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Natural Pearls - How Vulnerable??

Alex T

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 24, 2012
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Hi all,

Some of you may recall that just under 2 years ago I inherited an antique pearl & diamond ring from my Great Aunt, who passed away aged 99. It was ALWAYS my favourite of her lovely treasures, so I was touched that she wanted me to be the new custodian.

The ring was purchased from an antique shop here in the UK on October 12th 1940 by her husband, and being the very particular lady that she was, the ring came to me in the original box with receipts.

I had the ring examined & the pearl is real & whole, measuring 5mm diameter, probably of South China Sea origin. The hallmark was mostly lost in sizing, but it has been estimated that it dates from around 1895 - 1900 & is probably French.

So waffle aside, how durable are natural pearls? My Aunt wore this ring almost daily for 74 years & only ever lost a diamond from the halo. But my jeweller sort of scared me about their care, so it mostly sits in its box when I want it on my hand! If it has lasted harm free for 120 years, then surely I have nothing to worry about? Pearl people - any opinions??

img_20151216_111053090_hdr.jpg

img_20151216_111101243_hdr.jpg
 

Pearlescence

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Nacre is vulnerable to scratching but not a blow. You can bang it on something and it won't mind but it will be scratched by anything harder than it is. So, you can wear it so long as you hold off on the bricklaying and stuff like that, unless you are particularly clumsy
 

Alex T

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Thank you so much for your reply :wavey:

This pearl must have been through some events in its life, which is what got me wondering. It still has a teeny bit of iridescence to one side, but no scratches. I am not clumsy in particular, so I think I shall wear it a little more often - thank you for the reassurance. I am guilty of bashing it once or twice, against the dishwasher door etc, but I always instinctively check it out. My main concern has always been that one day I will look down & find the pearl missing completely :shock:
 

lambskin

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Please be careful of any chemicals, cleaners, lotions or other potent liquids that could harm the nacre. Be careful of what you wash your hands with as the cleaner/soap may be too harsh. Perfume is bad for pearls. I wonder if there is some nacre that is off of the pearl already as you state there is only a bit of irr. left on the side. Pretty ring.
 

Alex T

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Thank you lambskin. Yes, my jeweller said the general rule for a pearl is 'it's the last thing to go on, and the first thing to come off.'

As a result, I always make sure I am lotioned, perfumed & portioned before I take it out of its box :))
 

baby monster

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I would just check periodically that the pearl is not loose. It's probably glued on a peg and that can loosen up over the years. I always take off my pearl rings before washing hands to avoid damaging nacre and glue.

It's amazing that your grandma wore this pearl for 74 years and it still looks that good.
 

Alex T

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Thanks for the tip babymonster. It IS amazing how fabulous it still looks, but there are a couple of crude repairs to the gold on the basket. They're not really noticeable, but there all the same. I believe they were done by the same jeweller who had to replace the missing OEC. Clearly he wasn't very skilled :rolleyes:
 

Pearlescence

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With any ring which you take off to wash your hands it is a good idea to hold them in your mouth while you wash and dry rather than take off and put down. A lot of rings get lost that way in public washing areas
 

NacreLover

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Alex T, This may or may not be the original pearl that was put into the setting at it's creation. If it is the original pearl, the glues used back then are not as strong as the epoxy's used today. I would have it inspected and if loose reattached with something stronger if you are planning on having it worn by someone.
 

seaurchin

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NacreLover|1454775167|3987715 said:
Alex T, This may or may not be the original pearl that was put into the setting at it's creation...
That same thought went through my head. I am far from an expert but it does look like a cultured akoya pearl to me.

Also, Alex, I've been shocked by how little the jewelers I've spoken to actually knew about pearls, and also with the tone of authority they've said incorrect things. "Jeweler" is a broad job and pearls are just of many specialties. If you want to post the pics and ask about it on the other board, there are many pearl experts who hang out over there.

http://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/

In any case, what a wonderful heirloom!
 

lambskin

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Pearlescence|1454749897|3987627 said:
With any ring which you take off to wash your hands it is a good idea to hold them in your mouth while you wash and dry rather than take off and put down. A lot of rings get lost that way in public washing areas
I do the same thing!!!!! :lol: I thought I made it up! :geek: Great minds think alike. :wavey:
 

Alex T

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Thank you for the info & tips everyone! Very much appreciated! :wavey:
 

seaurchin

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lambskin|1454816959|3987919 said:
Pearlescence|1454749897|3987627 said:
With any ring which you take off to wash your hands it is a good idea to hold them in your mouth while you wash and dry rather than take off and put down. A lot of rings get lost that way in public washing areas
I do the same thing!!!!! :lol: I thought I made it up! :geek: Great minds think alike. :wavey:
Just make sure you aren't drinking or anything because if you accidentally swallow a ring, retrieving it won't be pleasant! :p
 
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