What's The Difference Between Shell Beads and Pearls?

What's The Difference Between Shell Beads and Pearls?

There are two types of shell beads: one made by extruding and rolling shell powder, offering easier shaping than natural pearls, and the other polished from natural seawater shells, allowing for various electroplated colors. Pearls, ancient organic gemstones, form when the mother-of-pearl mantle is punctured by a foreign object. Shell beads and pearls differ in five key aspects. In conclusion, shell beads serve as imitation pearls with affordability as their primary advantage, but they lack the high-end qualities, density, and luster of genuine pearls.
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With the popularity of the pearl market, in recent years, a kind of bead called shell beads have appeared on the market. Because these beads are cheap and similar in shape to pearls, they are also sought after by some consumers. What is the difference between these shell beads and pearls? How to distinguish between shell beads and pearls?
The Difference Between Shell Beads and Pearls


First, we need to understand what shell beads are.Shell beads are imitation fake pearls. It is not jewelry, has no jewelry grade, it is just a craft.There are two types of shell beads on the market today. One is made by extruding and rolling shell powder. Because it is artificially made, it is easier to shape than natural pearls. The other is made by polishing and polishing natural seawater shells. Shell beads are available in a variety of colors, and the outer layer of shell beads can be electroplated with the desired color as needed, including common silver white, gold, malachite green, peacock blue, jet black, etc.

The Difference Between Shell Beads and Pearls


Pearl is an ancient organic gemstone, mainly produced in pearl shells and mother-of-pearl mollusk shell polishing animals. Pearls are formed when the mantle of the mother-of-pearl is punctured by a foreign object. The epidermal cells stimulated by electroplating use the foreign object as a nucleus and sink into the connective tissue of the mantle. Then the epidermal cells of the mantle form a pearl sac. , the pearl sac cells secrete nacre, which wraps the nucleus layer by layer to form a pearl.

The four most common types of pearls on the market now include freshwater pearls, Akoya saltwater pearls, Tahitian pearls, and South Sea pearls.

The Difference Between Shell Beads and Pearls


After knowing something about shell beads and pearls, we can distinguish shell beads and pearls based on the below 5 characteristics.

1. Weight
Because the densities of shell beads and pearls are different, the density of shell beads is smaller than that of pearls. Compared with pearls of the same size, shell beads weigh much less than pearls.

2. Color
The color of the shell beads is electroplated, so the color of the shell beads feels fake and unnatural, and the color will be dignified and dull. The color of natural pearls will be relatively translucent, with metallic luster and color.

3. Luster
The luster of shell beads is indestructible and will not change like real pearls. The light it emits is in the shape of parallel stripes, no matter from which angle it is viewed. Real pearls have a very natural and round color. Its luster comes from within and looks crystal clear. Observing its surface, we will find that its luster is layered, and sometimes there are rings.

4. Size
Shell beads are artificial and easier to shape than natural pearls, so when you carefully observe a string of pearl necklaces, you will find that the size of each shell pearl will be very consistent. Pearls are natural and their shape is difficult to control, so there are no two pearls in the world that are the same size. Each pearl will have slight deviations.

5. Exterior
Shell beads are made by manual polishing, so there are fewer appearance defects. Natural pearls are not all perfect. Most of them have some flaws, which can be identified by careful observation. The point is, that shell beads are not wear-resistant, and the skin is easily scratched. Shell beads cannot be worn for a long time.
The skin will peel off and the shell beads will lose their original luster. Natural pearls are wrapped in layers of nacre. After scratching, just wipe it with your hands and there will be no trace at all, restoring the original appearance of the pearl.

The Difference Between Shell Beads and Pearls


The main differences between shell beads and pearls are the above five aspects. Generally speaking, shell beads are fake imitation pearls that can be worn as ordinary jewelry, but they are not as high-end as pearls, have a lower density than pearls, and are not as lustrous as pearls, and they tend to lose their luster easily. If I have to say what advantages shell beads have, it would be that shell beads are relatively cheap.

The Difference Between Shell Beads and Pearls

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