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Article: Pearls of Mallorca. What are they? Are they real pearls?

perlas de mallorca

Pearls of Mallorca. What are they? Are they real pearls?

Mallorca pearls have historically been the best imitation pearls you could find.

These pearls began to be manufactured at the end of the 19th century on the Spanish island of Mallorca and became popular throughout the world.

They have achieved such great fame over the years that even today many people think that they are real pearls,

What are Mallorca pearls? They are original?

The pearls of Mallorca are not original pearls , they are glass balls varnished with a layer called “Essence of the East” that, among other ingredients, contains “guanine”, a crystalline substance found in the scales of some fish, which is what It gives it a pearl-like shine.

Once the Essence of the Orient has been applied, it is sprayed with lacquer, to prevent the sun's ultraviolet light from affecting the shine.

The price of Mallorcan pearls. That's how they became popular.

At the end of the 19th century, the only pearls that existed were natural pearls , a byproduct of the mother-of-pearl industry, since before the invention of plastic, the mother-of-pearl from oysters was used to make buttons and other ornaments. The others were caught for the nacre, but in one in every 10,000 there was a natural pearl of acceptable quality . These pearls were extremely scarce and reserved for royalty and great fortunes, so imitation Mallorca pearls were the only option a normal person had to wear pearls.

At the beginning of the 20th century, it was discovered in Japan how to grow a pearl, giving rise to cultured pearls, which are the pearls that you can find today in jewelry stores. These pearls are a natural product created by oysters and mussels, but thanks to the incentive and under the control and care of humans.

Since the invention of pearl farming , natural or wild pearls were no longer sought, so today, some appear, but they are somewhat testimonial, although they continue to reach record prices among collectors.

Although cultured pearls made pearls affordable for the upper class, these pearls still had a very high price. In the 1980s and 1990s, a necklace of good quality Japanese Akoya cultured pearls or Australian South Sea pearls could cost as much as a small car. In this regard, the imitation Mallorca pearl was still a good option for anyone who could not afford cultured pearls. But at the turn of the century, this was going to change.

The alternative to Mallorcan pearls. Freshwater cultured pearls.

In the late 90s, early 2000s, very good quality Freshwater pearls appeared on the market. These pearls began to be cultivated in the 60s, but their quality was not ideal.

Freshwater mussels are capable of producing many more pearls than saltwater oysters, so their price is more affordable and their quality, from the 60s until now, has improved so much that they are able to compete in beauty with best saltwater pearls, but their price is much lower.

Why do some people think that Mallorcan pearls are real?

In the past, when the difference between a necklace of Mallorcan pearls and one of cultured pearls was thousands of euros, no one had any doubt that some were real and the other an imitation. But now, the cheaper prices of freshwater cultured pearls have raised doubts, since the price difference is not significant.

Another reason why there are people who are not very clear about whether Mallorca pearls are original or not is precisely the name. Meanwhile, the imitations of diamonds were given a name, such as zirconia or moisanite, and no jeweler would think of calling a zirconia a diamond. The pearl industry allowed imitations to also be called pearls, this has caused some confusion over the years.

To be clear, pearls are produced by an oyster or a mussel. Everything else is an imitation.

How much do Mallorca pearls cost compared to freshwater pearls?

Currently, Mallorcan pearl earrings from famous brands mounted in Sterling Silver cost around €50, the same as button-type Freshwater cultured pearl earrings and you can purchase round pearls for a little more. The same thing happens with necklaces, a Mallorcan pearl necklace with a Sterling Silver clasp in these same brands has a price of about €200. For that price, you can purchase a freshwater pearl necklace of fairly good quality.

In short, for practically the same price you can buy cultured pearls, produced by a real freshwater mussel, instead of an imitation created in a factory.

In addition to the price, there are other reasons why these original pearls are a better option than Mallorca pearls.

Cultured pearls are more sustainable.

Cultured pearls are the most sustainable gem that exists , since they are the only ones that can be grown, while the rest are extracted from mining. This makes them the perfect jewel for the 21st century.

The pearl industry not only does not affect the environment, but it also strives to preserve intact the areas in which oysters grow , since, to produce pearls, these mollusks require clean, crystalline waters, free of contamination. .

Mallorca pearls are manufactured.

While an imitation pearl can be made in a matter of days in a factory and you can produce as many as you want, cultured pearls take an average of 5 years to grow. Three years for the mussel or oyster to grow and another two to slowly form, gradually depositing the nacre, one of the wonders of nature. The Pearl.

In short, Mallorcan pearls have played a very important role in the history of jewelry, but today it seems difficult for us to justify the high price of an imitation, when for little more, you can purchase a sustainable and truly unique natural product.

When are imitation pearls from Mallorca still a good option?

If you are looking for very large round pearls, they can still be a good option since good quality and large freshwater pearls, despite being cheaper than their saltwater sisters, still have high prices. For example, a 13mm or larger round freshwater pearl necklace will easily break four digits. In these types of cases, for reasons of price, they are still an option.

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