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Beware Fake Mother-of-Pearl

Dear customer, please beware mosaic items that contain plastic-made mother-of-pearl imitation. I can't say it enough.

Unfortunately, many of these products are present on the market today, whether online or offline, and many sellers are lying about the authenticity of the inlaid mother-of-pearl. Therefore I decided to write this article to help you distinguish between genuine and fake mother-of-pearl.

The first thing you need to know is that you can't make sure you are dealing with 100% true MOP unless an expert can directly examine it. It is not enough to see a picture of it in order to tell, although you can make a guess. However, for many products you can tell the inlaid MOP is fake because it is so scandalously obvious!

Take the following mosaic box for example. This large, shiny white piece at the front is supposed to be mother-of-pearl. However, it is not, and for two main reasons. First off, it is impossible to naturally extract such a huge flat block of genuine mother-of-pearl. MOP is extracted into small pieces, it is expensive, and when the artisan needs to cover a large area with mother-of-pearl, he would craft small pieces and join them into a puzzle-like structure.

Secondly, you can see some expression has been printed on what is supposed to be genuine mother-of-pearl. True mother-of-pearl is obviously too precious to be printed or painted over! This is considered total sabotage of the material.

A third way to know whether or not this is true MOP is the price. If this box is offered to you for a mere $30, you should immediately know you are dealing with fake MOP.

Fake mother-of-pearl mosaic box

While some vendors are honest about their products having fake mother-of-pearl imitation or even factory-printed mosaic patterns and thus selling them at fairly low prices, many others advertise their items as containing genuine mother-of-pearl to try and trick the buyer into purchasing their products, sometimes even at ridiculously low or ridiculously high prices.

Fake mother-of-pearl backgammon board

The item on the right is a backgammon table sold online for $499. The seller claims it has genuine mother-of-pearl. While the small spiky piece at the 4 corners of this board may be genuine MOP, the big white square certainly are not, and any person knowledgeable in mosaic backgammon boards will know that. First because, as explained previously, genuine MOP is extracted and crafted into small pieces; and secondly because is it esthetically ugly (forgive my language) to use big square pieces of MOP this way. The art of it lies into crafting small pieces of MOP into different shapes and inlaying them in different locations across the design pattern. Add to this the fact that the inner side of this backgammon board contains no mother-of-pearl at all. This is very unusual for good quality mosaic backgammon tables. At such a high price, it should have had a fair amount of MOP on the inside as well. Unfortunately, this item is showcased on Amazon.com. I won't put a link for it, you can search Amazon for "Syrian Arabesque Mosaic Chess Backgammon" and you will find the item in question.

Finally, have a look at the item below. The seller keeps insisting in many different ways that this one has inlaid genuine mother-of-pearl, and that it is present in "massive amounts". As with the previous example, this board has plain white squares that are in reality nothing but plastic imitation of MOP. You can also notice the ridiculously low price for an object that supposedly has a "massive amount" of mother-of-pearl. Moreover, unlike the description says, the fake MOP on this item is not gorgeous at all.

So, at the risk of repeating myself, I will have to ask you yet again to be very cautious and make sure what you are buying contains real, genuine, 100% mother-of-pearl. If you are not certain yourself, do ask an expert you trust to help you make a decision.

If you have found this article to be useful and informative, please share it among your friends. I would also love to hear your opinion, and you can always email me at Orient Caravan contact email.

Mosaic backgammon board with fake mother-of-pearl squares


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