Imitation or faux pearls have been around for ages, and are so wonderful that they often outweigh their natural counterparts in value and allure. Offer a beader a choice between a strand of new, natural saltwater pearls, or some vintage plastic baroque pearls worn by Lucille Ball, and chances are the imitations would win.
There are many different types of faux pearls, each with their own pros and cons when compared with the real thing. Even genuine pearls have different degrees of help from humans, and cultured freshwater pearls are among some of the most sustainable beads out there. Faux pearls give a lot of beaders access to beautiful design possibilities, because they are often inexpensive and of course, vegan-friendly.
There are plastic pearls of various make and quality. The old fashioned costume jewelry styles are still sought after by even the most sophisticated designers. Like Coco Chanel did with crystals and gemstones, it is possible to pair up these fake pearls with more luxury materials and make stunning jewelry.
CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements also has it’s own line of imitation crystal pearls, and they are arguably some of the best quality available to beaders today. They come in a wide variety of colors, have perfectly uniform shapes and finishes, and have larger bead holes than the average drilled pearl. Because they are not as expensive as the real thing, they are perfect for elaborate designs, including bead weaving. However, like many crystal beads, the opening can be sharp, so they aren’t quite as versatile as other types of glass beads, or even authentic pearls.
When your designs call for pearls, what do you reach for?
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