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  1. #16
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Pearl Dreams,

    Interesting about your personal experiences comparing them with Akoyas. Given that the company has been around since 1890, we can better understand why they were often the only "pearls" a woman had.
    Pattye


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  2. #17
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Pattye, they even give them pink and greenish "orient" that looks quite a bit like the pink and blue colors visible on Blair's amazing natural color hanadama strand photo in this thread: http://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3934. Cheaper imitations do not display that effect. The pseudo-orient is what is more garish on the newer ones, more nearly realistic on the older ones.

    But there are no true overtones, and each pearl looks exactly like its neighbor, which is not the case in a genuine cultured strand. Also, having a glass bead within, they are somewhat heavier than cultured pearls.

    Edited to add photo of my 10mm Majoricas:
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 05-21-2012 at 08:41 PM.

  3. #18

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    Majorica's can be very convincing. My grandfather gave my grandmother a double strand of "akoyas" for their tenth anniversary in 1954. My grandmother went her whole life believing my grandfather had given her real pearls. She was really proud of them and cherished them for years. They had a 18k gold and diamond clasp to boot (no majorica stamp--and was probably added by the jeweler that sold them to my grandfather). The fakes were good enough to fool my grandmother's jeweler (who was an authorized mikimoto reseller and actually knew pearls). He had given her a $3,800 appraisal for insurance purposes back in the '80's. We didn't find out they are fakes until after my grandmother died and there was a family fight over the distribution of her personal property, which required all of her jewelry to be appraised. So, in 2002, the pearls were appraised by someone that both knew pearls and had equipment that a jeweler wouldn't typically have. The professional appraiser could not determine whether the were real based on a typical hands on inspection alone (even with a loupe). They were convincing he actually had to have them x-rayed and inserted a fiber optic camera into the drill hole to make his determination. The report came back as imitation pearl of the highest quality, likely produced by majorica.

    If you go to POJ's site, they have a list of things to look for to spot fake pearls: http://www.pearlsofjoy.com/Fake-vs-R..._ep_101-1.html As a word of caution, this may be true in most cases, but these hands on tests would not work with my grandmother's majorica "pearls". The best vintage majoricas were all hand made (dipped), and they have similar irregularities in size and blemishes that you would find in the very high quality real pearls. They also weighed about the same as you would expect from real pearls, are cold to the touch and feel gritty when run across your teeth. The one consolation in that whole story is that really high quality imitation pearls are actually pretty valuable. Grandma's fake pearls were appraised for over $350 in 2002 (the clasp was worth a lot more than the "pearls"). I am sure when my grandpa bought that strand for grandma, he thought he was buying the real thing (maybe the jeweler who sold it them thought the same thing as well--I'd like to think so anyway). I can certainly see a couple of nepharious pearl dealers, buying top quality majorica pearls, sticking nice clasps on them and wholesaling them to jewelers and consumers that would no way to tell that they are fakes (at that time) without performing some destructive test (burining them or cutting them in half etc.), which few people are likely to try.
    Last edited by est190; 03-01-2012 at 05:08 PM.

  4. #19
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    I'd love to see some photos of vintage Majoricas... Anyone?
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  5. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caitlin View Post
    I'd love to see some photos of vintage Majoricas... Anyone?
    Caitlin, I just looked around online. It's hard to find legitimate "vintage" strands (versus, strands that are just used). Older Majorica's tend to have a creamier body color (they have gone white in recent years). As with real pearls, there are also different qualities for majorica pearls (although I don't know if there is an actual grading system). Some strands are finer than others. These look to be a "vintage" strands from what I can tell:









    Last edited by est190; 03-01-2012 at 10:46 PM.

  6. #21
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    The light wasn't good today, snowy here...when we have a brighter day I'll try my hand at a few photos.

    That rope in the photo above is quite striking.

    Edited to add neck shot taken later (10mm):
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 05-22-2012 at 03:06 AM.

  7. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl Dreams View Post
    The light wasn't good today, snowy here...when we have a brighter day I'll try my hand at a few photos.

    That rope in the photo above is quite striking.
    I am looking forward to seeing them. I like that rope too. My grandmothers was a very graduated strand--I don't remember the sizes, but if I had to guess I would say 5-8.5mm. Not a very current look, but it will come back into style one of these days.

  8. #23
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    It isn't that the Majorca factory is making whiter fakes now, it is that all these fakes go yellow in time, as if they had spent the years hanging from the ceiling of a room frequented by very heavy smokers. It may be the solvents - like varnish on old oil paintings

  9. #24
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Nerida's Avatar
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    Majorica isn't such a big brand here in Aus, but they are usually branded here as 'shell pearls' or 'shell based pearls' - obviously pearl-like, man made beads and not pearls at all.

    Pattye, I have seen ringed ones, 'baroque' ones, great strands made up of various shapes of baroque beads to look even more like the real deal, rice shaped ones, and drop shaped ones... there is a factory (I am sure more in China than Majorca) that will produce anything!
    That said, I have an old private customer of mine who has Pas pearls, loads of diamonds and gorgeous jewellery, who wore a 'shell based' strand to Royal Ascot - she was heading to London via visiting family in South Africa and wasn't keen to take any of her good jewellery with her! From the Royal Ascot photo, you wouldn't have known they were fakes at all...

  10. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by pearlescence View Post
    It isn't that the Majorca factory is making whiter fakes now, it is that all these fakes go yellow in time, as if they had spent the years hanging from the ceiling of a room frequented by very heavy smokers. It may be the solvents - like varnish on old oil paintings
    From what I understand, Majorca pearls can yellow with age, loose nacre and can dry out--similar to real pearls unless they are well cared for. That said, most vintage pearls (including most of the vintage Mikimoto's I see on eBay) also have a creamier body tone then we look for today. Morjica pearls were also made in a creamier tone up to match the look of the strands of real pearls being sold at the time. Ther went whiter in the past until 15 years though. I just read a site that explained the whole Majorca deal yesterday.. I'll see if I can find it and post a link.

  11. #26
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Nerida,

    Very interesting about your friend going to Royal Ascot! Yes, I feel the Majorica brand pearls are often used by wealthy women who prefer not to travel with their "real" pieces. They have their designers make copies using CZ and the Majorica pearls. The imitation pearls coming out of China are not near the quality of the actual Majorica branded pearls.

    Fine Jewelry at Nordstrom (mid 90's) carried some basic strands and earrings when I worked there and still does; I often admired them, because they were large, which I am drawn to, but I could never decide what color to purchase, gray, deep cream, white? The cream was much like pale golden SS. (At that time Miki's were Nordstrom's premier line, didn't buy them either, but did win a pair of studs.)

    When initially sold, it's clear these are imitation pearls, however on the secondary market is when the problem begins, or that Grandma has treasured and referred to them as "her pearls" for so long.
    Pattye


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  12. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by pattye View Post
    Nerida,

    Very interesting about your friend going to Royal Ascot! Yes, I feel the Majorica brand pearls are often used by wealthy women who prefer not to travel with their "real" pieces. They have their designers make copies using CZ and the Majorica pearls. The imitation pearls coming out of China are not near the quality of the actual Majorica branded pearls.

    Fine Jewelry at Nordstrom (mid 90's) carried some basic strands and earrings when I worked there and still does; I often admired them, because they were large, which I am drawn to, but I could never decide what color to purchase, gray, deep cream, white? The cream was much like pale golden SS. (At that time Miki's were Nordstrom's premier line, didn't buy them either, but did win a pair of studs.)

    When initially sold, it's clear these are imitation pearls, however on the secondary market is when the problem begins, or that Grandma has treasured and referred to them as "her pearls" for so long.
    Grandma's pearls were really outstanding knockoffs. I should note though that we don't know for a fact that they were majorica, just that they were imitation pearls of the highest quality and "likely" majorica.

    I was down in Florida last week for my brother-in-law's wedding and I went to the festival flea market (if anyone here is from southern florida, it seems like everyone knows the place). They had booth there which sold imitation pearls and featured majorica (all new, no vintage). I thought the imitation akoyas were very convincing as were some of the south seas. I was less bowled over by the Tahitians. The black and greys were decent copies, but they can't seem to get the peacock overtone right. It's a dead give away. In fact, I have yet to see any imitation pearl really capture the overtones you find on good tahitians. Even looking at the picture of the fake "akoya" set that started this thread, that looks darn good. If you put them in a different presentation box and changed the clasp, a lot of people wouldn't know the difference (I wonder if I could tell???)

  13. #28
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Majorica is the best known brand of high quality imitations, but there are others. Both Jackie Kennedy's and Barbara Bush's famous pearls were imitations made for them by Kenneth Jay Lane.

    Edit: I know some imitation pearls yellow over time (like my MIL's Prestige pearls) but I do not think the Majoricas do. The older ones were cream colored because that color was more fashionable. My mother received a strand of cream colored ones from her mother in the late 1960s/early 1970s which she still wears-- all the time, in fact-- and they have not changed color. The strand I wore at my wedding (bought in 1986) were cream from the start and have not yellowed further. The 30" white strand I received as a gift in 1992 is still very white.
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 05-21-2012 at 10:19 PM.

  14. #29

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    I knew about the Barbara Bush pearls being fakes, but I didn't know that about JK. Hmmmm... I wonder if JFK would have given Marilyn glass pearls?!?!?!

  15. #30
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    Hi
    Yes, some of the fakes are very good these days. I remember a strand of peacock elliptical blacks which I thought was a great strand at first look, but then realised that there was something a bit mechanical about the perfection. Majorcas
    I wonder if that is why I have seen a subtle shift away from the perfect perfect matched rounds to pearls which are a bit quirky.

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