Artificial Pearls as Discussed in 1909

Artificial Pearls as Discussed in 1909


NEW YORK A lively discussion has arisen among New York jewelers as to whether society is adopting the custom of mingling artificial with genuine pearls. The interviews with Paris jewelers cabled to the New York Herald regarding the imitation pearls in Mrs. Astor’s necklace has stirred New Yorkers. The gem expert of one of the most prominent houses preferred not to be quoted by name, but said such a custom would never gain ground. Mr. Arthur H. Kirkpatrick, the Fifth Avenue jeweler, declared: “I have never been asked to mix imitation with real pearls in a necklace. I wouldn’t sell such a thing. I don’t believe the custom is being adopted.” It was admitted at several other jewelry establishments that mixing artificial with real pearls is sometimes done.

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Phu Quoc, Vietnam, Pearls May Not Be What They Seem

by Thanhnien News

With a reputation for having some of the world’s finest pearls, Phu Quoc island has been flooded with fakes.


At the Dinh Cau night market, where tourists often meander after a day at the beach, pearls are sold at same booths as souvenirs and toys for only a few hundred-thousand dong.

Dozens of stalls at the Ham Ninh Market sell pearl earrings for VND10,000 (US$0.6) apiece alongside snacks and drinks.

One pearl necklace costs VND300,000 ($18) while another that looks nearly identical costs VND3 million ($180).


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Fake Vietnamese Pearls

Pearls are a favorite souvenir of visitors to the beautiful island of Phu Quoc in the far south of Vietnam. However, many are counterfeit, reports Tuoi Tre daily.

According to Le Quoc Tuan at the Kien Giang Planning and Investment Department, there are two genuine pearl producing enterprises on Phu Quoc island. One, in An Thoi town, was once a Japanese venture. The Japanese enterprise failed during the 1997 financial crisis and was subsequently purchased by Ho Phi Thuy, a local resident. It is now in business as Ngoc Hien Enterprises. Thuy has hired a Japanese expert to supervise cultivation of the pearl oysters.



The other workshop is Australian invested. It has been operating for the many years, but not at full capacity.



Thuy said that he has invested many billion dong and hired Japanese experts, but he is still gaining experience. Most of his products are being exported to Japan, and the rest are being sold in Vietnam by his enterprise. “Don’t believe the prices you are quoted by others,” he said. “Phu Quoc pearls will never be so cheap.”


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History of Majorica pearls from Mallorca

History of Majorica pearls from Mallorca...


The success of the Manacor pearl from Mallorca dates back to 1897 in Barcelona, where a German named Friedrich Hugo Heusch, began to imitate nature in a small way. Within a few years – 1902 – the demand from stores and jewellers in London, Berlin, Rome, and Paris was so great that he decided to open factories in Felanitx and Manacor in Mallorca. From then on, there was no stopping the marketing triumph of the Majorica brand name.

Up to 1948, the Heusch family and their 1,000 or more employees were protected from imitators by patents, but immediately after the monopoly ran out numerous other firms tried to muscle in. Few of them managed to survive as they were unable to undercut Majorica on price at the same time as keeping to the same quality.

Whereas with their cultured pearls the Japanese help the process along and implant a tiny particle in the culture shell so that the shellfish forms a mother-of-pearl coat round it, Majorica pearls are produced on the same principle but by quite different means.

A tiny artificial core toughened by high pressure is first fixed into a special mounting. It is then dipped up to 30 times in a kind of mother-of-pearl paste, except that this does not consist of ground mother-of-pearl but all kinds of fauna particles from the sea such as fish scales and shell sand. Each layer is heated so strongly with gas burners that the individual molecules of the sea mixture cluster together into larger molecules, a process call polymerisation.

This process not only guarantees perfect fusion, but also preserves the colour as well. Black, and in recent fashions, grey and grey-blue, pearls get their colour from additives of coloured minerals. Once all layers have been applied, the new pearls are carefully filed and polished.

Mallorca En Primavera




Mallorca En Primavera

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Artificial Nacre

Artificial nacre can now be massed produced.


Nacre, or mother of pearl, is one of the toughest and most beautiful natural materials on Earth. Now scientists can make it -- cheaply.

A natural pearl is a rare treasure, but new mass-produced mother of pearl could soon be as cheap and versatile as paper.

Flameproof yet flexible, thinner than office paper but 20 times as strong, the new material could eventually make aircraft lighter and comfortably protect police from bullets.

"Natural nacre is this perfect marriage of stiffness, strength and toughness," said Andreas Walther, a researcher at the Helsinki University of Technology and a co-author of a recent paper in the journal Nano Letters.

"Our artificial nacre compares very well to the natural material."

Synthetic nacre has long been a goal for both material scientists and biologists. For material scientists man-made nacre could provide strong, lightweight, cheap and environmentally-friendly material for a huge variety of products.

For biologists, synthetic nacre would provide a new way to study the complex mesh of soft protein and hard calcium carbonate that mollusks use as protection and women as decoration.

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