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Pearl question: treatments

Arcadian

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Sep 17, 2008
Messages
7,290
well, y'all knew I was gonna go there eventually. So I'm on the internet and looking around and finding that there are various treatments for pearls beyond bleaching , pinking and dying. I see that there is some irradiation done on freshies, from what I've noticed from a auction at pearllunar, and apparently there's heating going on too?

What I'm wondering is if there is a chart of natural pearls that correlate to their type (fresh, tahitian, south sea, akoya)

From what I'm reading akoyas are typically bleached and pinked. which ok not a biggie for me. but I'm reading in a few places around the web of heating to improve luster which I have to admit, I would want to know about.

Additional info with some additional reading material would be lovely if anyone has it or can point me to it. Like with gemstones, I'm perfectly fine as long as there is disclosure, but I also really am lacking in the pearl education department too.


-A
 

Lovinggems

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Messages
3,448
Hi Arc

There's another forum dedicated to pearls, I found some information but they're several years old. That forum ends in 'guide', should pop up in google.
 

jeweln

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 21, 2011
Messages
590
**edited by moderator. please remember we do not allow discussion of other forums**
 

Lovinggems

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Messages
3,448
Although bleaching and pinking are acceptable treatments in the pearl trade, you can get natural akoyas and I prefer natural akoyas or freshwaters over the bleached pearls.
 

Arcadian

Ideal_Rock
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7,290
Thanks I'm checking over there as well.

-A
 

iLander

Ideal_Rock
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May 23, 2010
Messages
6,731
I read a short entry in one of Richard Wise's blogs about heat treatment of freshwater pearls. Apparently, the heat "tightens" the nacre and makes the surface much more shiny and mirror-like. It's pretty much impossible to detect, and many freshwater pearl sellers don't feel the need to disclose the treatment because it won't change or fade. In an industry that has been bleaching and pinking Akoya for decades (yes, even Mikimoto does it), this is simply considered an improvement.

I, because of my personal preference, won't pay a premium for freshwater pearls, preferring to buy mine at bead shows for under $30 a strand. But then again, I'm not getting beautiful, lustrous white pearls for that money; they're usually off-white with low lustre, or they're pinks and purples, or wild baroque shapes. But I will buy treated Akoya, because I like the way they look and it's doesn't bother me that they're treated.

So, the significance of treatment is in the eye of the beholder.
 

PearlsOfJoy

Rough_Rock
Trade
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Apr 26, 2011
Messages
88
All cultured pearls are treated in some manner, from as little as simple cleaning and polishing to heavy chemical treatments like bleach & dyes. If you ever see a natural Akoya pearl fresh from the oyster most are bluish or grey with a few creamy and white - so they take A LOT of treatment to achieve the final look.

Its very hard to detect pearl treatments but by inspecting the drill hole we can usually tell if the pearl has been dyed or not, bleaching, heating etc. isn't really detectable.
 

iLander

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2010
Messages
6,731
Arcadian, I have what I think are unbleached Akoyas that my great-aunt got in Japan in the 1930's. They are very creamy colored, so much so that I really didn't recognize what the heck they were! Here's some pics:

[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/mystery-pearls.157106/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/mystery-pearls.157106/[/URL]

Sarah at Kojima looked at my pics when I emailed her, and she thinks that is what they are too.

I love the look myself, I would like to have more of them one day. :love:
 

Arcadian

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Sep 17, 2008
Messages
7,290
Those are really great looking Ilander. PearlsofJoy, would they have been dying that far back? I have a pearl necklace that belonged to my grandmother which are maybe a bit lighter than Ilanders (they need a restringing so bad!!) but are very creamy in their color. The appraisal report called them 'natural pearls' as opposed to cultured. There's a bit of family history behind that strand. When I can stop crying every time I look at the darn things, I'll get them restrung with a new appraisal report. The old appraisal was from 1974 if I remember correctly.

-A
 

PearlsOfJoy

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 26, 2011
Messages
88
Arcadian|1306964440|2935671 said:
Those are really great looking Ilander. PearlsofJoy, would they have been dying that far back? I have a pearl necklace that belonged to my grandmother which are maybe a bit lighter than Ilanders (they need a restringing so bad!!) but are very creamy in their color. The appraisal report called them 'natural pearls' as opposed to cultured. There's a bit of family history behind that strand. When I can stop crying every time I look at the darn things, I'll get them restrung with a new appraisal report. The old appraisal was from 1974 if I remember correctly.

-A
To be honest I don't have much experience with vintage pearls so I can't say for sure but I do not believe any pearls from the 30's would be dyed golden/dark cream as this color wasn't as desirable as lighter variations. I have also heard reports of vintage pearls "yellowing" over time, so your pearls could have been lighter when first purchased. But as I said vintage pearls aren't really my area.
 

4Ranch Girl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Messages
1,498
In the description you will find that the pearls are natural and not treated. I read the discription of several but here is just one.

6.5-7.0 mm Multicolor Exotic Freshwater Pearl Necklace
Item Code: FXN110M

We are very proud to introduce this new line of The pearls are exotic, metallic freshwater pearls for the first time. These pearls are the result of months of collecting only the most perfect, metallic freshwater pearls.round, with exquisite reflective luster and exotic natural colors.

The colors and luster found in these pearls are natural, and not a product of treatment. Each pearl is individually knotted on silk, and each strand is finished with a solid, 14-karat clasp.
 
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