Imitation Pearls Defined
Imitation pearls are products produced to simulate the appearance of cultured or natural pearls but do not possess same natural chemical composition or physical properties of cultured or natural pearls. Imitation pearls are man-made or man-worked faux pearls.
Imitation Pearls Are Manufactured
Imitation pearls are artificial, manufactured "pearls". As such, they have no real value as a gemstone. Imitation pearls can be made from glass, ceramic, shell or even plastic. The bead is then coated with varnish and/or other materials in order to produce a pearl-like luster and iridescence.
Imitation Pearls Must Be Labeled As Such
Imitation pearls are generally marketed under descriptive terms such as "faux," "simulated," "artificial," or "man-made." Sometimes regional names are also used: "Mallorca pearls," "Red Sea pearls," "Laguna pearls," etc. In the United States, it is considered a deceptive trade practice to market imitation pearls without clearly identifying them as such.
The Tooth Test Will Tell You If It?s An Imitation Pearl
A common test to determine whether a pearl is genuine or imitation consists of scraping the pearl gently across one's teeth. Imitation pearls feel smooth to the tooth, while genuine pearls feel slightly gritty or abrasive due to the crystalline structure of the nacre.
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