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Question about pearls

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  • Question about pearls


    I was wondering if someone can enlighten me about pearls? I know about fresh water pearls but what are other pearls?

    Basically, I've bought a few, some that were called grade A glass pearls which were good quality and other pearls I bought that were just called pearls and they appear to be some kind of cheap coating on a white bead. What should I be looking out for?

    Also can anyone recommend somewhere I can buy good quality white round pearls in different sizes?



  • #2


    • #3
      Grade A freshwater pearls sound nice.
      wouldt recommend glass pearls beyond costume jewellery as they scratch easily. i bought some a year ago and recently combined them w chineseturquoise as they werent substantial enough on their own. (1/2 marathons for World Society for the Protection of Animals) Vegan cookery


      • #4
        Sorry I can't help I have only used real freshwater pearls, but I am sure that someone will be able to help about the glass ones.


        • #5
          Glass pearls are basically glass beads with a pearlised coating. They have a weight to them that platic coated don't and therefore feel better quality. Swarovski pearls are created in this way. Quality glass pearls can be observed by the lack of cracking of the finish around the hole. The pearls are never stuck together and have been individually covered rather than than stuck on a string and painted.... risking the sticking together process.
          In no way though are they real pearls.

          most "real" pearls are created in the same way as fresh water pearls. If they are totally natural and uninterfeared with, then they are justifiably expensive. (you wouldn't be using them in projects!)

          Fresh water pearls are created by opening a fresh water muscle and making 17 small slits in the flesh in a lab. Small pieces of grit anre introduced into each slit and the result is that the muscle deposits nacre around the irritation. Over time this grows in layers like a gobstopper.
          The pearls are then removed and polished and dyed.

          Cultured pearls are created in this way.

          Other pearls are created in factories with the same gobstopper process.

          there are also pearls called shell pearls and these are created with resin and crushed shell mixture.

          Plastic pearls are often created in the string. Basically they are pressed moulding and can't be seperated from the string.
          full time mum and very very part time crafter.


          • #6
            Thankyou all for your replies,

            I've only been using the pearls for costume jewellery so far, so are the glass pearls ok for this?

            Beadsbydesign, I want to get some good pearls to make my wedding jewellery but I want round pearls, all the fresh water pearls I've seen are natural shaped, so they all differ. Do you get freshwater pearls that are round?

            Am I right in thinking then that the pearls I have that the coating is picking off are plastic pearls that have been mass coated in a factory? (They're all loose though, they're not on a string).

            The class A glass pearls I have are fine for my costume jewellery and the coating wont pick off (which it hasn't).

            And for my wedding jewellery I can get freshwater pearls which are 'real' pearls?

            Thanks again for your help x


            • #7
              Hi Dee

              We have a good range of freshwater and cultured pearls - all of which are real! and very nice quality pearls. Our freshwater pearls tend to be oval shaped or rice shaped but we do have beautiful very nice quality round cultured pearl beads. Plus we also have half drilled pearls...

              Hope this helps!


              Kernowcraft Rocks & Gems Ltd
              Your Destination For Gemstones & Jewellery Making - Since 1967

              For jewellery making advice, call our friendly team on 01872 573888



              • #8
                Gbell, have you used sand-stone before for pearls? They seem very reasonable for price.

                Thanks Hannah, I'll go have a look at your site now.

                I need to remember to bookmark all these links!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by gbell View Post
                  try sand stones
                  Gail, I just wanted to say thanks for the link, I've just ordered some freshwater pearls and some other bits and bobs from them x