Willyn Villarica Jewelry

Are Pearls Pawnable in the Philippines?

Pawning is a crucial financial resource for many Filipinos. It’s a source of immediate cash for emergencies such as medical bills, tuition fees, or urgent home repairs.

One popular question, however, is if pearls are pawnable in the Philippines. The answer to this is IT DEPENDS. Many factors need to be considered when it comes to appraising pearls and, unfortunately, not all pawnshop operators or their appraisers have the necessary training to distinguish whether the pearl is a common freshwater pearl or the more expensive saltwater pearls.

In this blog post, we explore the regulations, market dynamics, and practical considerations of pawning pearls in the Philippines. Together, let’s discover the potential of turning pearls into liquid assets in the local pawnbroking landscape.

Can Pearls Be Used as Collaterals?

Yes, pearls can be used as collateral but this only holds true for saltwater pearls.  Even then, not all pawnshops readily accept saltwater pearls as collateral or security for a loan. If you’re unable to repay the loan, the lender can keep the pearl as compensation. 

It’s essential to understand the terms and conditions of the loan agreement thoroughly. Always ensure you’re comfortable with the terms before using pearls or any valuable item as collateral.

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How Much is the Average Value of Pearls in the Philippines?

Saltwater pearls hold a significant value in the Philippines, both culturally and economically. The average value of saltwater pearls in the Philippines can vary widely depending on several factors such as type, size, color, luster, and origin Generally, pearls cost from PHP 5,700 to PHP 7.7 million. 

Here is a breakdown of how much is the average value of saltwater pearls depending on the type.

Tahitian Pearls

Tahitian pearls, known for their dark colors, can start at prices below PHP 14,000 for lower-quality ones. However, fine-quality Tahitian pearls can command prices of around PHP 2 million.

Akoya Pearls

Akoya pearls are classic round white pearls. They may range from below PHP 5,700 for low quality to PHP 345,000 or more for fine quality.

South Pearls 

South Sea pearls are valued for their radiant sheen, superb quality, and scarcity. They range from below PHP 11,500 for low quality to PHP 7.7 million or more for fine quality.

Natural Saltwater Pearls

Natural saltwater pearls cost around PHP 28,700 to PHP 115,000. They’re incredibly rare due to their formation process, which occurs naturally in saltwater oysters. 

Can a Pawn Shop Tell If Pearls Are Real?

Yes, a pawn shop can often tell if pearls are real, but distinguishing whether the pearls are freshwater or saltwater is another matter.  Here are some of the things pawnshop operators and appraisers consider when examining the genuineness of pearls:

Surface Inspection

Pawnbrokers carefully examine the surface of pearls for any imperfections, as real pearls typically have slight irregularities like tiny bumps or ridges. These natural blemishes are indicative of genuine pearls and help pawnbrokers assess their authenticity.

Tooth Test

They conduct the “tooth test” by gently rubbing the pearl against their teeth. Real pearls have a slightly gritty texture due to the layers of nacre, whereas imitation pearls lack this characteristic. This tactile examination aids pawnbrokers in distinguishing between real and fake pearls.

Luster Evaluation

Pawnbrokers also assess the luster of pearls under light. Genuine pearls exhibit a soft, glowing sheen caused by light reflecting off the layers of the nacre. In contrast, imitation pearls often lack this natural luster, appearing dull or artificial. By scrutinizing the quality of luster, pawnbrokers can further verify the authenticity of pearls.

Heft and Heat Test

Real fresh and saltwater pearls are heavy compared to their fake counterparts.  When you hold a loose pearl in your hand with a slightly closed fist, it tends to stick to your palms and doesn’t bounce around as much. During this heft test, the temperature of the pearl is also noted.  Imitation pearls tend to retain heat, unlike real pearls, which stay cool to the touch.

What are the Factors Affecting Pearl’s Pawnability?

Here are the factors that contribute to saltwater pearls’ pawnability:

Pearl Quality

Pearl quality directly impacts pawnability. Pawnbrokers prefer high-quality pearls, featuring smooth surfaces and vibrant luster, which secure better loan terms. Conversely, pearls with imperfections or dull luster are seen as less valuable, resulting in less favorable loan conditions. 

Market Demand

Pawnbrokers are likely to accept pearls as collateral and provide better loan terms in areas where they are popular for jewelry or cultural use. Conversely, in regions with lower demand, pawnbrokers may hesitate or offer lower loans due to limited resale potential. Understanding these market dynamics is key to assessing pearl pawnability in a specific area.

Appraisal Expertise

Experienced professionals accurately assess pearl quality, authenticity, and market value, leading to fair loan evaluations. Conversely, inexperienced pawnbrokers may undervalue pearls, resulting in suboptimal loan offers. Entrusting pearls to knowledgeable pawnbrokers enhances pawnability and ensures fair treatment in the pawn process.

Economic Conditions

During economic downturns, pawnbrokers may offer lower loans against pearls to manage risk. In stable economic conditions, pawnbrokers may be more willing to accept pearls as collateral and provide higher loan amounts.

Tips for Pawning Pearls

If you’re considering pawning pearls, here are some tips we recommend to help maximize their value:

Assess Pearl Quality

Evaluate the pearls’ quality by inspecting their surface smoothness, luster, and shape. High-quality pearls with smooth surfaces and vibrant luster are preferred by pawnbrokers, leading to better loan terms. In contrast, pearls with imperfections or dull luster may result in less favorable loan conditions.

Research Local Market Demand

Understand the demand for pearls in your local market before pawning them. In areas where pearls are highly sought after, pawnbrokers may offer better terms. However, in regions with lower demand, pawnbrokers may be less willing to accept pearls or offer lower loan amounts.

Choose Experienced Pawnbrokers

Select pawnbrokers with expertise in pearl appraisal to ensure fair evaluations and favorable loan terms. Experienced professionals accurately assess pearl quality, authenticity, and market value, leading to better loan offers. Entrusting pearls to knowledgeable pawnbrokers enhances pawnability and ensures fair treatment in the pawn process.

Discover Your Pearls’ True Value with Willyn Villarica Jewelry

Pawning pearls in the Philippines is a viable option for those in need of financial assistance. Pawnshops and certain financial institutions accept pearls as collateral, so it’s crucial to deeply understand their value and pawnability. 

If you’re seeking to learn more about the value of your pearls, look no further than Willyn Villarica Jewelry. We offer jewelry appraisal services that can accurately assess the quality, authenticity, and market value of your pearls.

Our in-house expert, Ms. Willyn Villarica, leads our dedicated team and is highly esteemed by both the Gemological Institute of America and the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers—both recognized authorities in jewelry appraisal.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to discover the value of your charming pearls today. Take note that while we offer our services worldwide, clients are responsible for covering all travel expenses.

To learn more, book an appointment now or contact us via email at willynvillarica@willynvillaricajewelry.com. You can also message us through our Facebook (Willyn Villarica Jewelry) or Instagram (@willynvillarica_jewelry) accounts.

  • Willyn Villarica

    Willyn Villarica, a third-generation jeweler from the Philippines, brings a wealth of expertise to the world of gemology and jewelry appraisal. As a licensed Graduate Gemologist, accredited by the prestigious Gemological Institute of America, she is not only a master of her craft but also holds the distinction of being the first Filipino member of the National Associ...

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