pearls

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chelsie22 wrote
on Oct 23, 2010 4:34 PM

how do you know if you are bying real pearls?? when they say fresh water pearls, are they real??

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MysticP wrote
on Oct 23, 2010 5:09 PM

Chelsie, for the most part vendors will tell you what they're selling. There are a few things you can look at.

First of all, perfectly round real pearls are going to be seriously expensive, so if you see a strand of perfect round pearls for $2, you can pretty much bet that they're glass. Also, with most glass pearls, if you look around the drill hole you can see that they've been painted or coated.

There's the old trick of rubbing a pearl against your tooth ... if it feels smooth, it's glass. Real pearls will have a grainy, sandy feel when you rub it against a tooth. I don't know that the proprietor of a store would be crazy about you doing that, LOL, but it IS one of the old tricks out there.

Fresh water pearls will tend to have slightly irregular shapes, and they shapes are usually not called round ... they're called button shaped, rice shaped, pear shaped, etc.

I hope this helps!

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chelsie22 wrote
on Oct 24, 2010 9:48 AM

yes it does help a lot, do people making necklace usually use real pearls?

 

thanks

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JSmaz wrote
on Oct 24, 2010 12:17 PM

Freshwater (cultured) pearls are real pearls, they're just helped along by humans.  Since naturally occurring pearls are relatively rare, pearl farmers insert an object into a mollusk, which irritates them into secreting nacre around it, thereby forming the pearl.

Better quality will always be more expensive, but you can make nice jewelry with inexpensive ones.  Even glass pearls are much better quality today than they were years ago for the most part.  I rather like the fact that pears come in some odd natural shapes-makes for interesting design possibilities.

Hope that helps!

Jeni

Oklahoma City

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CryssT wrote
on Oct 30, 2010 11:56 PM

i usually use pearls when i am making a wedding set and for that i use the Swarovski pearls which are imitation.  i also use freshwater pearls from time to time. 

i have one necklace of 'pearls' - when my folks where having their 25th anniversary, i took in my Dad's watch chain and had the jeweler add 5 pink pearls in between the links. the jeweler thought it was a neat idea and our Mom loved it - that was back in 1973.

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Evalie wrote
on Oct 31, 2010 6:39 PM

Chelsie,

It looks like everyone pretty much answered your question about 'real' pearls. I have a 'thing' for pearls, and have a few drawers of my bead cabinet filled with them. I love the fact that they are all shapes, sizes, and colors ( usually colors are created by coating them, while white ones are usually bleached ). I think they can look both casual or elegant depending on the color or the design, and the only thing you usually have to take into account is they tend to have TINY holes ! If they appeal to you too......just try them....just be careful not to let them rub together too much in a design, as the coating can be worn away.

Evalie

Massachusetts Coast

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chelsie22 wrote
on Nov 1, 2010 7:15 PM

thanks for all the replies, does anyone ever woked with nuggets peals, they look a bit like a pillow, very gorgeous

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on Feb 20, 2011 9:42 AM

I like Moira's advise too! Very helpful about the teeth rubbing..a bit silly but I like using pearls and real ones would be nice.

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DebWAZ wrote
on Feb 20, 2011 3:25 PM

melinda.sanchez:

I like Moira's advise too! Very helpful about the teeth rubbing..a bit silly but I like using pearls and real ones would be nice.

My advice would be to buy pearls from a vendor you can trust to provide genuine/quality goods. Yes, the traditional test for whether a pearl is real is to rub it against your teeth. However, considering what the pearls go through from the time they leave the oyster until they reach the LBS and even after they are on sale in the LBS, the grossness factor would keep me from rubbing them on my teeth. As my mother said, "You don't know where they've been". Hundreds of hands, plus goodness knows what kinds of critters, have touched them, most of them being far from sanitary. EEEWWWW!

A healthier method is to rub the pearls together, gently. You will feel the grittiness through your fingers, without having to put the pearls in your mouth.

Deb

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on Feb 20, 2011 5:32 PM

I love using pearls in my work!  I use items found beachcombing so they help stick to a nautical feel.

The only thing I'd add to the advice given is if you find a deal - buy in bulk!!!!!!    They are so versatile I doubt you'll ever have "too many" just lying around :)

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Claudette48 wrote
on Feb 21, 2011 2:56 PM

Whoops, Deb!  I guess it would really gross you out if I told you that I have actually rubbed pearls on my teeth a a Garage Sale?  It is gross, but what are you going to do?  I do try to "scrub" space on my blouse and I do it very quick and don't think about it, but I have found some incredible finds that way!  You just have to be brave for the sake of the greater good - tee hee.

If you do use expensive pearls or want a classic, elegant look, than you knot them in between pearls.  There's a little tool you can buy and you need patience and concentration.  This protects the pearls from damage from rubbing together and to the average person makes it appear that you have a very expensive necklace worth perhaps $400.00 for freshwater to $1,200.00 or more for natural pearls (16" - 18").

If you like "knotting" you could have another income.  They're hard to find and charge a lot.  The cheapest I've found recently was $2.00 per knot, you pay for materials.  A typical necklace could cost $100.00 just for the knotting.

Of course, pearls can look great in many different designs and styles.

Have fun

Claudette

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DebWAZ wrote
on Feb 22, 2011 11:32 AM

Claudette,

LOL! We must've had different mothers together!

I've done the teeth thing at garage sales, too, with a "clean off" on the corner of my shirt before testing. When my kids were growing up, we used to use the old "5 second rule" for cookies that dropped on the floor, but I've heard a doctor a while back who said that any time anything (food, pills, etc.) hits the floor it is already contaminated. I think "Mythbusters" even had a segment with similar findings. I would guess that applies to even the fastest "quick test". Then again, we're exposed to jillions of germs every day, and they haven't managed to kill us off yet! <LOL>

Pearl knotting is a skill I recently taught myself. I've had to re-string/knot pearls for several customers and I have been charging $1 per inch until I got confident enough to be consistent. Now that I've got it down to a skill, rather than an education, I'm charging $2/inch, which is what one of the local jewelers charged before they retired. If they are tiny pearls, I'll probably add a few extra $$ as a "nuisance fee" for dealing with the tiny ones! <LOL>

You don't need a fancy tool to knot pearls well. I'm a low-tech kind of person and I've found that a pair of fine pointed tweezers does a fantastic job. I enjoy doing it, and that's something I never thought I'd hear myself say about knotting pearls, after nearly 7 years of avoiding the task! I have a 40+" continuous strand of vintage/antique black jet (or glass??) that has been knotted with cotton cord, but the thread between the beads has stretched and the knots are looking fuzzy, so I'm planning to re-knot it on silk "one of these days" - when I catch up on other projects.

Deb

Deb

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Claudette48 wrote
on Feb 22, 2011 11:52 AM

I feel like we're friends, even though we've never met and are states apart.  Some day . . .

I figure that a few garden variety germs won't hurt us near as much as the HUGE amount of synthetic and poisonous toxins we ingest every day.

May you have a joyous and prosperous year.

Claudette

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Claudette

Tip: To stop metal findings from tarnishing store in a ZIP Lock bag with a chunk of chalk.

amagnetaday

 

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jamberrysong wrote
on Mar 22, 2011 2:32 PM

DebWAZ:

A healthier method is to rub the pearls together, gently. You will feel the grittiness through your fingers, without having to put the pearls in your mouth.

 

I recommend this method or using your fingernails against the pearl. There can be high lead content in glass pearls, both in the glass itself and in the paint, especially if they are any kind of vintage. You do NOT want a flake of paint to chip off and then accidentally go down your throat. I'd be more worried about that than germs, truth be told.

Also, to answer the other question---there are two main types of "real" pearls: salt water and freshwater. Salt water pearls are made by oysters native to salt water and freshwater pearls are made by oysters native to freshwater areas. Most of both kinds of pearls are cultured these days, and natural pearls can be extraordinarily expensive. A pearl is the result of some kind of foreign object (called a "nucleus") that gets into the oyster's shell. To protect itself, the oyster builds up layers of an organic substance called nacre that hardens around the object so that it can't cause the oyster any harm. In cultured pearls, humans purposefully introduce an irritant into the oyster with the intent of farming pearls. Sometimes these irritants are even pre-shaped so that the pearls will come out looking like objects (the classic is little tiny Buddhas from China). Pearls can even be cultured along the edges of the inner part of the shell, depending on the type of oyster. Pearls can be treated or dyed to change their color; therefore, even though it may be bright neon green, it may still be a "real" pearl. As someone else mentioned, you can usually tell whether the pearl is freshwater or salt water by noting its texture. Freshwater pearls tend to have bulbous protrusions; they look bumpy, oddly shaped. Salt water pearls tend to be rounder and smoother to the eye. This is not always the case, though, and if in doubt, it's good to just ask your supplier.

You've probably seen keshi pearls around, too. These are pearls that were developed when the oyster thought there was an irritant, but either it didn't turn out to be anything or the oyster failed in creating its layers properly and rejected the nucleus, thus forming flat or concave shapes instead of round ones. They are also still "real" pearls.

I love pearls. Did you know they are one of the only gemstones in the world that are created by living organisms? Some other, comparable materials are amber (created by ancient trees) and coral (created by marine microorganisms). So fascinating!

:) - jams

 

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Claudette48 wrote
on May 30, 2011 1:07 PM

Pearls are yummy.  I don't care to wear them so much myself, but I love seeing women wearing them.  Very elegant and if you' are trying to prove to someone that you are successful, it is the easiest  way without saying a word.

Thank you for all the great info, Jamberry.

Mikimoto is presently selling necklace's of South Sea Pearls (cultured not natural) for one million dollars each.  Kokichi Mikimoto is the person that made pearl grafting the success it is today.

There are very few natural pearls as we have so contaminated our waters.  A natural pearl has no nucleus and each pearl must be x rayed for authenticity.  VERY EXPENSIVE.  Don't be tricked.  The average person will never be able to afford let alone touch a strand of natural pearls, no matter what the seller says.  They start at 100 thousand dollars.

There are Japanese pearl gathers that spend not only their lives but  generational ancestry to bring perfect pearls to the market place.   One such family spent centuries collecting the perfect plum pearl necklace.  They finally finished it a couple of years ago and it sold for 6 million dollars.

Colored pearls are predicated on the nutrients, chemicals, and temperature in the water at the time of growth.  Even cultured colored pearls can be very expensive.  A few months ago a tourist went to a regular restaurant in Orlando, FL, meaning he didn't buy the oysters to get the pearl, it was supposed to be just dinner.  Instead there was a plum pearl in one of his oysters, which he sold for 600 dollars.  Didn't pay for the trip, but it helped.

Namaste

Claudette

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Claudette

Tip: To stop metal findings from tarnishing store in a ZIP Lock bag with a chunk of chalk.

amagnetaday

 

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