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Welcome to our extensive antique jewelry glossary with around 1,500 jewelry related entries.If you feel you are missing an explanation, feel free to let us know and we will add it.
Stone pearls are man made small cabochons (half round and flat from underneath) imitating real half seed pearls. They're used already in the 19th century, and were not particularly used because of a lower intrinsic value but because it was handy having calibrated sizes in 1 (man controlled) color.
This happened too with jewelry from the Art-Deco and Retro period when lab-produced rubies and sapphires were used for the same reason.