Pearl necklace - x-rayed

All: I have a three strand pearl necklace from an estate, the
Original Owner lived in a castle in Germany and was an
importer/exporter in the early 1900’s. the pieces I have were the
personal items of his wife. There is a strong possibility that these
are genuine natural pearls. What I need is advice on how to go about
getting them x-rayed and evaluated and appraised. I need very Honest
upright and etc. I would hate to loose the real thing and not
even know it. Thank you all in advance for your help. Art Smith

Dear Art, Getting them X-rayed should not be too hard. Your personal
Physcian should have access and usually if you pay for the X-ray it
should not be a problem. Also any Veternarian or Dentist can do it.

In the X-ray you should be able to see if they look like a "M & M"
candy, that is a bead inside of a coating (nacre), which would mean
that they would be cultured. If not, then you have a natural pearl.
You must then determine if they are freshwater or saltwater. Usually
saltwater pearls tend to have a denser nacre and here you will need

If you truly have natural saltwater pearls on your hands, they are
very valuable, since no more natural saltwater pearls are being
harvested in quanities enough to produce pearls strands. In Bahrain,
they have resorted to restringing old strands (possibly like the one
you recovered) into more contemporary designs.

As to who could help you with the appraisal, I do not know where you
are, however you could contact the International Pearl Society and
possibly they could refer you to someone in your area.

Good luck and please post any info you uncover as I would be
interested in hearing more about your quest.

Suzanne Boschen

You need to get the pearls to a reputable gem lab first and I would
tend to suggest the GIA Gem Trade Labs as the best in the field. The
issue of evaluation or appraisal is a different matter. For that you
need to go to a qualified appraiser who will take the information
supplied by the gem lab and research current values. I have found
that auction houses will have the best idea of value on old pieces
like this as they are actually selling them on a regular basis.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

Art, Suggest you send them to GIA’s gem trade lab. They will tell you
if the pearls are natural or cultured, but will not appraise them. If
GIA certifies them natural I’d recommend you take them to a
professional appraiser. Jerry in Kodiak

Suzanne, I was under the assumption that you could use dental x rays
for pearls also.I took a very old strand of pearls to my dentist and
he x-rayed them for me (Free).Then I found out that the density of
human teeth is different than the density of pearls.So the x-ray at
the Dr office is not really set up to x-ray pearls.They x-ray but all
with the same results cultured or natural.GIA is set up to x-ray
pearls(not free)Someone told me they are immersed when x-rayed for
some reason.Keep flossing Regards J Morley Coyote Ridge Studio