Caveat emptor – buyer of pearls beware

Some of the internet is awash with rubbish pearls. (Not of course!) (Yes, I would say that) The problem we have with these rubbish pearls is that people see Tahitian pearls for a tenner on eBay and wonder why we have strands for £3k. While I was at the London Assay office a week or so ago I took the opportunity to check up on some clasps which we had recently acquired. Last month we decided to do a little research and buy some pearls off eBay and off Aliexpress. We chose ripple pearls as they are the pearls currently hot in fashion terms so likely to attract all manner of sellers.

Ripples seem to be described either as Kasumi pearls (which they are not) or as nuclear (presumably a mistranslation of nucleated). We forgave the latter but not the former. Along the way we also bought a couple more strands which looked interesting.

Without exception the pearls in no way measured up to their (stock) photos (which appeared in many different listings at different prices). They were invariably of poor colour, smaller, with many flaws and generally worth very little. Some, which had been sold as finished necklaces, were a total mis-sell since the silver and gold clasps were plated – and this was inarguable since they have been checked at the Assay office itself.

For example, these sorry pearls were described as south sea pearls…They are big, but they are clearly nucleated freshwater circley pearls, with some satiny lustre but with a preponderance of nasty chalky areas and some ear wax yellow colour splodges instead of the deep gold of the photo. The clasp was plated and to add insult the silk was too thin and the knotting slack. Poor things

mis-sold pearls

poor things – note the complete lack of any lustre in the base of the pearl at 9

Others in the world of pearls spot freshwaters dyed to resemble Tahitians and south sea pearls with varying degrees of success on these websites.

fake tahitian pearls

Listed on eBay as I write this entry – for £6.70..or £7.10 from another seller or 0.01p in an auction from a third

So..buyers beware. Most pearls I have seen on eBay and other mass selling sites are rubbish. There are a few honest sellers on them, swimming against a strong tide, but no-one is going to sell a. Tahitian pearl necklace with a gold clasp for a tenner.

So, what happened to the pearls and clasps we bought? In the bin

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