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Subject: Pearl


From: Jack Ogden <jack>
Date: Sunday, January 11, 2004
Deborah Rohan <deborah.rohan [at] cambridgeshire__gov__uk> writes

>This is a query on behalf of someone not on the DistList.
>    A Victorian gold and enamel brooch has lost the pearl in its
>    centre, a small, off-round baroque pearl rather larger than a
>    grain of barley. Our local jeweller has told us that he cannot
>    obtain exactly this size and shape; the nearest he has are small
>    oval baroque cultured pearls which are bought in strings. Each
>    pearl is pierced through the long axis, instead of half-pierced
>    in the centre, as the original pearl was. One is approximately
>    the right shape and size, but the holes would show if it were
>    set on the brooch, and I would rather find a more suitable
>    match. Is there a conservator of jewellery who would know of a
>    source for one or two-off (keeping a spare would make sense)
>    pearls of this sort in the U.K.?

The pearl originally set in the brooch would be a natural pearl.

There are an infinite number of Chinese and other cultured
pearls--including those little 'Rice Crispie' fresh water
pearls--available but these are pretty well all imported ready
drilled and in strings. They are cheap (from a few pounds a row
upwards) but trying to get a one-off undrilled one might be tricky.
As you are in the Cambridge area, have you tried Cellini
Jewellers--they are actually serious pearl specialists with, I
believe,  direct Chinese links.

On the other hand, it would be better to replace it with a natural
rather than cultured pearl. Few folk handle natural pearls these
days and again seeking out a small one-off might not be easy. One of
the few specialists around is Peter Truman in Hatton Garden--if you
email me off list I'll give you his phone number--he might have
something. Good luck,

Jack Ogden

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:50
                 Distributed: Tuesday, January 20, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-17-50-006
Received on Sunday, 11 January, 2004

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