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Opinions on pearl rope necklace

Joined
Feb 3, 2012
Messages
18
Hi everyone,

I am interested in possibly purchasing a long pearl rope necklace of about 50" or so. I do have a shorter, not-so-great-quality Akoya strand that I received as a wedding gift many years ago. However, I never wear it, as it feels too formal for my lifestyle. I thought perhaps a long rope of smaller Akoya pearls (7-7.5mm) might be easy to throw on and wear effortlessly. I love the idea of doubling it (short and long) or tying a knot and wearing it loose. It just seems so versatile!

Thanks to the great posts I've been reading here, I have come in contact with Andrew Moline. He has been so informative and responsive! The gem quality pearls are so beautiful, I am very tempted... However, they are quite cost prohibitive as it would be such a long strand. Obviously this is a very subjective topic, but would you get a lesser quality rope of smaller pearls (possibly even freshwater) and put the funds towards larger pearls on a shorter strand or get the best I can afford for the rope of Akoya?

Thank you in advance for all your help! I'm so new to the world of pearls, although, I am a jewelry fanatic...
 

seaurchin

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2012
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I have a 48 inch endless strand (no clasp) of freshwaters that I wear a lot. It is 6.5-7.0mm. Smaller pearls tend to have higher luster so I am happy with freshies for it. I wear it tied in a knot and like the small pearl size so the knot doesn't end up strangely large.

I would not tie akoya pearls in a knot. Freshies are more durable since they're nacre all the way through. I find it too long to want to wear straight and too small for my liking worn doubled, though. Hope I haven't just confused you even more lol.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
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Maybe get the freshies before you fork out a lot if money for something you may or msy not end up wearing
i love love love rope pearls and they are definatly on my wish list

if you have that Akoya strand you got as a wedding present just sitting there unwarn i would be tempted to incorporate it into your Akoya rope one day if you still go down that route
Pearls need to be restrung often, so no harm in trying it out
Do pearl paradise still do pearls by the inch ?

I agree with @seaurchin regarding using a smaller pearl size for a rope and using freshies
 

molinePDG

Shiny_Rock
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This goes for any akoya pearls, but especially for higher quality types, and my advice applies regardless of whether they're pearls from me or anyone else -- would not recommend knotting Akoya or other styles that may wear on pearls being tied together often. Doubling, tripling, great - lots of versatility and varied looks. Truly spectacular, a doubled or tripled up Akoya strand.

But if you're looking for some fun "throw around" pearls (as if there is such a thing) -- whether that's freshwater, or something else not quite as high quality -- to just play with style, especially knotting and so forth, there are better and less-harmful-to-the-wallet options.
 
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Joined
Feb 3, 2012
Messages
18
It's so interesting to hear you all say not to knot Akoya pearls as I was browsing at the Mikimoto store the other day, and the salespeople encouraged me to wear it that way!

TBH, I was initially concerned about damaging the pearls, but they seemed so cavalier about handling them - I was encouraged to do so.

Perhaps I do need freshwater pearls for the rope style as I would like to wear them easily... But I do also love the idea of doubling and possibly tripling.
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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21,787
I remember poring over those “how to wear pearls” styling diagrams and swooning at the myriad ways one can wear those long ropes :love:

I’m torn on this to be honest. I really like bracelets (which inherently see more wear and tear than necklaces), and I *love* the look of a single strand of pearls that’s knotted or twisted up on the wrist. Carelessly luxe. But I didn’t want to spend on gem akoya knowing I’d be abusing them, so I’ve got a lesser strand of akoya for that.

But y’know, having made the #Right and #Sensible decision - I never wear them. I pick my boring single-strand gem bracelets every time. They just look better. And I think - wouldn’t it be marvellous if these were knotted up?

I also feel like... Our bright shiny white akoya are going to start yellowing, becoming less lustrous, and turning more brittle within two decades. Maybe three if we treat them really well. So there’s already a qualified shelf life... Is halving that shelf life in the name of more enjoyment really that bad, if it poses no monetary hardship? The calculation for hardier gemstones is very different, I think, thanks to expected longevity. To be honest this is the reason I decided against spending a ton on white akoya. At one point I wanted a 10mm+ strand. No thanks.

I really like the idea of buying a FW rope (edit - or, heck, a really nice cheap fake) as a test piece. See if you reach for it, how often you wear it, how you feel about the pearls. If you wear it frequently and you every time you find yourself wishing the pearls were “more X”, then maybe for you a gem quality rope would bring enough enjoyment that it’s worth making a #Wrong choice for. But if not you’ve saved yourself a big chunk of change!!
 
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molinePDG

Shiny_Rock
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Well, a good SA at a designer boutique will encourage you to wear whatever they're about to sell you whatever way you want! :lol: -- But in all seriousness, it's not as if even super high quality akoya will simply crumble away the first time you put them in a knot, but rather long term some decades out, maybe not the very best thing for Akoya in general, as a whole. Now, if you knew you were going for a specific style, put it that way and wore it often... OK, that sort of stuff is fine. But if you want constant variation and playing around with the piece, again, Freshwater will hold up better doing that.

But then again it remains somewhat subjective too - Even very great Freshwater pearls won't all be true round and will never have quite the same kind of luster that the best Akoya will. They're just different pearls. So the only thing worse than wearing Akoyas (or anything - diamond, colored stone, blah blah) in a way you "shouldn't" is getting something else that wasn't really what you wanted in the first place.

I'll dip out of the thread here now because I don't want it to seem like I'm biased one way or the other - I hope you find an amazing piece that works for you, regardless of where that comes from! :)
 
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Joined
Feb 3, 2012
Messages
18
These are all really really helpful!! Thanks so much.

I've been thinking about this for awhile, playing it out in my head, and trying to discuss with my husband (to little avail), but I really think I needed to hear other "more experienced" pearl owners chime in with their opinions.

@Daisys and Diamonds - I love the idea of adding to my existing Akoya strand - I am considering that option! My only hesitation is that they're not top grade, and I'm not sure I want to pour more (not insignificant) money into something that I may not enjoy as much as if they were gem quality.

@yssie - You have explicitly described my exact dilemma. "Carelessly luxe" with gem quality pearls is what I'd love to achieve. I suppose I have to decide what is "worth it" to me. I appreciate your input!

@molinePDG - Thank you so much for your time and honesty! I will be taking everything into consideration...

One question though... do only Akoya pearls yellow over time? Do SSP also?
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
9,935
Are pearls changung colour over a lifetime really a bad thing ?
I like creamy pearls
.....i need to see a close up of some of the Queen's pearls
she has a strand that belonged to Queen Ann and another of Queen Caroline that are both over 300 years old that were gifted to her by her father for her wedding 2017-1118-pearls03.png

Screenshot_20210126-105140.png obviously they are completly natural
I wonder if HM has any freshies ?
 

Snowdrop13

Ideal_Rock
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2,414
Are pearls changung colour over a lifetime really a bad thing ?
I like creamy pearls
.....i need to see a close up of some of the Queen's pearls
she has a strand that belonged to Queen Ann and another of Queen Caroline that are both over 300 years old that were gifted to her by her father for her wedding 2017-1118-pearls03.png

Screenshot_20210126-105140.png obviously they are completly natural
I wonder if HM has any freshies
Yep, was just going to add that these “old” pearls of the Queen’s are likely all entirely nacre so might age better? And will be worth a fortune!
 

Snowdrop13

Ideal_Rock
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How about something with a bit more texture?

 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
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Yep, was just going to add that these “old” pearls of the Queen’s are likely all entirely nacre so might age better? And will be worth a fortune!

I think she isnt quite into jewlery as a hobby like her horses or dogs but i think she must love her pearls
Her Papa and her Grandpa England gave her pearls

i saw this thing on the crown jewles and my memory is foggy but she seemed to feel sad that one particular historic pearl on a piece of the crown jewles looked lonely not being worn - i thought this was a pearl belonging to Elizebth 1 but i can't find it - yet im sure i watched it on u tube

.....disapairing down a rabit hole of royal pearls
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
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How about something with a bit more texture?


That's beautiful
(Adding to wish list :lol: )
 

dk168

Ideal_Rock
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I too would advise getting some inexpensive freshwater pearls first in the length the OP desires, to try and see if you like them first, before splashing out on a better quality strand.

Wen Pearls on Etsy is good for low cost experiments IMHO.

DK :))
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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One question though... do only Akoya pearls yellow over time? Do SSP also?

I believe pretty much every akoya sold in jewellery has gone through maeshori, which is an umbrella term for “we’re going to make this thing look better”. Chemical and mechanical nacre surface tightening (to improve lustre). Polishing. One vendor indicates that maeshori may include stain removal. Then, on top of maeshori, akoya are routinely bleached and pinked (literally plunked into a jar of pink dye for a while).

Just like the pearl grading, the maeshori situation is completely unregulated and completely untracked. Everyone does something different, and there’s no way for an end consumer to know precisely what was done to a strand. In fact, a strand probably consists of pearls that originated in different locales and may have been differently treated. And of course, since noone knows what their pearls might have gone through to look the way they do at time of sale, no one can predict how those pearls might age :(sad

A vendor described maeshori to me this way:
if every single pearl were rated __/10, good maeshori could +1 to any pearl. But you’re not going to treat the bejeezus out of a 3/10 pearl and make it 10/10.
The point there being - for pearls that are nice to begin with, like gemmy akoya, the maeshori is going to be much less invasive, and thereby create fewer side effects over time.

Although maeshori, bleaching, and pinking are the norms for akoya, my understanding is that some form of nacre tightening isn’t unusual in the worlds of Tahitians and South Seas. Likewise - my understanding is that bleaching white South Seas isn’t unheard of. I would venture that bleaching is more common overall on Indonesian WSS than Australian? The thing is, though, “thick” nacre on an akoya is 0.4mm (from exterior of nucleus to exterior of pearl surface). High quality tahitians should at least double that number. High quality South Seas might triple it. There’s just so much more nacre, side effects of any treatments are going to be somewhat mitigated (or, at least, are going to need much more time to have the same visible effect)...

Tagging @molinePDG for review and/or correction.
 
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molinePDG

Shiny_Rock
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There are lots of reasons pearls age over time - a lot of it is how various elements of bio-mineral in a pearl (conchiolin, etc) react to outside factors -- light, heat, UV, storage conditions, wear conditions, environment and so forth.

In an ideal world, we all have our pearls stored gently, never wear them outside, it's only 70 degrees, not blazing sun.... but rarely is that the case, nor should it be.

But the reality is you probably shouldn't buy retail jewelry for the sake of just collecting it. Rings exist to be worn. Bracelets are there to enjoy. And so too are pearls. So one must find the proper balance between caring and wearing and enjoying -- and ensure that the caring does not at its worst devolve into anxious worrying.

All of that said, there are the standard basic things in caring for pearls that you can utilize and your pearls will be better for it -- pearls should be the last thing on, first thing off. Don't spray perfumes or hairsprays after you've got them on. Store them somewhere not excessively cold or hot, and definitely not dry.

One small clarification to what Yssie said- re: pearls in the same strand coming from different locales, probably not too likely to happen. Good, ethical pearl processing companies (where the things like maeshori happen) typically assemble and match pearls at this stage of the chain, and then they would then go on to sell temporary strands to retailers, large jewelry companies, or pearl wholesalers. So all the pearls in a strand most likely came from the same facility that does this type of work. Now, whether or not that work was any good - some maeshori lasts much longer, more invasive than others - is where you have to trust the vendor you get pearls from. It's their responsibility to ensure that companies further down the line that they may work with are reputable and doing good processing work. Be cautious if buying from companies that claim "direct" for a couple reasons -- these facilities likely have plenty of business customer traffic already and of the best stuff there really just isn't tons of it. So, consider that if there is something offered for sale from a "direct company," - why have they not already sold it to a retail business or large jewelry company? Designer houses already have contracts for high quality pearls to be reserved for them, so consider if you wish to buy from these types of companies that the pearls on offer have likely already been passed up by a retailer somewhere, so that's not to say don't ever consider, but just tread carefully.

Finally, I would reiterate what hopefully does give some reassurance in general and also is among the few tools we have to fight against the pearl world's lack of standardized grading or quality factors. The worse a pearl was to begin with, it is vastly more likely it went through intensive treatment, the kind you don't want. As for pearls that were already pretty amazing right out of the oyster... suppliers know when a good pearl is a good pearl and they aren't going to mess with it too much. You can't "maeshori" junk pearls into the world of top quality without it being pretty evident there's some suspicious treatment happening. The +1 concept is a good way to think about maeshori.
 
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Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
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I too would advise getting some inexpensive freshwater pearls first in the length the OP desires, to try and see if you like them first, before splashing out on a better quality strand.

Wen Pearls on Etsy is good for low cost experiments IMHO.

DK :))

I see quite a few of our PS pearl princesses recommending Wen

@loveprettylittlethings
I think an important think with enjoying pearls is to have an element of fun (check out @MakingTheGrade 's creations)
So i just love the idea of a rope of pearls no matter what the pearl is

i know we are not shopping at the same price point but i do beleave things are still relevant as i too want to buy the best quality i can afford
So Im going to buy cheap-as swarovski crystal pearls to have a play around with colours and lengths and combos before i splash out my future hard earned cash on the real thing
You could have a lot of fun with freshies - i love the peach ones

I owe a lot of my love for pearls to a long $30 stand of dyed freshwaters
Id never worn anything pearl since a few faux pieces in the late 80s when i was in high school and never a long piece

If i never wear them again* still the best $30 i ever spent :lol:

( and i don't care they are bearly real )

*I'm going to get them restrung ;)2
 

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I would agree with freshwater though you could also do a mix of sizes and types.

My current rope length is blue/silver akoya and tiny fake pearls (soon to be replaced with small fw I think of keshi). That way if i tie it, I mostly am tying the small fake ones and not really damaging the akoya much.

Personally I might go for a Tahitian circle rope. Beautiful luster, fun colors that go with everything and super not formal looking. Nice circles are maybe 10-15$/pearl? Not as cheap as fw but nowhere near gem akoya and Tahitians.

Here are the circles I have 807904



And my blue akoya and fake pear 805299 801874
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 30, 2019
Messages
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I would agree with freshwater though you could also do a mix of sizes and types.

My current rope length is blue/silver akoya and tiny fake pearls (soon to be replaced with small fw I think of keshi). That way if i tie it, I mostly am tying the small fake ones and not really damaging the akoya much.

Personally I might go for a Tahitian circle rope. Beautiful luster, fun colors that go with everything and super not formal looking. Nice circles are maybe 10-15$/pearl? Not as cheap as fw but nowhere near gem akoya and Tahitians.

Here are the circles I have 66AE09EA-558D-45B3-A740-ED8E107DA50D.jpeg



And my blue akoya and fake pear D8D5C9A2-4867-47FD-AC46-CBCBEF8C290B.jpeg 8BCBC880-855F-49DE-AB39-286D384B85F4.jpeg

I really love your mix and max style
i don't have the restant to know when to stop
Gary says im the queen of making things look too busy - but i enjoy the process

Where do you recomend procuring the circles from ?
 

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Yay!
Just to suggest another possibility, Tahitian circle pearls are not as expensive as akoya but can have great luster and colors! I recently discovered harvest strands and am no building towards my own. I went for a wild rainbow of colors and shapes and sizes but you could get a group of Tahitians that were more one color.

810495
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
9,935
Yay!
Just to suggest another possibility, Tahitian circle pearls are not as expensive as akoya but can have great luster and colors! I recently discovered harvest strands and am no building towards my own. I went for a wild rainbow of colors and shapes and sizes but you could get a group of Tahitians that were more one color.

810495

That is one of the nicest harvest strands ive seen
(In the two weeks ive known what a harvest strand actually is)
Very lovelly luster but its got just the right mix of colours
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
9,935
Yay!
Just to suggest another possibility, Tahitian circle pearls are not as expensive as akoya but can have great luster and colors! I recently discovered harvest strands and am no building towards my own. I went for a wild rainbow of colors and shapes and sizes but you could get a group of Tahitians that were more one color.

810495

Hay ....
You changed you avitar pic ! tumblr_mnk7brsdOR1sohhgko1_400.gif

But i still love that pendent
 
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