South Sea Shell Pearls are simulated pearls made to look like South Sea Pearls. They are man-made in a laboratory from South Sea oyster shells – the same mollusks expensive South Sea pearls originate from. They look and feel similar to South Sea Pearls, and are popular because of their affordability. South Sea Shell Pearls are more smooth and don’t have the gritty texture that South Sea pearls do. This is because they are created in a lab, which is cleaner than a lake or ocean. The Island of Mallorca is well known for its imitation pearl production.
The history of creating imitation pearls goes back to ancient time – to about 1300 A.D. when the French used them for adorning luxurious clothing and accessories. One production method saw a combination of white powdered glass mixed with egg white and snail slime (yes, snail slime) to produce the imitation pearls. They dipped hollow glass beads into an acid in order to produce iridescence, and then filled the bead for solidity and weight.
Today, the process to create South Sea Shell Pearls can vary but generally follows the same process as the natural pearl with man controlling the production. The usual process to create South Sea Shell Pearls begins with pulverizing shells into a mix, which is then combined with a binder and formed into a perfectly shaped bead of any size. Dye technology then produces the color on shell-based pearls to almost any hue imaginable. The final step is to dip or spray on the pearlized coating, which is oftentimes either ground fish scales or pearl powder.
In today’s marketplace, the use of imitation-South Sea Shell Pearls continues to gain popularity with jewelry designers, as many consumers simply cannot afford the luxury of the real gems. For instance, a 12mm southsea shell pearl necklace at 22in long in completely round shape only costs less than $45.
As with metal finishes, the beauty and the luster of imitation pearls and their price depend on the thickness of the coating and the type of coating used. The thicker the coating, the more expensive they will be, though they will actually wear better and last longer. Therefore the quality is still very important, and it can vary from one manufacturer to another. For all of the southsea shell pearls from orientalpearls.net, it all comes with unconditional manufacturer warranty.
South Sea Shell pearls are easier to care for than natural pearls – they are much less affected by perspiration, perfume and detergents, and have a more durable shine and color. However, long periods of exposure to direct sunlight should be avoided, because the protein in pearl shell beads will become yellow under sunlight. source
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