What are these things?


New Member
Jul 29, 2022
Hello! I am a long-time jewelry maker just recently trying to go professional. I am learning as I go, so please bear with me - I'm a total newbie about a lot of things I really should know more about. I am trying to identify the material of some beads I've obtained.

About 6 months ago, I found a great deal on some "pearls" on Etsy. They were advertised as AA grade freshwater pearls. The price was incredible so I figured I really couldn't lose, even if they were fake, as long as they resembled the photos.

Fast forward to today, I'm feeling some inspiration to make a particular thing, and I realize I want to use the roundest pearls in my collection, which happened to be the ones in question. As I'm trying to select the right beads for the piece, it dawns on me that there's really no difference from one bead to the next. Like, at all. And they are really, really round. They have a beautiful glow to them and very small, cleanly drilled holes, so I had a hard time reconciling with the fact that they're not the real thing. They didn't pass the tooth test nor the temperature test.

So I did what any reasonable person would do, and smashed one with a hammer. It was extremely resilient and it took several good smacks on top of a small anvil. Here's what's weird - it broke into what looks like layers. The few finer bits that broke off look like glass, but they're not sharp (I rubbed it between my fingers, because I am a very smart person. It got a bit finer, but nothing like powder). It looks not unlike the results in this post: https://www.pearl-guide.com/threads/smashing-pearls-in-the-interests-of-science.5914/ (which is what brought me here in the first place).

Any idea what I might have? They are really lovely beads and I enjoyed creating with them, but I like to know what I'm selling. I figured actual glass would shatter. I have some of the Czech-style glass "pearls" that have a somewhat similar appearance, but I'm in no hurry to smash any of those for comparison.
Thanks for any insight!