidase issue? Photos any time soon?
 

yssie

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@mrs-b Let’s trek out together when this is all over. We are (SO) long overdue for our meet & greet!

I’d say we have a long way to go to reach the best of the best though - https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/otherworldy-akoya.251775/ (and there’s a longer thread on the Other Forum with followup and lots more photos :love: )


1) If you can talk Walt into making you a clasp kindly have him make two whilst he’s at it and I’ll beg/borrow/thieve the other :bigsmile:
2) Yeah... sort of. The stuff Neil recommended is potent - turned the whole thing black in about two minutes! I polished some of it off and waxed, but I’m not thrilled with it still - going to soak the wax off and give it another rub tomorrow. Work in progress...
 
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amoline

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Hey yssie :) It's nice to hear from you. No worries on the reply -- looking forward to receiving your email, either way! :)

You are correct that nacre thickness does not necessarily correlate to high luster, and vice versa, but rather that high quality and sharp luster pearls tend to have a thicker nacre than others. The reverse is true -- pearls with thick nacre tend to have a higher luster. But it's not a directly correlative scale. At the top gem ranges, it's true that the most lustrous pearls have a very thick nacre.

In many ways I think that you are on the right track. I can tell just a hair's difference in the tenyo vs regular hanadama, but it's very slight. I wouldn't necessarily call the tenyo low, but the "regular" Hanadama seems very nice.

If you're looking for a particular soap bubble effect, I would say that you may be more concerned about overtone colors. Green and cream overtones tend to be a little cheaper because they are less desirable whereas pink and silver overtones are more expensive. The strand that I photographed and posted before would technically be classed as "white/silver/pink"

I don't think that your expectations of what can be found are unrealistic, but it may not be best to equate the Hanadama and Tenyo Hanadama designations directly to best of the best. Many of the best pearls are sold uncertified, or are pre-sold before they ever make it to anywhere we'd ever see. You would have to have a seller look around for you more directly in Japan.

Keep in mind that Mikimoto at the end of the day is just a retailer, and not even all of their pearls are equal. Much like Tiffany, you pay a premium to ensure that you're getting a high quality pearl, but it's not necessarily an automatic ticket to the true highest of the high. Mikimoto has a range, themselves - it just so happens that their "A" are mostly better than anyone elses' and their "AAA" are truly striking (with a price to match). A huge thing with pearls is availability. At the true top end there are fewer pieces available than one might think.

Lastly is cost -- without knowing what you paid (and totally understand if you don't wish to reveal it) it can be hard to put any quality moniker on pearls. It's a lot like colored stones, of course, where a sapphire may be beautiful, but it may be especially beautiful (or not) when taking cost into account. :razz:

If it would help or you'd like I'd be glad to drag the akoya strand from the other thread out again and post some various photos in different light - just let me know what you'd want to see
 

yssie

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Thanks so much for your thoughts @amoline!

I completely understand what you’re saying re. trends of higher/lower lustre and thicker/thinner nacre moving together, but one not guaranteeing the other. I’d heard that, but I didn’t truly believe it until I saw it with my own eyes. So when I saw 0.5mm on the Tenyo - “well, thinner than I’d love, but doesn’t indicate poor lustre - especially given the presence of this cert...”

I also understand what you mean re. The best strands needing well-placed eyes on the market streets. To your point re. context - I’m willing to trawl the bowels of the internet, invest in and nurture relationships, wait without end date - for the right diamonds. Tiffany is the easy way out, one I’d never take. For anything else, though, I weight ease of acquisition and blind guarantee of a certain quality much more highly... the Tiffany - well, the Mikimoto, Paspaley, etc. - feel like much more approachable propositions.

So I suppose that leaves me willing to pay the brand premium... but not if what I’m getting is truly a minimum threshold, not a guarantee of “best” by some objective and ubiquitous metric. If that makes any sense?

A strand like yours is completely unrealistic for me - I’m just not prepared to put the amount of effort into my search that that would require, and no one else is going to be able to source that sort of piece for me! So I guess what I realistically want to know is what I’m missing out on from what’s easily attainable, if one is willing to pay for it?

Mikimoto America online has no AAA strands. I have to say that I appreciate that they don’t loosen their grading standards as size and rarity increase - most vendors would decide that AAA for a 10mm pearl demands less than AAA for a 6mm pearl. All boutiques are closed now, of course. I wonder if I’ll be blown away by the Mikimoto AAA threshold in-person or if your photos have doomed me to akoya mediocrity :lol:

Speaking of your photos... I would LOVE to see more photos of your magical strand - I’ve already seen and saved all the stringing and final result pics from the thread on the other forum! More would be VERY welcome :love: Actually, if I’m perfectly honest, what I really want to do is mail you these strands and ask you to snap them all together so I can see firsthand what I’m missing and what the Mikimoto AAAs have to live up to. Is that masochistic? :oops:

Oh - no secrets on price. The Hanadama was 3.5k USD - more expensive than most of the other Hanadama strands the vendor had, actually - and the Tenyo a hair over 4.7k USD. Both bought here in the US, originally sourced at the HK show either last year or year before I believe? So when you factor in the import hike and whatnot these are not expensive strands. I would, in this case, be willing to pay a brand premium for something that takes my breath away... Mitigated substantially by the fact that I actively prefer the 6.5-7mm size over larger pearls, all else equal. Edit - checked invoices and fixed prices*
 
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amoline

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Lol! No Akoya mediocrity -- the strands you have posted here are truly beautiful.

Mikimoto actually has one AAA strand on their website right now. They classify AAA strands as "Mikimoto Reserve" -- it's 8.5x9.0mm and priced at $54,550. AA/AA+ are listed on their website as "Mikimoto Premium" -- and they have one of those at 8.5x9.0mm as well, and it's listed for around $34,00 I believe. Now, much of this is due to size, which Mikimoto puts an especially high premium on. I think you will be blown away by the high end Mikimoto strands. But much of it is very similar to diamonds, like you say. A superideal I color diamond at an SI1 clarity will be gorgeous in its own right, but only when you compare it to a D IF superideal might you be able to easily tell the difference. Same thing with the akoya strand that I photographed before - everything is beautiful until you put it up next to whatever it is. But alone, there are plenty of beautiful pieces out there.

It's good that you prefer the 6.5x7mm size because of course this is an easy size to find much more inexpensively.

I'll do some more photos tomorrow and I'll be glad to post them up. Lol at mailing strands. I'd be glad to do that, but I'd never trust the USPS I think.

I'll grab some photos tomorrow.
 

katbran

Brilliant_Rock
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Yessie-both strands are beautiful. I agree with Amoline that the Tenyo is a hair sharper. For me the difference would not be enough to justify me spending the extra money, but that's a very personal decision . All anyone else will see are shiny pearls but if you want the best ( not that there is a best) might be more accurate to say 'better' quality when you are the only one who will know then that's fine. Like someone who wants a FL diamond instead of IF .
You want what you want. :)
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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@amoline, @katbran - Thank you both ::)

“You know what you want“. That’s so true. And for this is classic staple strand - what I want is the very best that I can possibly get, even if I’m the only one who ever appreciates the incremental difference(s).

So let’s see what the future might have planned. Neither of these strands “wow’s” me, and I want to be wow’d and wooed :love:
 

Daisys and Diamonds

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im just enjoying the pictures

probably aleays going to be out of my league but I'd love to just hold then

carry on
have fun
 

amti

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I'm a pearl lover and can tell the Tennyo strand is has slightly better luster. Have you tried both strands on to see which color complements your skin best? Both strands are beautiful but color would be the decision maker for me. Wear each strand with colors you wear the most and see if one strand glows brighter. Most Mikis are pinked.
 

AV_

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...not if what I’m getting is truly a minimum threshold, not a guarantee of “best” by some objective and ubiquitous metric. If that makes any sense?
I was asked at some point to think about such metrics for pearls, so I took a good look at samples: two pearls stood out so much against the pile (a rogue exotic & a golden), I took them aside to study & let traditional grading of p. radiata be - it has something good to say of everything.
 

RunningwithScissors

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I agree with @amti that when shopping for pearls, seeing which colors look better against your skin is vitally important. Just because a gem looks beautiful on its own, doesn't necessarily mean it will look good on us. I love the way fancy yellow diamonds look, but I cannot wear them.

Don't rule out Tiffany's for pearls. Even though many of their jewelry items have a huge mark up, I've found their pearls to be very competitively priced and also of a very high quality.

I have two pairs of pearl stud earrings, one is Miki AAA and one is from Tiffany's. I cannot tell their luster apart and I have fairly sharp eyes. My Tiffany's pair was much less expensive. My Tiffany's is more pink, but I chose that from several different hues because it suits my coloring.
 

yssie

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::HUG:: @Daisys and Diamonds - I would love to meet you and your furbabies one day. You seem like such a generous and thoughtful person. I’d say you can find your own lovely by looking in your mirror ::)


@amti, @RunningwithScissors - Thank you for your thoughts! I find it very interesting that so many can see the difference in lustre in my photos - I really can't in-person! Certain pearls are more lustrous than others, but the ratio of lustrous : less-lustrous seems about the same on both strands, to my eyes.

I do strongly prefer the more pink colour against my skin. I really do just "what what I want" - I hope to satiate that want with a third strand soon, one that will show me what I've been missing :sun:


@AV_ I can appreciate that sentiment. There's very little in the world of jewellery that you can't wring beauty of, from one perspective or another ::)

My first black opal - it was stunningly beautiful, if you turned it just this way. From all other angles it was about as "meh" as you'd expect shiny poch to be. My next black opal, chosen after several years and several educational conversations with opal cutters, provided a very different experience - the stone was effortlessly pretty. Flashes of colour everywhere you looked, no matter how you looked.

I really want effortlessly breathtaking akoyas. But it would be untrue and unfair to suggest that the strands I have now aren't beautiful - I'm confident they're both in the top of what's available here in the US.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

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::HUG:: @Daisys and Diamonds - I would love to meet you and your furbabies one day. You seem like such a generous and thoughtful person. I’d say you can find your own lovely by looking in your mirror ::)


@amti, @RunningwithScissors - Thank you for your thoughts! I find it very interesting that so many can see the difference in lustre in my photos - I really can't in-person! Certain pearls are more lustrous than others, but the ratio of lustrous : less-lustrous seems about the same on both strands, to my eyes.

I do strongly prefer the more pink colour against my skin. I really do just "what what I want" - I hope to satiate that want with a third strand soon, one that will show me what I've been missing :sun:


@AV_ I can appreciate that sentiment. There's very little in the world of jewellery that you can't wring beauty of, from one perspective or another ::)

My first black opal - it was stunningly beautiful, if you turned it just this way. From all other angles it was about as "meh" as you'd expect shiny poch to be. My next black opal, chosen after several years and several educational conversations with opal cutters, provided a very different experience - the stone was effortlessly pretty. Flashes of colour everywhere you looked, no matter how you looked.

I really want effortlessly breathtaking akoyas. But it would be untrue and unfair to suggest that the strands I have now aren't beautiful - I'm confident they're both in the top of what's available here in the US.
dear Yssie, one day we will have a new normal, i will have a job, and i look forward to what ever that new normal may be. air travel will resume, and you are more than welcome to come visit my little corner of the world =)2
 

AV_

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I remain with the impression that this is a place for unusually good cultured pearls, but it has been a long, long, long time www

If wanted a natural pearl, I can ask; prices are terrifying.
 
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yssie

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dear Yssie, one day we will have a new normal, i will have a job, and i look forward to what ever that new normal may be. air travel will resume, and you are more than welcome to come visit my little corner of the world =)2
I will take you up on that Daisy! :wavey: I grew up in Auckland and Wellington - I haven’t been back in decades though. I wonder if I would even recognize the places I used to call “mine” :read:
 

yssie

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I remain with the impression that this is a place for unusually good cultured pearls, but it has been a long, long, long time www

If wanted a natural pearl, I can ask; prices are terrifying.
Even the landing page says “elite” ::)

His pieces are beautiful @AV_, thank you for introducing me to this jeweller! He seems to specialize in staples - staple, wearable designs crafted using remarkable and momentous gemstones :love:
 
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Daisys and Diamonds

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I will take you up on that Daisy! :wavey: I grew up in Auckland and Wellington - I haven’t been back in decades though. I wonder if I would even recognize the places I used to call “mine” :read:
=)2=)2
We lived in Tawa (really Linden) for 20 years before moving to Wanganui in order to buy a house we could afford
i was born and grew up in Dunedin, which is forever in my heart, i know it has moved on without me
You would not recognize Porirua ! I wish we could have afforded a house there
 

AV_

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@yssie They were not too old school regarding pearls - there were strands picked for luster & color as opposed to size; I hope the interest in such things is still there.

_

I'll rant

re. nacre thickness & lustre - I agree that these are not related, it must take much less than one mm of nacre on the surface to change the appearance of a pearl (and this may change dramatically over time), however, even several mm of nacre are translucent, while nuclei are certainly not; translucency and high luster play together in white pearls, light grays, yellow/golden - makes them look not like metal or anything else; perfect small pearls are magic, if not useful for strands - oddities www.)
 
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yssie

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=)2=)2
We lived in Tawa (really Linden) for 20 years before moving to Wanganui in order to buy a house we could afford
i was born and grew up in Dunedin, which is forever in my heart, i know it has moved on without me
You would not recognize Porirua ! I wish we could have afforded a house there
Daisy - We never lived on South Island (Upper Hutt in Wellington and Takapuna in Auckland) but my parents had friends in Invercargill so we spent a fair bit of time down in your part of the country!!

I remember reading about infra buildout in Porirua. I am very confident I wouldn’t recognize any of those places now. And they’re all a child’s memories to start with - we moved to Australia when I was 10.

I’d planned to come back down with my husband sometime this year. For him it’d be an exotic trip :)) I still hope to, once the world is out of the woods with this virus.
 

yssie

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@yssie They were not too old school regarding pearls - there were strands picked for luster & color as opposed to size; I hope the interest in such things is still there.

_

I'll rant

re. nacre thickness & lustre - I agree that these are not related, it must take much less than one mm of nacre on the surface to change the appearance of a pearl (and this may change dramatically over time), however, even several mm of nacre are translucent, while nuclei are certainly not; translucency and high luster play together in white pearls, light grays, yellow/golden - makes them look not like metal or anything else; perfect small pearls are magic, if not useful for strands - oddities www.)
AV_ I think there are many who value lustre and colour over size ::) But... Perhaps more commonly in East Asian markets than here in the US...

In my humble opinion there is nothing so elegant as a long, long rope of diminutive but mirror-like pearls. Understated sorcery. The 6.5-7mm range is probably my favourite.

I don’t disagree at all with your white ::) I had to see it to believe it, though. The lure of an easy, formulaic safety valve with which to choose blindly is compelling! Unfortunately. Goodness knows we see the same ways of thinking on in the diamond fora on here. Me? I’m no longer susceptible to it in that context but it is obviously not broad spectrum immunity :bigsmile:
 

yssie

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A - I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me calling him a friend ::) - who has both particular interest in akoyas and trade connections offered to look for a gem quality strand for me. He was able to procure one in miraculously short order, which he explained was more “due to” than “despite” the global epidemic: Sales are few, and are welcomed. I’m very excited to see what sorts of differences there may be! A little frivolity :sun:
 
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AV_

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I had to see it to believe it, though.
What I know best are these - www, www - around four, five milimeters, a few best are indescribable. I have much smaller samples of most colors & they formally belong to the lab where I worked with them, now, locked down as everything.
 

yssie

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@jeweln, @AV_ - Now that he's moved over to trade I can share that @molinePDG is the friend who's looking for a potentially magical strand!! :sun::bigsmile:

I will definitely post here once we've found it, and he's looked it over and given his expert opinion ::)
 

AV_

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@yssie I am terrible at trade; many times I had collections of pearls at hand, I've never asked prices, it was nice enough to be told 'pick what you need' [it could be a joke or a dream.]
 
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yssie

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@yssie I am terrible at trade; many times I had collections of pearls at hand, I've never asked prices, it was nice enough to be told 'pick what you need' [it could be a joke or a dream.]
I’ll happily play in this dreamscape. Money is no object... I fear for my environs :lol:
 
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AV_

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@yssie I have a large library of natural pearl photos - mainly exotics and unusual nacre (black, violet - all the colors of the Cartier pin & more toward green / gray / blue / golden - the range of p. radiata) - I wanted examples of everything that is possible & got as much as I could handle; in this material, I was looking at the early growth - the material recording of how the pearls had started growing, so many pearls were smashed & put through electron microscopes, also revealing their growth layers & transparency - which is how I came to the idea that both luster and transparency matter. I might as well upload a handful of these and send a link to Google Docs; it was never obvious what & how I could possibly publish, as soon as this stopped being a formal academic project [if anything, I ought to tell why not - it is a good reason.]

ramble
 
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