Imitation pearls are man-made objects (often beads) that are designed to resemble real pearls. A variety of methods are used to create imitation pearls from starting materials that include glass, plastic, and actual mollusc shell. Some beads are coated with a pearlescent substance in order to imitate the natural iridescence of nacre or mother of pearl. Varieties of imitation pearls include:
- Bathed Pearl (also called Angel, Sheba, Mikomo, Kobe, Nikko, Sumo, Fijii, Aloha or "improved cultured pearl"): a mother-of-pearl core coated with a mixture of plastic enamel, lead carbonate, mica, and titanium dioxide, then with a film of iridescent nylon.
- Bohemian Pearl: cut and buffed mother-of-pearl protuberance.
- Cotton Pearl (also called "Utter Ethical Pearl"): this is made merely from cotton as well as mica
- Glass Pearl: glass bead dipped or sprayed with pearlescent material, or hollow glass bead filled with pearlescent material. One variation is the Majorica pearl. Wax-filled pearl simulants are hollow glass beads coated with essence d'orient and filled with wax. Variations of these wax-filled simulants, which are produced in slightly different manners, include Parisian pearls, Paris pearls, French pearls, Bourguignon pearls and Venetian pearls.
- Mother-of-Pearl Pearl: crushed nacreous shell powder, sintered into the desired shape. See also shell pearl (1) below.
- Plastic Pearl: plastic core coated with pearlescent material.
- Roman Pearl: alabaster core coated with pearlescent material.
- Shell Pearl (1): cut, buffed, and sometimes dyed nacreous portions of mollusc shells. Variations and alternate names include cat's-eye pearl, coque de perle (from nautilus shells), mother-of-pearl pearl (from mother-of-pearl), and hinge pearl (from the hinge of bivalve shells).
- Shell Pearl (2): spherical shell core coated with pearlescent material.
- "Pearls". stoneplus.cst.cmich.edu.