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

Gentle sigh...just had some really nice AAA pearls returned because they were not white 'like the ones from Swarovski'
Oh no, Wendy! :(

Sure, they're white, but the Swarovski beads don't look real! The surface is too matte-- at least, the ones I've seen. They are a fashion look-- fun, but that is all.
Plus, they are heavy to wear, thanks to the lead crystal bead inside.
Hmmm... I wonder if she was looking for pearls for her wedding and just wanted a very white, consistent strand to go with the dress, and didn't care that they weren't real? In such a circumstance I could see wearing fakes to keep costs down for the wedding (I did, but that was before round white freshwaters!)
she said that her design called for white pearls - so I pointed out that no real pearls were white white and simply did the refund.
How very restrained and gentle of you! You're the Epitome, Wendy!
I was out today at Sally Beauty Supply. While checking out, I saw a display of imitation pearl studs made with Austrian crystal elements (like Swarovski but not that brand specifically). At $5.99, I could not resist buying them for some side by side photos.

Looked at with a loupe, the Austrian crystal pearls had a few little black dots not visible in these photos, that did not come off when washed.

The first photo shows the imitation studs next to an open door, daylight. The white ones have a harder shine than the powder rose colored ones I photographed earlier.

The second photo shows the imitation stud on the right next to my Freshadama dangles. The Freshadamas are creamier in color. I can't seem to catch it with the camera, but the real pearls have a sort of dreamy glow while the Austrian crystal pearls only have shine.

The third photo shows the imitation stud on the left and my metallic white FWP on the right, outdoors. While both appear white, the metallic freshwaters are luminous! Even more so in person than I can capture with the camera. And the white Austrian crystal pearls are entirely lacking in overtones.

All in all, for $5.99, they are really an okay fashion item, but they just can't compete with the real deal.

Could they fool anyone, when worn? Not if the viewer was familiar with the look of real pearls. But an uneducated observer, maybe.
Of course no buyer would be fooled by the base metal finding, the low price and the venue. And a loupe would show black dots that should not be there, and a grainy surface.

Another thing, that is perhaps more to the point for us pearl lovers: While imitation pearls may fill a fashion need, or be useful for travel when we might not want to risk losing our real pearls, no one is ever going to take pleasure from sitting and gazing at them. I don't know about you, but I have spend many happy moments gazing at my genuine pearls, seeing how they look under different lighting conditions, and just taking pleasure in them.

But the imitation ones? Never.


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Classy imitation -- With real pearls being so much easier to get these days than they once were, it's easy to forget how important costume jewelry is in the history of fashion. I bought these fakes because I was enchanted by the stories of the companies that made them.

This Trifari strand is a little worn out unfortunately, but I hope that I'll be able to fix that someday :) possibly find something to re-coat them with. I love that they were obviously worn often and loved! Here is a link to more information about Trifari pearls: http://www.ebay.com/gds/the-beauty-of-trifari-jewelry/10000000000838415/g.html and a Google search turns up even more! I believe my strand is from the early 40's, since that's the time they used sterling (and this clasp is sterling with rhinestones). I haven't been able to find out more about this piece. Forgive the little worn spots and the strange colors my camera picked up. :)


Another company that interests me is Richelieu. I had to do a little more research to find information about them, here's a link to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richelieu_Inc. Evidently they began by making cultured pearls that were perfect on one side and flat on the other, and then they would coat them until they were perfectly round. Not the typical glass pearl, in other words -- I love innovation. Their pearls really are lovely, I have two identical strands (the eBay seller gave me both when I bought one). I had some trouble getting the light to work out on these photos, the "pearls" have a really beautiful rosy tone to them The camera didn't want to focus because they're so shiny. They look a lot like the "mystery" pearls that I posted in another thread.


As many of the photos on this thread prove, pearls don't have to be real to be classic or beautiful! The Trifari strand is too fancy for everyday wear, but the Richelieus work nicely.
I thought I'd post here my little drama from another thread. Really this thread is where it belongs anyway.

Today I bought a strand of large ringed pearls with a sterling/CZ clasp, from T.J. Maxx. Brand name is Lucoral. The maker's label indicated they were "cultured pearls" and the store tag indicates FWP.

Turns out on closer examination, they are out-and-out fakes-- shell nucleus coated to look like baroque SSP.
They fail the tooth test and test of rubbing one against the other.
On examination with a loupe, the surface is rougher than real nacre. Much rougher in fact.
There is an accumulation of coating near the drill holes.

These are pretty good fakes. They are a reasonable fashion accessory for someone who doesn't want to spend the money on real SSP.
But they ought to have been labeled correctly as imitation pearls.

I think I'll take my loupe along from now on, whenever I'm going anywhere there might be pearls for sale.


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I've been debating that very thing, Pattye.
I wasn't shopping for fake pearls today-- but then I wasn't shopping for pearls at all, rather for running shoes for my daughter. These were a serendipitous find (or not, depending how one looks at it.)

On the other hand, I like how they look and feel (see the 3rd photo I added), and own some other nice fakes that I enjoy wearing occasionally.

If I were to buy real SSP, they would have to be baroques anyway-- and much smaller. Large round SSP are neither in my budget nor my lifestyle. Everyone would assume they were fake even if they were real!
And I have some great earrings to wear with them.

I'll sleep on it, I think.

Are there any photos of John Tu's ringed pearls? Edit: Never mind, I found the photos:
John Tu's ringed FW pearls photo (post 101)
I wonder how large they are and what they go for?
Pearl Dreams -- Thank you so much for sharing what you've discovered. For me, the question would be, how much would the John Tu ringed strand you linked to cost? If it's not much more than what you spent for the "fakes", and fairly easy to find again, I might consider returning these and waiting to purchase the real deal. I really like the look of your TJ Maxx necklace. It's the being lied to that leaves such a bad taste in one's mouth. Keep us posted.
They're convincing on your neck and very pretty. A necklace like that would cost a fortune at a store like Nordstrom. I enjoy my fakes, but because I am a pearl person, everyone takes it for granted that they are all real. Only you can decide! ;)
That is more or less what I've been thinking...I'll 'fess up, these were $69.99-- not bad, really, and certainly a lot less than Majorica retail for.
What I like about them is that no two are exactly alike-- even the Majorica baroques "repeat". I think for the money I can't do better.

Edited 8/1/13: I ended up returning them after I decided they were a bit too heavy! I always thought I would like that size, but it dragged on my neck too much.
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