The question came in to Ask The Appraiser and I thought it would be very relevant, so I have added it here.
Pearl Necklace Question:
I am trying to get an idea on the value of a pearl necklace that has been handed down to me from my grandmother.
It was purchased around 1905 in New York City, USA. It is of very good quality, 18 inches long with each white pearl being approximately 7mm in width.
I very much appreciate your time.
Thank you, Eileen
Here’s My Answer:
G’day Eileen and many thanks for your query.
The Valuation of Pearls is generally considered to be MORE complex then the appraisal of ANY OTHER TYPE of jewelry – including Diamonds.
This is one of the MOST asked about subjects, and is also one of the few items we CANNOT do at the Jewelry Appraisal Center.
NOT YET ANYWAY – BUT IT’S COMING…
We have had a special online appraisal form under beta testing for some time, but like Opals, Pearls are not standardized in the same sort of way other gemstones are calculated.
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The reason become quite clear when you think about peals. Not only do they have to be classified by size, but the SHAPE, COLOR, LUSTRE, any blemishes on the surface, and finally (especially for strings of pearls) there is the question of EACH pearl having to match.
Phew! No wonder they are hard to evaluate.
I won’t go into the way Gemologist/Valuers like myself go through a Pearl Appraisal, but just let me confirm – IT’S REALLY REALLY HARD!
I would suggest you take it to your local FRIENDLY jeweler and have them do a full gemological and written appraisal for you, and while they are at it, maybe do a complete check on the stringing, clasps and general condition and treatment of your necklace.
Yes, I know it’s going to cost, but at least then you will have WRITTEN PROOF of what you have in the event of them being lost or stolen, together with a full check over of the gems too.
It’s easy to forget that we have our cars serviced each year, but forget to have our jewelry checked over. Pearls in particular are VERY susceptible to all sorts of damage over time, so need a good examination and restringing etc – at least every five to ten years or so. Don’t become a ‘Victim of Loss’ and leave it too late.
Sorry I can’t be more helpful. The best you can do is a comparison shop by looking in your Shopping Mall Jewelers window or even browsing through eBay and the like. The Antique Jewelry Fair at http://www.antique-jewelry-fair.com/ occasionally has Vintage jewelry on offer.
Remember though, that the second-hand price has NOTHING to do with the Appraisal value, which is quite a different thing. It is much better to use our Jewelry Appraisals Online software system to get an accurate description and even a photo if possible to help identify your jewelry.
If you have any other problems or queries, please don’t hesitate to contact me personally at this website.
Kind regards. David