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As for deals. There are plenty of pearl shops on the islands where one can negotiate the price down with the proprietor...and of course one can buy directly from the source at a pearl farm (as I have done), but generally prices are going to be pretty similar wherever one goes. There isn't really a location where prices are going to be significantly cheaper (or at wholesale cost) for someone making small quantity purchases. Much like precious stones, the prices are directly based upon the size/grading scale.
As for getting ripped off. Most licensed dealers are legit, and one would likely be best served making their purchases from them. A person could however still get ripped off by paying too much to a street vendor for a lesser quality pearl.
For each nice higher quality single 10-11 mm pearl, expect to pay around $150-$175 USD.
2014 Sapphire Princess - Mexico
2013 Emerald Princess - Southern Caribbean Medley
2013 Star Princess - Alaska/Glacier Bay
2010 Royal Princess - Tahiti and French Polynesia
2009 Caribbean Princess - Southern Caribbean
Last edited by Skai; March 27th, 2012 at 07:13 AM.
The Majorca pearls remember are made up of crushed shells with a center core.
Tahitian pearls are actual pearls with a core seed. They come in greens blacks silver and off white sort of champagne.
Many years ago I learned about a company in Papatee and I think in Moorea name Pia Mona pearls. They spent and hour or two teaching us about nacre (the glow on the pearl crust) sizes colour shape and how they are priced accordingly.
He made me a beautiful necklace with three pearls of different colours that we chose at a reasonable price for the quality. Go on line and learn about what you want to pay, for meaning what is important for the price you are willing to pay.
I know this year it is going to be earings for me and my daughter in law.
If you are going via Paul Gauguin, they had a couple of different seminars about pearls and how they are graded.
As far as where to buy? Tahia Collins had some nice settings...they were also fairly expensive. Robert Wan seems to be making his $$ by setting the pearls that are not perfect in interesting ways! There was a vendor on the PG private motu who had some nice pieces. One place I saw some interesting pieces, but did not buy since I had already gone over my budget, was Island Fashion on Moorea. They were very nice and helpful there as well.
I can vouch for Island Fashion. I have bought a few pearls over the years from him and at least visit him to say hi when we go over. He will give the soft sell and not hard sell.
If you buy a large item - like a strand or an expensive necklace they will usually give you 5-10 percent. This is true even on the PG though they just gave me 7%.
Someone posted about the pearl cooperative in Bora Bora that sells them at a good price. I cannot visit as I have promised my DH - No pearls.
I love the keishis more than the perfect pearls though I do love my strand from Tahia Collins. The best thing about Tahaitian pearls is that no one really knows their value so you can wear them everywhere as people are likely to think that they are chinese or imitations!
Robert Wan has all kinds. DD bought two pearl necklaces - single/double pearl on leather which she loves at something like $125 each - a nice memento without the high cost. I got some unusual pearl earrings from him last year - large with an interesting shape for 500.
Basically you can buy Tahaitian pearls for $20 to 100,000. It depends on what you fancy and want to pay.