Tell Us Your Story! What Are These Pearls?

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I am hoping you can tell me something about the pearls in the attached photograph.


My mother recently passed away at age 90. She had this pearl necklace before I was born when she was 20. I am not trying to determine the monetary value of this necklace, just maybe something about this type of pearl. The necklace is about 62″ long. Sterling silver chain, no clasp. The pearls look very rough. Yet they seem to have never lost their lustre. The necklace had been kept put away in a jewelry box for probably the last 20 years. I remember her telling me that it was of great value to her. For me, the value is sentimental. I would like to take this piece to a jeweler to have the silver cleaned and polished and to probably have the pearls cleaned too, if that is something that you would recommend. I have someone I can trust to do that for me. However, before doing that I am wondering if you might know anything about the pearls shown.

I wear this piece occasionally. It is one of several older pieces of jewelry that my mother owned that bring back very fond memories for me. I am a June baby and pearls are my birthstone. I have a very nice cultured pearl choker that my mother’s mother gave me for my high school graduation. I keep it tucked away and wear it on very special occasions. While I save my cultured pearl necklace for special occasions, I find that the necklace shown is something that I choose to wear more often, at least at the moment. It is definitely a sentimental thing. I also have some freshwater pearl jewelry, necklaces and bracelets with small almost bed like pearls and a pair of dangle earrings. They are something that has been purchased or given to me as a gift in the last 20 or 30 years.

Learning something about these pearls or even this style of necklace would be fun for me. Unfortunately, the photo I have submitted is about as good as I can get with my cell phone. If you need something that is more close up, I can see about having someone take a picture with a good camera with zoom lens.

I am interested to learn what you might know about this piece. I may be wrong, but I think it is very unique and I have never seen one like it before and have searched the internet looking for something similar. Is it unusual? Have you seen other pieces like this?

This is my favorite piece of pearl jewelry.



Hi Betsy!

Thanks so much for reaching out to us! I am so happy you found us online! What are these pearls?

Unfortunately, I do not have much info for you! I have seen pearls like this in the past, same size and shape and they had maintained their luster but they were imitation pearls. I feel like I want to jump to that conclusion in this case but it is just impossible to say without touching them or seeing them in a better image. So, do some investigating…. put your teeth on them, do they feel gritty when you rub your teeth on them? Sometimes I know if might be tough when the pearls are bumpy so the other idea is to go by weight. Do they feel heavy or light? Although not all imitation pearls are lightweight, it is a good indicator that when they are super light, they are most likely fake.

Now, if they are real, I would love to do some digging. Do you have any info about where she got the pearls or from whom?

Thanks for reaching out! Let’s keep chatting!




Hey India,

Good morning. Thanks for getting back to me. I did rub them on my teeth (forgot from years ago that this was one thing to try) and they do have a rough feel to them. That being said, my mother who passed away in June at the age of 90 told me years ago that these were a gift from her father and that they were real. I know this may or may not be true.

My grandfather died in 1968 at the age of 88. He was the youngest of 7 children born to Scottish immigrants. My grandfather was the only child to be born in the U.S. He was born I believe in New Jersey, but for most of his younger life lived in Colorado. My grandfather was a chemist by education and later became a salesman for I think it was BF Goodrich. As a salesman he traveled quite a bit. So it is anybody’s guess where these might have come from.

I wish there were some way for my to track this down, but quite frankly my mother was the oldest of 4 children. All but the youngest have passed away. So for me, the origin of these may remain one of the great mysteries of life. As I said in my previous email, I am not so much worried about the monetary value as just trying to figure out when and where they may have come from. One thing that is interesting to note is that the chain has no clasp. I wondered if that was something that might be more indicative of the age?



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