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Fake, Imitation, Laguna, Faux, Majorica, Majorcan, Swarovski Pearl Photos, Stories

pattye

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Dec 26, 2005
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Some of us want a place to share photos and stories of various man-made pearl-lookalikes, so let's put them here. This can be helpful for comparison and educational purposes, examples of jewelry, vintage or new, which are not cultured or natural pearls. I'll be taking some photos soon!
 

Daddys Little Pearl

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Jan 6, 2013
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thanks Pattye, will send my photos as soon as I can, most of them are at my antique mall and I am now down with the flu. Will photo what I have here at home shortly. I am assuming you want both the fakes that were designed to fool the eye as well as high quality faux of baroque shapes, etc? And, I just found you on etsy, you WILL be hearing from me, already have put one thing in my cart, your things are LOVELY. Love this forum. Linda
 

Caitlin

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Dec 11, 2004
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I like this idea for a thread, though I have nothing to contribute. There is a whole world of imitation pearls out there, some of which cost more than some cultured pearls!
 

Pearl Dreams

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Also, please upload the photos as attachments (Go advanced and use the "Manage Attachments" button to add photos to your post) --or put them in your album and use the image link-- rather than just linking to a hosting site. That way, the photos will not be lost if they are ever deleted from the hosting site.


I have an assortment of fakes -- good ones (Majorica) that I enjoy wearing occasionally, some really bad ones (my daughter needed them for props in school plays) and some in-between ones that I don't wear but just haven't dumped for whatever reason.

Majorica imitation pearls have an opalescent glass bead inside and are heavier than pearls with a shell bead.

Here are some Majorica photos:

top left: 10mm white 18 inch strand of Majorica, neck shot
top right: same strand in my hand, daylight near open door

bottom left: same strand close up (Majoricas, especially white ones, normally show a red and green pseudo-orient but these are redder-looking than usual, due to reflection from our red front door)
bottom right: 9mm cream colored Majorica 16 inch strand

I have more Majorica strands, different lengths and sizes, but they are all cream or white. I'll take some photos of other, non-branded imitation strands and post them in the next few days.
 

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Daddys Little Pearl

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Jan 6, 2013
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Fakes from England

Fakes from England

These are faux pearls from England, a friend of mine used to wholesale these and now closing down after his wife died. They are 25 years old, circa 1980, heavier than real pearls for the size, knotted nicely too. No way to do pix in the sunlight, Nashville is in a week long cloud with rain, these were photos under an Ott lite, darker photos without flash, lighter ones with. Will try for better photos later.DSCN0042.jpgDSCN0043.jpgDSCN0044.jpgDSCN0045.jpg
 
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Pearl Dreams

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Note that where real pearls have varying overtones, imitation ones do not. The overtones -- the color in the dark circle in the center-- are all alike.

Edit-- Whoops, I have to eat my words! I found one bracelet among my fake pieces that has varied overtones (but only when photographed under a lamp-- in natural light they are all alike.). See post #19 for a photo of it. However, usually the fakes' overtones are all the same.
 
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dkan 168

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The surfaces of imitation pearls are very uniform whereas real pearls are not.

DK :)
 

dkan 168

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My imitation pearl earrings.

attachment.php


DK :)
 

pattye

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This cherished bracelet was restrung for a client, the imitation pearls had belonged to a dear relative. Knots are larger than I would have liked, but the holes were quite large. The pearls were lighter in weight than actual 6mm cultured pearls would be. The soft look was quite realistic, but of course, the same on each bead.IMGP4542.jpg
 

Daddys Little Pearl

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Yes, very ivory, with champagne overtone or ecru, and a touch of glass-like. Next to real pearls the difference is obvious, but when worn alone, they look real. I got more of the history on these, forgot the company name that made them, but circa 1980. made in England, his wife was from Trinidad and her family were jewelry wholesalers, either in England or Trinidad. They are 8mm on 30" strands (he has other lengths), all knotted well, nice clasps; this particular group has a silver tone clasp with cz's set like diamonds. He says they are scratchproof, not sure how they did that. When scraping with my fingernail, they have just the slightest rough feel, but fail the tooth test of course (going to get poisoned one day doing that). :rolleyes:
 

Caitlin

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For people who don't take notice of pearls- those above would pass muster. They enhance the outfit with a pearly vibe. It seems to take someone who knows pearls to tell the difference. This thread is actually a good educational tool.
 

pattye

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Dec 26, 2005
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Yes, I hope this will be fun and educational. Easier to tell fakes with a whole strand because of the "sameness" in coloring, reflection and shape. More difficult to tell as singles or pairs, no drill hole visible to examine in earrings (such as DK's) or rings.
 

Daddys Little Pearl

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Jan 6, 2013
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Pattye,
Will see if he knows what they are coated with, or the name of the maker. I wish they were whiter or a little less glassy, but I gave four pairs of them for Christmas gifts and the recepients loved them. Hoping to get to the antique mall tomorrow and pick up my other faux pearls to photo for this thread. Over the past year I have noticed an increase in customers wanting pearls, both real and faux. Actually they all would want the real, it is an affordability issue; if they don't have the bucks for real they seem to be quite happy with faux.

Daddys Little Girl

Antiques Jewelry & Sacred Treasures
 

dkan 168

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Oct 6, 2008
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pattye,

The stones are imitations, most likely to be CZ. The fake Tahitians are Majorca pearls. The large mabes are CIROs, which I believe is a good brand of imitation jewellery. The small white pearls with the CZ earring jackets were picked up from eBay for about 20 GBP.

On close up I can tell they are fake pearls, however, they look good from afar!

I would dearly love to have a pair of mabe pearl earrings of that size surrounded by diamonds, however, they are beyond my reach, so I shall stick with my fakes for the time being.

DK :)
 

Pearl Dreams

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I took bunches of photos of fakes and will upload some of them. I took most of these photos under the daylight lamp using ISO 400. I'll start with the better ones.
For anyone reading this thread who doesn't know the abbreviation, CFWP means Cultured Fresh Water Pearls (real pearls.) I thought a few comparison shots might be useful taken under similar lighting conditions.

Left to right, top to bottom:
1. Comparison shot. From top to bottom: White metallics CFWP; Freshadama CFWP; Majorica imitation pearls (my 30" strand that my husband gave me our first Christmas after we were married.
(I was also married wearing Majoricas and my mother is never without the Majoricas given to her by her mother. I say this to point out that one can have a sentimental attachment even to fake pearls, which is a good reason to wear them even if one owns real pearls.)
2. 30 inch Majorica strand by itself. These are a little bigger than 7mm but smaller than 7.5mm.
3. Freshadama CFWP strand under the same daylight lamp, to show differences in overtones.
4. 7mm Majorica strand neck shot, diffuse daylight. The pseudo-orient is subtle in daylight, more noticeable under the lamp.
5. Closeup of 7 mm white Majoricas. Notice the green and rose colors of the pseudo-orient. These look quite smooth compared to inferior quality fake pearls at this magnification, but under a 10x loupe the Majorica coating still looks rougher than real nacre does.

Majoricas sell briskly with multiple bids on eBay but sometimes you can get a good deal. You don't have to spend a fortune to buy a strand, and they do make pretty fakes. They are the only fakes I wear anymore, since owning real pearls. I personally would not buy a Majorica strand at retail prices any more since real pearls are so affordable.

Majoricas are very durable and they do not yellow with age. But you still need to avoid using hair spray, perfume etc. around them.
 

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Pearl Dreams

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We tend to look at things like orient, variation in overtones, uniformity of shape, better clasp features to decide if pearls are real. Yet these can be present (or appear to be) in imitations, as seen here:

1. Imitation pearl enhancer that I wore on my 16" Majorica strand at my wedding. There is some sort of coating that gives it the appearance of having orient.
2. Imitation pearl bracelet showing very slight variation in overtone colors under daylight lamp (but not as much as real pearls do.) Until I saw this myself today, I was sure that with imitation pearls the overtones would all be the same in a strand. But this shows me there can be some variation.
3. This vintage imitation strand has a safety chain, so that sort of "added touch" cannot be used to determine real vs. fake. My wedding strand of Majoricas and my mothers' strand also have safety chains.
4. This vintage imitation strand from Japan (as marked on clasp) has differently shaped pearls-- they are not uniformly round.
5. clasp of the vintage Japanese strand with the irregularly shaped pearls to the left.
 

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Pearl Dreams

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The surface coating of imitation pearls is not as smooth when seen under 10x magnification as real nacre is. It can look like an orange peel-- or the moon's surface with craters!
The better coatings may look smooth in a macro shot but the cheaper the quality, the more rough the surface will look.

Here are photos showing show peeling of the coating, buildup of coating near drill hole, beveled holes as seen from the side (bead is a little flattened near the holes) and 3 strands with increasingly rough looking coating. (No, I don't wear these! But they make good props for school plays.)

Some of these photos also show the uniformity of overtones that usually (not always ) is seen in imitation pearls. Imitation pearls can also have circl? indentations as seen in the last photo.
 

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