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Pearl Education - Please enter your jewelry question or comment. > Hanadama Pearls

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Beware Hanadama and non-GIA classified Akoya pearls
02-02-2012, 10:43 AM

I am writing about my experience I had recently with two companies. The focus of my negativity is more on the whole Hanadama classification of pearls rather than a specific retailer, since it seems many places sell Hanadama pearls. I have, in the past, purchased pearls from a local retailer and was always happy with their quality. I decided that for Valentines day I would try looking online for something. I went to a few of the popular websites that appear when you search in Google and browsed their selections. ALL of them promoted Hanadama pearls that they sold as the pinnacle of quality and perfection, and they were also the most expensive. Being a person who lives by the motto "You get what you pay for" I decided Hanadama pearls are what I had to order.

I ended up ordering a pair of Akoya Hanadama studs 8.5-9.5mm from [name of merchant removed] and began reading more as I waited for them to arrive. This is when I first began to suspect that I made a mistake. I learned that Pearl Science Laboratories, which certifies Hanadama pearls, is just a small private lab in Japan, and other issues such as the BEST level of imperfection on their certificate is "Very Slightly". Very slightly imperfect is the best??

When I got the earrings I was very disappointed. First of all they came in a cheap jewelry box that I would have been embarrassed to give to my girlfriend. I thought "Ok, I will just buy another box somewhere." But then I looked the pearls, and I am no expert, but they were awful. Both of them had one or two dimples in the surface, as well as other instantly-noticeable surface imperfections that I would even feel with my fingers. I sent them back immediately for a refund.

This is when I really began to read about pearl classification systems and discovered that there is a GIA Cultured Pearl Classification system. Since I have purchased diamonds in the past and I am familiar with the trusted GIA this made me very happy. I searched for an online retailer of GIA classified pearls and found American Pearl.

I explained my issue to them and ordered another pair of studs, the highest quality they sell which is Collection Quality, and they were literally in the mail within an hour. Eddie, the CEO, was the one answering all of my questions and helping me with unheard of promptness, because I explained that after I receive the earrings I have to send them in the mail again and would like them to arrive by Valentines day.

I am writing this before I have received the pearls, and I will write a follow-up when they arrive. Judging from the experiences everyone else has had with American Pearl, I am sure I will not be disappointed.

I am sure the other retailers have qualities too, but just be careful purchasing Hanadama pearls sold online at a discounted rate.

Last edited by pearleducation; 02-02-2012 at 03:34 PM.
SanDiegoGuy is offline  
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Hanadama Pearl Clarity
02-04-2012, 11:14 AM

Thanks for your feedback and thank you for bringing Clarity to this. The real issue is the term "hanadama" and the fact that it is not a guarantee of quality as many consumers have been reading on pearl websites when they are looking to buy pearls. As you know, this Pearl | Education forum is sponsored by American Pearl and we have been saying this for a long time. The fact that you learned about this independently is proof of what I have been talking about. To be fair, though, another customer who posted in this forum pointed out that "hanadama" can end up being a good pearl but there is no guarantee.

Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to post a picture of your pearls in this section called "Show Off Your Pearls"

Thanks for sharing SanDiegoGuy!
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