I have a special order from a regular customer who wants a pearl
necklace made for an engagement gift, black pearls about 9-10 mm,
full rounds. Normally I buy a fair number of half drilled pearls at
trade shows but usually just pick them by eye when I see the color
and luster I want. But there isn’t a trade show before he wants
this, nor do I usually buy ones of the quality he wants.
Without being able to hand pick them, what is a trustworthy source
of really fine black pearls? I showed him a page from the Rio
catalog of ones in that size in a dark lustrous blue-purple color
which sell for $175 a 16" strand wholesale, and he said those looked
good (Quote: “Those or better”, to be exact). I used the Rio catalog
because I needed something to show him to be sure of what he wanted:
nothing I had on hand was that good or the right color. I don’t
think of Rio as a pearl specialist, but maybe they ARE good.
Or can I get a better quality elsewhere at about the same cost or a
little more? I need to finish and deliver the necklace in about a