What’s It Worth? Large Akoya Pearls

Pearls are one of the oldest gemstones known to man and were highly praised in ancient cultures. The value of pearls is complicated. There are simulated, cultured and natural pearls and valuation is affected by size, nacre and luster as well as color variation. While most common smaller pearl strands are valued at $50-$200, a natural pearl strand can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Akoya pearls over 8 mm are the most difficult to nucleate because these small oysters often reject the large bead. Akoya pearls in the 9-10 mm range are extremely rare and often extremely valuable.

The above necklace is on consignment from a well-known Tampa Bay-area socialite who entrusted us to sell it for her. Because of its length, fine quality and large 18K gold and amethyst clasp, we put the fair market value in the $6,000-$8,000 range. It would appraise at retail for much more.

We have several graduate gemologists at Old Northeast Jewelers. Two of them — including Katrina — hold the scarce GIA pearl graduate certificate.

Comments, questions or suggestions for this column, please send to jeffreyphess@aol.com.

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