Tips for stone care

How to distinguish real mother of pearl from a fake?

Pearls are one of the most ancient precious stones. Its uniqueness lies in its organic origin. The stone is obtained under natural conditions from mollusk shells, and each type of pearl belongs to a specific type of mollusk. Due to its rare origin and high price, this stone is often imitated. There are several types of artificial pearls, and only those that are passed off as natural are considered fake, and, accordingly, their cost increases.

Types of natural pearls

  1. Freshwater and marine. These stones are entirely of natural origin. They are formed by chance; humans are not involved in this process. Pearls from the seabed are very rare, so their cost is high. Freshwater stone can be seen more often.
  2. Cultivated. This variety of organic pearls is grown by humans in pearl farms. It is also classified as a precious mineral, but it is cheaper in cost. More than 95% of modern pearl jewelry falls into this category.
  3. Ennobled. It is not of great value, because it undergoes special processing to increase its value. Pearls are often x-rayed or tinted to achieve the desired color.
  4. Majorca. This stone is of synthetic origin, but half has a natural composition. It implies the presence of a glass core, which is covered with mother-of-pearl using a special technology. Sold under our own trademark. The cost is not small.
  5. Imitations made of glass, stone or plastic. They are often used in costume jewelry to make pearl rings, necklaces and other products. A number of well-known brands have their own circle of fans.

Counterfeits include only imitations made of stone, plastic or glass, and sometimes “Mallorca” products, which are passed off as a natural mineral.

How to check authenticity?

There are several methods for determining the origin of stones. All methods are divided into:

  • visual;
  • mechanical;
  • chemical and physical;
  • formal.

Visual inspection methods include evaluation of shape, color, general appearance, weight and surface cleanliness:

  1. A gem of natural origin is characterized by an irregular shape. Typically, pearls are oblong, elongated, elliptical or pear-shaped. Perfectly round beads are very rare and are usually used in pearl earrings or rings. Most often the stones are cultured.
    Spherical natural pearls are usually sold at auctions for the price of large diamonds. If the price of spherical pearl beads does not exceed a couple of thousand, it is definitely a fake.
  2. The color range of such stones is varied – from white and pink to purple and blue. The further the shade is from white, the higher the cost of the stone.
  3. The play of light will help determine the naturalness of pearls: mother-of-pearl reflects the tints of yellow, pink and blue tones. This is explained by the interference of light. A fake does not have the same quality as imitation pearls.
  4. The surface of a natural mineral is uneven, with roughness and spots of varying intensity of shine. Natural pearls are characterized by heterogeneity of color. It is this sign that allows you to accurately identify a fake: it is completely identical in color.
  5. If there is a hole in the bead, look at its edges under a magnifying glass. If there is a darker spot, it is a fake. Sometimes scratches in the paint are visible near the hole.
  6. If pearls are enriched with radioactive radiation, they become black or dark gray in color. This is exactly the method used in the process of making imitation valuable black pearls or cheap river pearls. If sea pearls are irradiated, only the core will change color and will be visible through the nacre.
    Refined minerals can be identified by color – it becomes metallic, not characteristic of nature.
  7. Weight of the stone. This method is convenient when checking finished products – beads or bracelets with pearls. Typically, natural minerals are characterized by greater mass, because this mineral is classified as a heavy stone. The more beads on the thread, the heavier the product will be. If you compare a plastic product, it will seem weightless.

Mechanical methods are based on the characteristics of the mineral:

  • pearls are classified as a substance characterized by low hardness – no more than 4 Mohs units. It is this property that allows you to test the stone on the tooth: lightly biting the natural mineral will leave a fine powder and squeak on your teeth. This is a quick and proven method for determining the natural origin of a stone. However, such an experiment is only available at home, on an already purchased pearl jewelry;
  • Another method is friction. Simply rub the beads against each other. If a small amount of pearl powder appears, the decoration is natural. However, this method will not work with Mallorca, which is already covered with a layer of mother-of-pearl;
  • An equally common method is a strength test. It is enough to throw the pearl jewelry onto a hard surface. Pearls of natural origin will be covered with small scratches, which can be easily smoothed out with your fingers. Glass or plastic will not leave visible damage, and lightweight plastic will bounce off the surface like a ball.

Chemical-physical methods make it possible to distinguish a stone from a fake based on the special properties of pearls:

  1. Low thermal conductivity – the stone heats up slowly. A necklace or earrings made of pearls remain cold even when in contact with human skin. Jewelry made of glass or plastic quickly heats up from body temperature.
  2. If you know a radiologist, you can agree on the use of x-rays. This method is suitable for examining only one pearl, since after irradiation it may darken. However, the picture reflects the structure of the mineral stone – layering, core, density, etc.
  3. If a natural mineral is illuminated with an ultraviolet lamp, it will give a blue glow. Imitations of stone give off a green glow or none at all.
  4. Natural pearls can be placed in a fire for a couple of minutes – nothing will happen to them. In the case of glass, it will crack, and plastic will melt.
  5. The simplest and most proven method is to use vinegar. It is also recommended to use only one bead, as vinegar may dissolve it. The glass core will remain from the Mallorca, and the plastic and glass imitation will remain unharmed.

Formal methods allow you to be safe from deception. One of these is cost. A mineral of natural origin cannot be cheap. Beads made from pearls of less valuable irregularly shaped stones usually cost a couple of thousand. At the same price they sell a high-quality imitation of the Mallorca brand. Round-shaped cultured pearls cost one and a half thousand dollars, and pear-shaped pearls cost one thousand dollars.

It is best to buy jewelry with pearls in well-known stores that value their reputation. Also, each piece of jewelry must have a quality passport or certificate.

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Mother of pearl is a wonderful stone that amazingly combines opposite properties: beauty, tenderness, fragility and at the same time incredible strength and strength. Thanks to its qualities and properties, mother-of-pearl is not only an exquisite decoration, but also an indispensable medicine for more than one century in a row.

Mother of pearl is the inner layer of pearl shells; it is not for nothing that its name from German “Perl Mutter” is translated as “mother of pearls”. In fact, any shell, even a grain of sand or any inclusion, will give the world a precious pearl. And although mother of pearl is not a gem, its beauty is not inferior to even the rarest and most precious stones.

Its distinctive feature is a unique palette of shades. So, in addition to the usual white with pink, blue and exquisite golden-lilac inclusions, there is also pink mother-of-pearl with a unique greenish-yellow original tint and black with a bright violet-blue sheen.

  1. History of the stone
  2. Price
  3. Interesting Facts
  4. Medicinal properties
  5. Magical properties
  6. How to distinguish from fakes
  7. Stone care

HISTORY OF THE STONE

It is known that mother of pearl has been actively used by people since ancient times. Thus, in Iraq, archaeologists found a mother-of-pearl necklace 7000 years old.
Due to the ease of extraction and storage, it quickly became popular. Ancient healers were the first to use this mineral for medicinal purposes. In Ancient Egypt, various mother-of-pearl jewelry is also found in tombs.
Ancient Roman masters were famous for painting on mother-of-pearl. Dozens of mother-of-pearl jewelry and various household items of those times have survived to this day. The ancient Romans valued this stone very much and put it on the same level as pearls. Emperor Nero, according to legend, ordered the walls of his palace to be lined with mother-of-pearl.

A little later, during the Middle Ages, mother-of-pearl was used not only for decoration, but also in medicine. Some cunning clergymen sold the scales of this stone as feathers from the wings of angels. It is interesting that even today, centuries later, tablets, creams and cosmetics with the addition of mother-of-pearl are actively produced. Thanks to its composition, it is one of the effective means for strengthening bones. Small fragments of the mineral were used to make icons and crosses. Vessels and cups were made from whole shells, which, as was then believed, endowed the liquid contained in them with the ability to cure the most serious diseases. Water infusions of this gem and powder from it also served as a powerful medicine.

Alchemists and sorcerers often used mother-of-pearl in their witchcraft rituals. The first, not surprisingly, tried to get gold from it. The latter lured spirits using objects made of mother-of-pearl. Already in the 17th century, stone became a widely used raw material for the manufacture of buttons and other toilet items. With its help, almost every household item was decorated: faiths, cutlery, combs, etc. The fabric with the luster of mother-of-pearl, invented at this time, immediately became very popular in the circles of the European aristocracy. In the next, 18th century, an alcohol tincture with the addition of mother-of-pearl powder was invented. It was called the elixir of youth. Even now such an “elixir” exists, but in a modified version: creams, lotions, masks containing natural particles of the mineral.

Jewelry with mother-of-pearl Nowadays, mother-of-pearl is used not only in cosmetology and jewelry. There are rumors that secret laboratories are developing very durable armor containing this material. Perhaps this is indeed the case, because according to its physical characteristics, the mineral is very strong and at the same time light.

PRICE

The cost of mother-of-pearl depends directly on its thickness. Often the effect of mother-of-pearl thickness on price is related to the shine of the stone. The thicker the mother of pearl, the more shiny it is, which means a higher price. The thickness of mother of pearl is one of the most important qualities of mother of pearl. It gives color, shine and appearance.

INTERESTING FACTS

  • At the beginning of the 35000th century in the Mississippi River basin (USA), the volume of shell mining for mother-of-pearl extraction reached XNUMX tons per year. This period in history was called “pearl fever.” After this incident, most pearl mollusks were listed in the Red Book.
  • Today, the unique properties of mother-of-pearl are used even by the military. After numerous studies, it turned out that mollusk shells are one of the most durable materials on the planet. Mother of pearl is planned to be used in military equipment, as well as to make armor and even body armor from it.
  • In addition to the needs of the army, the unique material is planned to be used in the future for the manufacture of car parts, artificial bone tissue and components of electronic devices.
  • Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute (USA) received a grant of $50 million to develop future military uniforms based on mother-of-pearl material. The study of this wonderful material marked the beginning of serious advances in the field of nanotechnology.

HEALING PROPERTIES

Lithotherapists claim that wearing jewelry with mother-of-pearl on the body heals the entire body: increases efficiency, strengthens the immune system and calms the nervous system. Earrings with this gem will help with hearing diseases. Previous generations considered the mineral a powerful healing agent. Mother of pearl powder could be purchased at any pharmacy until the 18th century. Today this gem is extremely popular in the cosmetics industry: it is added to lotions and a variety of creams. Manufacturers convince that such a cream will have a rejuvenating effect on the skin of the face: it will whiten it, and will be able to remove age spots and freckles.

The healing properties of mother-of-pearl have been known for centuries. Back in the 17th century, healers Popp and Agricola invented a unique remedy based on mother-of-pearl, which not only strengthened the heart, but also helped with fainting and general fatigue.
Today, mother of pearl is also actively used in medicine. It is believed that preparations with the addition of mother-of-pearl increase overall performance, strengthen the immune system, increase vitality, energize, improve hearing, help cure diseases of the throat and larynx, and help cure bronchitis and pneumonia.

At the same time, white mother-of-pearl powder, which is often used in various cosmetics, helps whiten the skin, get rid of age spots, and make freckles more invisible.

HEALING PROPERTIES

The gem has powerful energy associated primarily with marriage. The mineral will be able to bring calm and peace to the house and strengthen the family. Mother of pearl will help you realize your mistakes. And material well-being and abundance will come to the house, provided that it has a twisted mother-of-pearl sink. Mother-of-pearl jewelry protects its owner from the negative influence of negative people. The mineral will be able to attract changes and new events to the bearer, and will give longevity. A product made of mother-of-pearl is a guarantee that the owner will certainly return home.

In magical terms, mother of pearl is a very light and strong stone. This natural stone is believed to develop intuition and even prolong life. Mother of pearl is a reliable protector against any negative, dangerous energy influences. It can help avoid the evil eye and identify a liar. Mother of pearl has long been a talisman for all travelers. As a rule, buttons and cufflinks were made from it. It was believed that the traveler who wore them would have an easy and safe journey. Modern esotericists recommend it as a talisman for children, claiming that mother-of-pearl not only effectively protects against various diseases, but also improves mood.

HOW TO DISTINGUISH FROM A FAKE

Mother of pearl is counterfeited quite often, but it is quite easy to distinguish a natural stone from a fake.

  1. Try to pierce the stone with a sharp object. There will be a clear mark on the plastic, while solid mother-of-pearl will remain intact.
  2. An ordinary magnifying glass will help determine the authenticity of a stone. And although natural mother-of-pearl is perfectly smooth at first glance, under a magnifying glass characteristic grooves will be visible across the entire surface, while the fake will remain perfectly smooth even under high magnification.
  3. And the last way: pay special attention to its thickness. It is known that a layer of mother-of-pearl greater than 5 mm is very rare. If the thickness exceeds this figure, most likely you are looking at a fake.

STONE CARE

Natural stone is quite fragile, so it is best to store mother-of-pearl jewelry separately and preferably in a soft case.
Mother-of-pearl does not tolerate strong impacts, and like any precious stone, mother-of-pearl does not like sudden temperature changes and prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.
The best way to clean mother-of-pearl is with a warm soapy solution and a soft brush. If the contamination is deeper, potato starch should be used. At the same time, it is strictly forbidden to use any chemicals to clean mother-of-pearl.
Protect mother of pearl from direct contact with acids and cosmetics.

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