One of the fun perks of my job is I get to look at many people’s pearls. Although we do not purchase pearls from other people’s jewelry collections, I am always happy to look at pearls and let other know any info I might have on the history of their pearls. It is interesting to see what pearls women have in their collections and many times it is interesting to see how many imitation pearls these women have. Recently, a neighbor popped over with her elderly Aunt’s jewelry. This Aunt has an extensive history of traveling through the Orient so one would think that her extensive jewelry collection would include real pearls… it didn’t. This woman cherished her jewelry and the “pearl” necklaces are truly lovely and fashionable. She even kept many pieces in her safe deposit box however these are imitation pearls with no value. Unfortunately as we age, some people no longer care for the intrinsic value of their jewelry, they just want to know what it is worth. And in this case, these imitation pearls aren’t worth anything.
One perfect example of imitation pearls that feel like they may have more value are Majorca pearls. Majorca pearls are from the island of Majorca, Spain. Their trade name is actually spelled with an “i”, Majorica Pearls. They call themselves the “World’s Most Precious Simulated Pearls” and they are exactly that… simulated pearls. Also known as fake pearls or some people even call them shell pearls. These imitation pearls are made from a shiny material.. fish scales and epoxy and other materials and this material is coated on glass beads. The result is a super smooth pearl with a uniform look and consistency. They are fun and beautiful to look at. Some people love throw the name Majorca around and many people tell me that they travel to Spain and buy their Majorca pearls. They certainly have a well known name, and I would go so far as to say they are the most popular brand name in fake pearls.
So, when we are looking into an estate collection or older Majorca pearls, we see the problem. The essence d’Orient, that beautiful shiny coating on the glass bead has begun to wear off. This means these imitation pearls that have a great name (and an even greater box) but not much value, really do not have much to offer as they age. As I told my neighbor, I am not sure what to do with these old Majorca pearls. Not too many people want to wear pearls that are rubbing off and certainly there is no resale value for these pearls.
But, I am sure there was one time that her aunt loved her Majorca pearls. And, as a lover of jewelry, can’t we all appreciate those purchases that really made us feel so good!