South Sea Shell Pearls ?


Well-known member
Dec 26, 2016
Okay, I've been seeing a bunch of what's called South Sea Shell Pearls on Ebay as I've been sniffing around. Are these pearls actually created from the shell of the South Sea Pearls? Please, educate me!

Shell pearls are a type of imitation. They're called South Sea shell pearls because they look like large South Sea pearls, but that doesn't mean they're made with shell beads from the Pinctada maxima, South Sea pearl shell.

Here is an article in GIA's lab notes from 2014 - Shell Pearl as a Pearl Imitation
Most fake pearls are a glass or plastic bead with an imitation pearlescent coating; shell pearls have a shell bead instead, but still an imitation coating. So they are still imitation pearls.
They use really good plastic on these shell pearls.
This is a video I made many years ago about a "Flame Test" and I used one of these imitations. Might find it interesting!