These very old pearls were my grandmothers and I have been told they were given to her in 1915 when she was 18 years old. They are true glass pearls. Each glass bead was made hollow then the inside of the glass was covered with a ground pearl coating. This necklace measures 16" in length and has graduated sized pearls. I have noticed that at one end there was a break but it was fixed with thread and glue. A very good job I must say! One of the glass pearls is broken which gives you an insight into how they were made. The larger ones in the center are almost transparent now. A truly interesting and beautiful example of antique glass pearls. Something that is not found made today. This was the method used in the late 19th century.
A Frenchman by the name of Jacquin observed that when fish were in a barrel of water, a resulting film of silvery pearlescent particles on the water’s surface was quite lovely. Skimming these particles and dehydrating them, he discovered a lustrous powder that captured his imagination; he had a most unusual iridescent pigment and began experimenting in the early manufacture of faux pearls. The pigment stayed on the glass surface only when applied on the inner surface of a bead, injected in one hollow end of the bead and allowed to drain out the other end. When applied to the outer surface, of course, the necklace wearer’s body heat and oils dissolved the coating, but the trade secret of coating the inside of the glass sphere was closely guarded until 1716, after which this manufacturing technique became common in Europe and Asia and glass pearl beads produced in this manner decorated historic costumes in the centuries to follow.
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