This March we are celebrating Craftsmanship Day – a holiday dedicated to recognising makers and their respective craft.
Being a craftsman requires a specific set of skills which include creativity, artistry and patience. At Majorica we have devoted centuries to developing these skills to hone our own craft, and we are proud to be the jewellery designers and makers that we are today!
In the spirit of this special holiday, we thought it only fitting to share more about our story and the processes that go into making our products. Read on to discover more about our past, Mallorca’s relationship with pearls and how we at Majorica meticulously manufacture our jewellery.
The Pearl in History
Jewellery is a universal form of adornment that throughout history to the present day has been worn for reasons beyond aesthetics. In addition to communicating religious and spiritual beliefs, it is also material culture that is denotative of power, wealth and status. From basic materials through to precious stones and pearls – the practice of accessorising dates back centuries and has a rich and interesting past.
This includes pearls, which are believed to have been discovered in the ancient time and known to have been used for decorative items as far back as the fifth Century. A drop from a pearl oyster is exceedingly rare, making it a valuable object that is still revered to this date. Indeed, to possess genuine pearls was a privilege that only the extraordinarily rich and powerful could afford well into the nineteenth century- meaning that people sought affordable alternatives.
The demand for cheaper imitations was recognised, and in the seventeenth century a rosary manufacturer from Paris used fish scales to coat glass beads to give them the iridescent shimmer similar to real pearls. The exclusivity of pearls ended in the nineteenth century when Japan invented the cultured pearl.
This democratised the pearl and enabled a wider demographic of people to experience this highly sought object.
Mallorca and Pearls – A Long Lasting Relationship
This period marked the start of Mallorca’s association with pearls, when in 1890 we as a company began producing high-quality, artificial pearls.
This is thanks to a man named Eduard Hugo Heusch, who was a German engineer and entrepreneur. He wanted to find a formula and process that would replicate the unique beauty and perfection of natural pearls but at a lower cost – essentially creating the only organic, man-made pearls.
This was no small feat, but Heusch rose to the challenge and fulfilled his goal when he emigrated and moved to France. Here he worked in Paris on a process to manufacture artificial pearls, which led him to establish a company that he later transferred to Manacor in Mallorca.
The reasons for this relocation were strategic. In addition to needing to be near the sea, Heusch also recognised and required the skill of the workers within the region, specifically the craftsmen, opaline blowers and the dexterity of the hands of the women who were responsible for lining the necklaces. The decision to relocate to our island represents a significant moment within our company’s history as this is when he began producing what he referred to as the ‘Majórica’ pearl – establishing the business whilst simultaneously cementing the relationship between our island and man-made pearls.
The Processes Behind Imitation Pearls
The pearls of Majorica are routinely categorised alongside Mallorca pearls, which refer to all artificial pearls made in Mallorca that are made using the same processes. This is because the patent of the founder family expired in 1948, prompting the opening and establishment of other manufacturing firms.
Whilst the methods for coating artificial pearls are subject to variation from company to company, there is a general process that is followed in the production of this commodity. This involves several methods and includes materials that range from glass and plastic through to mollusc shell.
Majorica pearls, for example, are man-made on solid balls, often made of glass that are coated with a proprietary coating that is made in part from fish scales. The coated imitation pearls are then left to dry before being polished, which are later dipped into a chemical to harden the surface and give them an additional layer of protection against any cosmetic damage like chipping, cracking and peeling. It also protects them from potential erosion that can occur upon contact with moisturisers and perfumes.
Innovating Since 1890
Our pearls radiate tradition and history, and perfectly capture the iridescence, beauty and resistance of the real thing.
We strive for excellence in all elements of our artistry and take care to ensure we preserve the processes and formulas that are unique to our business. This is why all our pearls are produced entirely in Mallorca and come with a 10-year warranty.
Discover our pearls
From pearl earrings and necklaces through to pendants, bracelets and rings – we create elegant pieces that are inspired by our past but maintain their connection with modern design.
We have a pearl product for nearly every occasion and nearly every budget. Whether you’re celebrating an engagement and anniversary, or simply want to show someone how much you care – say it with the beauty of pearls.
We create and stock a wide range of contemporary jewellery pieces designed to highlight the unique perfection of a pearl. Browse the different collections, or get in touch with one of the team via our contact page.