Jewels gems

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Gems and Pearls Real and Fake

Jewels have always been used as love tokens and whilst many pieces were fine gems and precious metals, good fake jewellery intended to deceive existed. True gemstones and pearls originated from the east and were bought chiefly by the Italians. The Italian merchants then sold the goods on in Europe. Good glass imitations were often used and sometimes with intent as in royal funerary robes and children's jewellery.
Flawless, round, natural, large white pearls were prized more than precious gemstones. The finest of pearls were provided by South India and the Persian Gulf. The Italians, particularly the Venetians and people from Murano, could make imitation glass gems and pearls that were very good likenesses of the real jewels. Recipes for false pearls existed in 1300 when white powdered glass mixed with albumen (egg white) and snail slime, produced beads that were used as imitation pearls.