***** Use code GKJV7JCRJN1M at check-out for Free Shipping *****

All about Mallorcan pearls

What do…Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth II, model Heidi Klum, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones have in common? Well, the answer is that they all love to wear jewellery. It applies to …monarchs or to your average citizens. … To possess genuine pearls was the privilege of the rich and powerful until well into the 19th century. A drop from a pearl oyster was (and still is) rare and valuable, making it a very desirable object. In those days pearls were not only used for necklaces, bracelets, brooches and rings, but more frequently than today, they were twisted into the hair, sewn onto clothes, hats, oriental turbans and gowns for decoration or were used as buttons. In the Middle Ages they adorned magnificent book covers, etc. In short, everything that was to be enhanced in … social prestige, or aesthetic appeal was done so with pearl.

The tradition of pearl-making on Mallorca 

In view of the price of pearls, people at that time sought affordable alternatives… In the 19th century the Japanese invented the cultured pearl bringing an end to the upper-class exclusivity of pearl jewellery. However, for many the breakthrough for pearls as reasonably priced jewellery came about 100 years ago and the demand for pearls increased rapidly in the European capitals. Eduard Hugo Heusch, a German engineer who had emigrated to France, worked in Paris on a process to manufacture artificial pearls and eventually founded a company that he later transferred to Manacor in Mallorca to produce his 'Majórica' pearls.

Imitation 'Majórica' pearls

The pearls of 'Majórica' are often equated with Mallorca pearls in general. The name Mallorca pearl, though, is an indication of country of origin referring to all artificial pearls made in Mallorca and manufactured in basically the same way. When the patent of the founder family ran out in 1948 numerous manufacturing firms were opened. Today seven companies compete in the production of artificial pearls on the sunny island. The ingredients of the essence for coating the pearls vary from firm to firm and are well-kept secrets.

The making of Mallorca pearls

In the production of a pearl a polymerisation process is used. Firstly, a tiny artificial core consisting of white opaque glass, crystal or a seashell is fastened onto a special support. This nucleus is then immersed into a mother-of-pearl mixture, taken out, dried, and immersed again up to 40 times. In each of these operations the pearl is covered with another extremely thin layer which is heated with a gas burner so that the molecules of the sea water mixture amalgamate to form larger molecules. Despite its name, the mother-of-pearl mixture does not consist of crushed nacre, but rather of small marine animal particles such as mussel sand or fish scales. Finally, the pearl is polished and covered with a special varnish ready to be sold... Coloured minerals can also be added to the bath to give the pearls any desired colour and shade. The surface is smooth and has a harder and therefore more robust surface than natural pearls so neither perspiration, make-up, perfume, heat nor cold can damage it. 

As good as the real thing? 

Whether natural, cultivated or imitation - pearls are sensory. Genuine and cultivated pearls are a bit cooler to the touch than a Mallorca pearl, their surface is a little more delicate. The Mallorca pearl is as pleasant on the skin as a genuine pearl and takes on the body's heat. While nature very rarely brings forth completely round pearls, the polymerisation process facilitates their mass production. Lovers of genuine pearls, however, point out that the uniqueness of the oyster pearl is irreplaceable and its magic can never be obtained by imitations. Coco Chanel is quoted as having a completely different view: "Uniqueness is destined to be copied." Only few women could afford her haute couture range complete with original label, but she had no objection to imitations. In fact, she supported the democratisation of fashion in the 20th century and began integrating fashion jewellery as a component of her clothes. Gold chains and pearls were her most treasured fashion accessories.

The affordability factor

Of course, it goes without saying that imitation Mallorca pearls cost a fraction of the price of the real deal - meaning you can imitate the beauty of the original without causing the same damage to your bank balance!

Pearls in style 

Pure pearl necklaces, worn with a gown or plain black dress, have been the perfect example of elegance over the decades. For a while pearls had a very conservative image as elderly schoolteachers and female law and business administration students used to wear them in single-row necklaces with traditional twinsets. In Germany these students were often nicknamed 'pearly chicks'. But pearls have long since cast off their conservative 'pearly chick' image. What remains is the association with a certain distinguished elegance - whether it comes from natural pearls, cultured pearls, or high-quality imitation pearls from Mallorca.

The affordability factor

Of course, it goes without saying that imitation Mallorca pearls cost a fraction of the price of the real deal - meaning you can imitate the beauty of the original without causing the same damage to your bank balance!

Pearls in style 

Pure pearl necklaces, worn with a gown or plain black dress, have been the perfect example of elegance over the decades. For a while pearls had a very conservative image as elderly schoolteachers and female law and business administration students used to wear them in single-row necklaces with traditional twinsets. In Germany these students were often nicknamed 'pearly chicks'. But pearls have long since cast off their conservative 'pearly chick' image. What remains is the association with a certain distinguished elegance - whether it comes from natural pearls, cultured pearls, or high-quality imitation pearls from Mallorca.

ABCMallorca


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published