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Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl experts?

anne_h

Brilliant_Rock
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Hi everyone,

I may be in the market for some pricey (to me) South Sea pearls. I've learned a lot about pearls by doing my own research, but still don't know as much about them as I do diamonds.

Are there any PS trusted appraisers who are known to specialize in pearls? Say if I buy some and want an independent appraisal. I know that pearls may not be as easy to value as gemstones.

It would need to be someone who is independent, not selling pearls or affiliated with anyone who is.

Thoughts?

Anne
 

Pearlescence

Shiny_Rock
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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

Do you want an appraiser (someone to confirm that they are a certain type of pearl)? or do you want a valuer (someone to tell you what the pearls are worth)?
The GIA or other appropriate national gem labs will tell you what you have but won't give you a value. An auction house would give you a valuation, although it would be for a price at auction for second hand pearls
Pearl buying is a bit different to buying precious metal (weight) or diamonds (price defined pretty much by various criteria)
You could consider selecting a retailer with whom you feel confident due to others' feedback and go with them. With a pearl seller of repute you pretty much spends your money and gets the pearls that buys.
 

anne_h

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

Thanks Pearlescence.

I want someone who can tell me if the pearls have the attributes as sold (eg: quality of nacre, luster, matching, etc). Yes, a valuation (fair market value) would be helpful.

I may be spending a lot (for me), so I want to be sure that I get what I pay for.

Yes, I have been looking with some PS pearl vendors that I'd trust, but my tastes are very specific, so I'm considering pieces from multiple others sources, including international.

My idea would be to buy with a solid return policy, get the piece appraised during the return period, and then return it if the piece differs materially from its description as sold to me and/or if I overpaid significantly.

Anne
 

pearlsngems

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

Pearls do not have internationally accepted standards, unlike diamonds, so there is going to be some subjectivity.

With pearls, when you buy from a trusted seller (whether brick and mortar or online) it's pretty much a case of "what you see is what you get." Unlike with stones, you don't need a loupe or microscope to look for inclusions not visible to the naked eye, or sophisticated testing equipment to ensure that the gem is really the type of gem the seller claims it is.

Rather it's a matter of asking yourself if you like what you see-- do you like the color, the overtones, the matching, the shapes/sizes, the surface appearance? Does it look good on your neck?

May I suggest a really good book to help you judge these qualities: Renee Newman's book, Pearl Buying Guide: How to Identify and Evaluate Pearls & Pearl Jewelry 5th edition (this is updated periodically but the 5th edition is the most current.) This book is loaded with excellent photos and explanations of how to judge pearls for yourself.
https://www.amazon.com/Pearl-Buying-Guide-Identify-Evaluate/dp/0929975448
 

NacreLover

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

anne_h|1472315471|4070587 said:
Hi everyone,

I may be in the market for some pricey (to me) South Sea pearls. I've learned a lot about pearls by doing my own research, but still don't know as much about them as I do diamonds.

Are there any PS trusted appraisers who are known to specialize in pearls? Say if I buy some and want an independent appraisal. I know that pearls may not be as easy to value as gemstones.

It would need to be someone who is independent, not selling pearls or affiliated with anyone who is.

Thoughts?

Anne

Anne, It's much easier to find a GIA gemologist who can evaluate diamonds and gems than to find one who can evaluate pearls. Even if you did find someone on this forum who has their GIA certificate, what are you planning on doing, mailing all the strands to them? I do agree with the two TRADE members who answered you here, YOU need to learn more about the pearls before you buy them so you are a educated buyer. If you are in the NY or LA area you could go to the vendors showrooms and look at the strands side by side and see the difference in their graded pearls. Keep in mind though one companies AAA pearls and not the same as another companies AAA pearls.
As Pearlsandgems told you, Pearls do not have internationally accepted standards, unlike diamonds, so there is going to be some subjectivity.
 

anne_h

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

Okay, thanks everyone.

I ordered the book recommended by PearlsnGems. Thanks for that!

Nacrelover - As mentioned in my second reply, my idea was to purchase my selected piece, and send that for appraisal (*not* all pieces under consideration). I have done that with other pieces of jewelry, so to me it seemed reasonable to consider for a pearl piece as well.

Outside of this thread, I did find contact info for one GIA credentialed appraiser who has worked with pearls (not a PS appraiser). So I still may pursue that avenue if I don't feel comfortable working alone.

Either way, I will continue to educate myself, as I am quickly becoming a huge pearl fan. BTW, I have already bought and read "Tears of Mermaids" (all about pearl farming / pearl trade). I did enjoy it and would recommend it.

Anne
 

pearlsngems

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

I'm puzzled as to why I'm now listed as trade?

I am solely a customer. I do not sell, have never sold jewelry or gems. I don't have an eBay or Etsy shop, I don't make things for other people.
 

Siameseroo

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

Anne I'm not sure that getting an appraisal is the best approach unless you are just wanting to verify that the pearls are authentic.

My personal experience has been that the valuations come back severely inflated. Typically, when determining replacement cost the comparables used are brick and mortar stores in the area, which are typically much more expensive than the trusted, online vendors.

If I wanted to get an idea of whether my pearls are a good buy I would first, learn as much as I possibly could about pearls including seeing as many in person as possible, and then share details and photos either here or on the other online pearl forum and ask for input.

If logistically and financially it made sense, I would order the strand in question plus a similar one from a reputable vendor for comparison. As I live in Australia, this is not an option for me so I stick to the vendors that I trust.
 

Siameseroo

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

pearlsngems|1472335904|4070686 said:
I'm puzzled as to why I'm now listed as trade?

I am solely a customer. I do not sell, have never sold jewelry or gems. I don't have an eBay or Etsy shop, I don't make things for other people.
Very strange! Contact the mods?
 

pearlsngems

Brilliant_Rock
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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

Yes, I shot an email using the Contact Us link. It is odd.
 

pearlsngems

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

Well, I seem to have been able to fix the glitch myself-- by unchecking a box on my account that indicated I was trade. I don't know how it got checked in the first place, as I have never viewed that page before.

Very strange, but that is that.
 

Pearlescence

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

Hi
Your own eyes will tell you the answer to all your questions-is the pearl shiny..well, is it? Does it have marks? do two pearls match well in shape, colour, overtone etc. These are all things you can see for yourself (assuming you have good eyesight)
To get a value you would need a pearl specialist as most valuers will know diamonds and maybe other precious stones but figures I've seen them give for pearls are just silly.
Again, compare across several reputable sellers. But it is very true in the pearl market that if something is too cheap it is too cheap for a very good reason (ie it is freshwater pretending to be south sea) (There are some reputable sellers on ebay and etsy but for someone as insecure and unsure of herself as you I would not recommend)
 

pearlsngems

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

I wouldn't advise that any newbie to buying pearls look on eBay for a high end strand either, as there is a lot of fraud, as pearlescence said-- freshwater strands sold as saltwater.

There are trusted eBay sellers (see the sticked thread at the top of the pearl forum page) and I have bought from some with success, but I think you will find that most of what they sell is loose individual pearls or mini-strands of 3- 5 pearls anyway. Also sometimes brick and mortar jewelers who have eBay accounts list pre-owned strands, but I don't think that is what you are looking for.
 

anne_h

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

I'm comfortable judging most attributes myself, except nacre thickness. This is still mysterious to me. Even with a loop I can't really tell what I'm looking at around the drill hole. I will do more research.

Yes, I am considering eBay vendors with high positive feedback, and good return policies. I am also considering estate pieces from various B&M and online vendors.

Like some of you, I have seen various eBay sellers trying to pass off shell pearls or freshwater pearls as south sea.

Anne
 

NacreLover

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

That is not a good idea. Ebay is the worst place to buy pearls. At the Pearl Guide ruckus in Los Angeles in July, Blaire Beavers did a talk on Pearl misrepresentations on ebay. If you shop for pearls there the likely hood you will end up with what you are trying to buy is low.

Do you know the difference by sight between white south sea pearls and freshwater bead nucleated pearls if they are the same size? As for using feed back to make your choice in vendors there, many keep their feed back 100 percent while being liars by giving the pearls to the person who calls them out for free.

Bad vendor sends you dyed golden freshwaters perhaps instead of south sea goldens and you call them out. They offer to give you the pearls and give you the money back, then you can't give them bad feedback. It's quite a scam since most don't have the knowledge of what they are buying and would be afraid to call them out in case they are wrong. Those who do, get the free pearls and the feedback stays good.

Since you say this is a expensive strand you want to buy, why are you going to a questionable place to buy your pearls? At the top of this forum there is a preferred vendor list, don't you trust the people you are asking for help from to guide you to the best pearls for your dollar?
 

anne_h

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

Nacrelover, I mentioned that my tastes are very particular (for this particular purchase), so I am considering pieces from many sources, including PS vendors. Sure, I would love to buy from a PS vendor, but if I can't find what I'm looking for, I will consider other channels (but only those with good return policies).

Thanks everyone for your help.

Anne
 

shaggy1

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

When I was first learning about pearls, I brought a very nice quality Mikimoto brooch with me when I looked at pearls so I could compare the lustre and nacre to it. Just a tip it in case you can use it.

Nacre thickness is toughest to judge IMO.
 

cmd2014

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

Anne,

Perhaps if we knew what you were looking for, we could help you in your search. Also, many vendors have items in stock that are not on their websites, and many are willing to take special orders and look for more rare items on your behalf at the various trade shows. Almost all of the trusted vendors will do custom pieces as well. So it's worth contacting them.
 

canuk-gal

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

anne_h|1472426324|4071006 said:
Nacrelover, I mentioned that my tastes are very particular (for this particular purchase), so I am considering pieces from many sources, including PS vendors. Sure, I would love to buy from a PS vendor, but if I can't find what I'm looking for, I will consider other channels (but only those with good return policies).

Thanks everyone for your help.

Anne

Are you interested in Estate pieces--I thought your question about quality and authenticity might have, partly, arisen from that. At any rate, I am following your thread as I often see large pearls on Estate sites but know nothing of stated quality and therefore have never purchased because I am unsure (aka little "pearl education"....)

cheers--Sharon
 

seaurchin

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

Anne, you could post pics and descriptions of any piece you're considering or have bought here (or on the other board, which is heavy on pearl experts) and ask for opinions on the price and quality. Those who buy a lot of pearls will have a good idea of it as well as the vendors and experts. That should give you a good, if informal, idea of if the price is in the right ballpark or not. Sorry if my post is too obvious, I have no idea where you are in jewelry knowledge.
 

seaurchin

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

Actual experience with pearls is what counts so I would definitely not rule out pearl vendors or pearl enthusiasts. Experience counts way more than certifications and I don't know of any better place to get good pearl advice than from many of the people on the two pearl forums. So in the spirit of being helpful, I have to say I think your criteria for determining who can best help you is not accurate. In any case, it costs nothing to post and ask about a piece under consideration. I think you will pleasantly surprised at the great help you receive! Good luck.
 

anne_h

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your offers of help. I feel shy to post pieces that I'm looking at... I'm not sure why!! I think I have not yet decided within myself if I'm comfortable making this type of purchase...

I received the pearl book recommended earlier in the thread... it's very thorough but I must admit I already knew most of what's in there, based on my own months of intensive pearl research online. I did learn some good tricks about judging luster though, so that was helpful.

I am definitely NOT dissing the non-professional pearl experts here... I just feel shy to post anything about this particular search. And Sharon - yes, one of my top contenders was an estate piece. Unlike PS pearl vendors, one can never be sure if an estate vendor knows much about what they are selling or not... hence my question about getting help with verification.

I may abandon the idea behind this piece entirely, and just go for a more standard strand, which I *do* feel comfortable buying alone.

Thanks everyone for your input!

Anne

PS - I don't know what the 'other board' is, and I know it is not allowed to be mentioned by name! lol
 

pearlsngems

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

If you do a Google search for "pearl forums" it's right there at the top. =)
 

seaurchin

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Re: Are there any trusted PS appraisers who are pearl expert

Ah, yes I guess estate jewelry is a whole 'nother thing with other factors besides the value of the pearls alone. Anne, it's called The Pearl Guide Forum. I hope that's okay to say on here!
 

Southseapearl

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May 11, 2019
Messages
2
Hi everyone,

I may be in the market for some pricey (to me) South Sea pearls. I've learned a lot about pearls by doing my own research, but still don't know as much about them as I do diamonds.

Are there any PS trusted appraisers who are known to specialize in pearls? Say if I buy some and want an independent appraisal. I know that pearls may not be as easy to value as gemstones.

It would need to be someone who is independent, not selling pearls or affiliated with anyone who is.

Thoughts?

Anne
I myself collect pearls including mother of pearl but not really an expert to be able to appraise properly, it's more of a hobby. I think I can help you, I have some pearls that I may loan to you as appraisal sample for both of us to be able to at least learn the quality differences. Once you find a good appraiser kindly advise me.
 

Southseapearl

Rough_Rock
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May 11, 2019
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I myself collect pearls including mother of pearl but not really an expert to be able to appraise properly, it's more of a hobby. I think I can help you, I have some pearls that I may loan to you as appraisal sample for both of us to be able to at least learn the quality differences. Once you find a good appraiser kindly advise me.
 
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