Achieving a Perfect Grade

Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set

So after reviewing my two most recent fan-related acquisitions to which I lost my wallet to, I found myself a bit nostalgic for my gaming past. Since my last two reviews involved the Final Fantasy franchise (FFVII to be exact), I figured it would suit to reminisce a bit on another Final Fantasy-themed item I lost my wallet to several several years ago.

Shortly after Final Fantasy VIII for the PlayStation and PC was released in the States, Square aka Squaresoft (as the company was known at the time) released a limited run of jewelry pieces that were replicas of the various pieces of jewelry that the characters wore in the game.

Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set

In particular:

For the character Squall Leonhart, there was a full-sized replica of his Griever necklace. Along with it was a miniaturized replica of Revolver – his gunblade – on a keychain.

For the character Rinoa Heartilly, there was a full-sized replica of the silver Griever ring that Squall had given to her in the game strung on a silver ball chain.

Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set

During the limited time run of these jewelry pieces, there was also a limited edition run of 10,000 pieces of what is called the “Perfect Grade Necklace Set” that bundled up a .925 sterling silver Griever necklace along with the Revolver keychain and two trading cards all packaged together in a black jewelry display box.

As I had enjoyed the game immensely (it was my second ‘real’ exposure to Final Fantasy – second after FFVII), I made the decision to splurge on the Perfect Grade boxed set when I saw them first appearing on eBay. Being that I was (and still am) something of a fiend when it came to heavy, high quality sterling silver jewelry back in the day, it was a no-brainer for me to choose the sterling silver version over the non-sterling version.

I shopped around a bit and after I made my decision on which seller to buy from, I approached them and asked if they would consider putting up a Buy It Now auction for the price that their last Perfect Grade set had sold for. After some emailing, the seller decided to let me directly purchase the set from his website and within two days, I had the (very heavy!) boxed set in my hands.

Of course, I opened the box and… well, how about I let you see for yourself?

Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set

Fast forward ten years and I still have to marvel at the craftsmanship and quality of everything – especially the Griever replica.

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PRODUCT – 5+/5
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With a handsomely detailed sterling silver scaled-to-size pendant buffed to a super shine and super smooth finish paired with a super heavy and super thick matching chain, the Griever replica is more than on par with other fine sterling jewelry in terms of both aesthetics and quality.

The same intricacy and attention to detail is reproduced in the Revolver replica, though at this point, it shouldn’t be a surprise given the exactness of the Griever replica.

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PACKAGING: 4.5/5
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Lastly, the box itself is a great finishing touch as it serves as both a protective storage case and a protective display case for the necklace and keychain set (plus two official trading cards). With its velvety black inner jewelry card and satin-y white lid/door liners, the box’s quality and aesthetics is on par with the jewelry boxes that expensive fine jewelry gets packaged in.

The only thing that I don’t like about the box is its locking mechanism as it uses a snap-button to hold the two ‘doors’ closed. Perhaps a more solid locking mechanism could have been implemented as the snap-button implementation eventually broke on me. Considering how it has all the amenities and qualities of a classy jewelry box, why not use the snap-hinge mechanism that most jewelry boxes use?

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OVERALL – 5/5
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All in all, the Perfect Grade Necklace Set featuring an official sterling silver replica of Squall Leonhart’s Griever necklace and a mini replica of the Revolver gunblade was more than well worth the money I spent in terms of quality and value and the overall quality and craftsmanship has held extremely well over the last ten years.

Snap-button issue aside, the only noticeable change in quality has been with some of the coloration of the Revolver replica which, quite frankly, I expected owing to its metal composition. The Griever pendant on the other hand has stood up to ten years of wear and I haven’t had to do anything to it besides give it a nice polish with a silver polishing cloth to keep it looking like new. The only thing that has changed is that the thick O ring connecting the pendant to the chain has discolored a bit over the years, but that was/is to be expected owing to the metals used.

As an aside:

It might seem that I am making an excuse for the discoloration, but in fact, my statement has truth to it which professional jewelers and other metalworkers will attest to.

The fact of the matter is, as the pendant and chain are exceptionally heavy, the ring connecting the two MUST be strong enough to withstand the gravitational pull of both the pendant and the chain.

Sterling silver can NOT be used in such a case as sterling silver is considered to be a fairly a malleable metal even in its solid form and when used as an O ring or any other connector ring, will not be able to withstand a certain threshold of pressure without either stretching or breaking.

As its threshold is less than that of other more durable but perhaps less valuable metals, O rings and connector rings made of other metals are often used in conjunction with sterling silver pieces.

A different metal being used for the O ring, therefore, is not surprising to me and is even expected and so the resulting discoloration is also expected.

Considering I used to sell fine and bridge (sterling silver and simpler gold pieces, for those of you who have never heard the term) jewelry back in the day, I think I can say in good faith that I have a solid eye for these sorts of things – that I am able to say with confidence that I know quality and craftsmanship in jewelry when I see it…

Which brings me to my next post HERE entitled Knock It Off!

Over and out,
Aith

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