Imitation pearl

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Items made from Majorica pearls, a version of imitation pearls

Imitation pearls are man-made objects (often beads) that are designed to resemble real pearls. Several 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 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") is 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.[1]
  • Bohemian pearl is a cut and buffed mother-of-pearl protuberance.[1]
  • Cotton pearl (also called "Utter Ethical pearl") is made merely from cotton and mica.
  • Glass pearl is a 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.[1]
  • Mother-of-pearl pearl is crushed nacreous shell powder, sintered into the desired shape. See also shell pearl (1) below.[1]
  • Plastic pearl has plastic core coated with a pearlescent material.[1]
  • Roman pearl is an alabaster core coated with a pearlescent material.[1]
  • Shell pearl
    • 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).[1]
    • Spherical shell core coated with pearlescent material[1]

The pearlescent substance used to coat various cores may contain essence d'orient, isinglass, fish scales, oyster scales, or mother-of-pearl powder, along with binders or dyes.[1]

Coral is sometimes used to imitate pearls from the pink conch, and hematite is sometimes used to imitate black pearls.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Pearls".