Chapter 3

Chapter 3 of Pearls A Practical Guide is all about the basics of how to buy pearls, what criteria, where to go, and how to tell real pearls from fake pearls (including how to tell when real pearls are made to look like more expensive pearls)

Sieving pearls is a quick and effective way to sort sizes – and the sound is distinctive. Here white half drilled freshwater buttons are being sorted into 0.5mm boxes

It sounds like a dream come true to a pearl lover to be let loose in a wholesalers office but believe me, selecting from such a huge supply isn’t always easy and after a day sitting staring at pearls I can barely see straight.Each bag will contain strands which are all within an 0.5mm size range, the same colour and same A-AAA classification. Your challenge is to find the one or two which are at the top of that range

Bags and bags of undrilled single pearls as well as strands. Thousands of pearls in some of these bags. Sometimes you want pairs of a type. You can sit for hours going through a whole bagful to find pairs or buy a scoop by weight to pair up back at your own office. Either way it’s eye-straining and painstaking work

Tahitian pearls? Nope. Freshwater pearls dyed ‘Tahitian’ black Still nice round and shiny pearls, well matched. Would make nice earrings.

Tahitian Black is a common descriptor on eBay. It is used to mislead the unwary.

Believe it or not these were the pearls I received when I bought some gold south sea pearls from ebay as a curiousity.

They are about as low as any pearls could get in quality and are freshwaters.

Poor things

My daughter’s cat demonstrates how to do the tooth test to check if these pearls are real..