1 is real MOP, but the shell back is white, so it's hard to tell.
2 is plastic. Bet you guessed from the first photo!
3 is real and easy to identify MOP, with that nice shell backing.
4 is fake, fake, fake! But really that's not fair, because it's not trying to pretend it's anything but plastic.
5 is real MOP, but you have to stroke it to be sure, as the back of the shell was white and smooth. Real shell feels colder and has more texture than your average plastic one.
6 is FAKE! And this one really is fake - it's been given a fake shell backing and everything! I used to hate it when Marks and Spencers used fake MOP buttons in the 1980s, when Laura Ashley was using real ones, but actually it's probably far more environmentally friendly not to go dredging up shellfish to make buttons these days. That's one reason it's good to collect second hand ones..
I just thought I'd show you the two pretties (MOP of course) that I found. Pearly Queen (great name) at Violet White was saying she's seen these going for over two euros each, recently... A bit crazy.
And back to the 'spot the real MOP' game, because sometimes it's naturally grey...Obviously, we have to turn them over... and you can see it's the one on the right. Isn't it a beautiful button?Here's some revision (it's clearly time for this teacher to take a holiday). Here are the backs of three fake buttons:And the backs of three real ones:What do you think of these two? The one on the left is real shell: abalone or maybe that New Zealand shell which my NZ friends will have to name for me! The one on the right uses some interesting shell patterns, but it's plastic. Kind of cute, though. A final glance at the variety of MOP - the slightly pink one and the dark blue ones are dyed.And here they all are in situ, in my MOP button tin! What a very satisfying button hunt. And there's a second drawer waiting for me one of these days...