Monday, April 14, 2014

What are Majorica Pearls

I remember seeing Majorica pearls as a child in window shops all over town. They were always placed on top of some sort of red velvety material, and Majorica's red and gold banner was always prominent. My mother, of course, was interested in pearls, as any self-respecting Spanish woman of a certain age had to be, so she owned some cultured pearls and some Majorica ones. Buying pearls was then considered a true investment, and a possible heirloom for the family.
If real pearls or even cultured ones are as out of your reach as they are of mine, these are a great faux option.

Vintage Majorica ads. Majorica pearls have been for decades at the top of the simulated beads market, next to Pearlfection. Both brands are collected by costume jewellery fans.
What are Majorica Pearls
Majorica pearls (not to be confused with Majorca pearls) are high-quality faux pearls produced in a small factory in the Balearic Islands in Spain, in the town of Majorica. They are faux because they are man-made in a factory. To be more precise, they are, and have always been, "woman-made". What probably started because female labour was cheaper than male's (it still is, but we are not going there now), is now probably a tradition. They use solid glass beads as nuclei for the pearls that are then coated with multiple lacquer layers (much as a cinnabar object would be), using what is known in the trade as essence d'orient or pearlessence. They keep the secret of their pearlessence formula zealously, obviously.
Majorica pearls look and feel real or, at the very least, expensive. Apart from their more conservative models (ie. regular pearls in expected colours, frequently in matching sets), which are a bit boring, they have started producing edgier ones, usually either with gold-plated, or in silver or rhodium findings. Slightly more than half of their products are still sold in Spain, although many to tourists, and the rest in the USA. For instance, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue both carry them.

Follow the label Pearls to learn about how to take care of pearls and more.

  • For all the photos in the post,
  • Their story, as told by themselves:
  • Their recent history, in El PaĆ­s (in Spanish): You can use to translate the page.

This post contains no affiliated links.
The label Pearls is a TRL series that is ongoing.
This post was first published on April 19th 2012. The information has been edited and the collages are new.

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