To achieve the perfect imitation pearl has been the goal of numerous European beadmakers for over 700 years. In France, the art of making false-pearls spread rapidly after Jacquin discovered how to fill hollow glass beads with a pearl-like substance in the 17th century. Since that time, many diverse recipes have been tried and used to satisfy the French public's enormous appetite for affordable, yet elegant, imitations of fine pearls. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, these types of beads became even more popular than before, as they emerged as the principal components of costume jewelry worn by celebrated stage personalities.
The Society of Bead Researchers is a non-profit scientific-educational corporation founded in 1981 to foster historical, archaeological, and material cultural research on beads and beadwork of all materials and periods, and to expedite the dissemination of the resultant knowledge. Membership is open to all persons involved in the study of beads, as well as those interested in keeping abreast of current trends in bead research.
Opper, Marie-José and Opper, Howard
"Imitation Pearls in France."
BEADS: Journal of the Society of Bead Researchers
8: 23-34. Available at: