If you like to wear pearls, you will face a common dilemma often. And that is how to tell whether the pearl you choose is real. It has become tough to quickly differentiate between the two, especially because they look identical. Everything looks entirely authentic, whether it’s its structure, shine, or variety.
But again, there are certain characteristics that can tell whether your pearl is real or not. Wondering which ones? Let’s find out!
What are Real Pearls?
Real pearls are authentically sourced pearls found in nature. They are precious gemstones that come from the sea through mollusk species. This includes both mussels and oysters. On a lighter note, recently, a man discovered a real purple pearl in a clam appetizer at a Delaware restaurant.
Real pearls are generally cultured by putting material into the mollusk. Once that happens, the species sheds its concentric layers of nacre. As it does so, a pearl is found inside the same.
Moreover, real pearls are made of calcium carbonate with mostly aragonite, but there can also be a mixture of both calcite and aragonite. It comes in crystalline forms with concentric layers.
Now, what does a real pearl look like?
Structure-wise, these pearls look round and smooth, although baroque pearls could be an exception.
Also see: Natural Pearls vs. Cultured Pearls
A Few Words About Us
Elasaro provides beautiful handmade earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings.
We use natural stones with sterling silver to ensure high quality and durability.
A growing community of customers that wear our jewelry around the world.
What are Fake Pearls?
Pearls have been used throughout history. Before 1920, pearls were sourced naturally from nature. But, with growing science and technology, they also started getting produced through artificial means. For that, the manufacturers planted an object within the bivalve shell and cultured the pearls accordingly.
A cultured pearl takes years to form, just like a natural pearl. Not just that, but its outer coatings also have the same material. These fake or cultured pearls are also called imitation pearls that can be produced from several other starting materials, including plastic, glass, and a real mollusk shell.
Even more surprising is how today’s imitation strategies have become sophisticated. In fact, it’s so advanced that these imitation pearls can easily fool your eyes real. They are extremely close to what real pearls look like.
How to Tell if Pearls are Real or Fake?
Now that you know about real and fake pearls, you must wonder how to tell if pearls are real. Of course, the authenticity of these pearl types may seem as if they are both real. But, in reality, you can identify the fake one following the pearl test given below:
Method 1: Using Visual Tests
Looking at pearls closely, you may find several minor irregularities on their surface. For better observation, we recommend checking the pearls under magnification. That way, any deformities could be identified instantly.
You may notice small differences in fake pearls regardless of their high quality. You may also notice that the pearls are too perfect, and all their characteristics, whether the size, surface, or color, are identical. That’s another way how to tell a real pearl from a fake.
You can also differentiate between the two with light reflectivity. Fake or imitated pearl’s luster has a glassy surface, and they might seem unnatural.
Lastly, you can also check the drill holes to ensure their authenticity. Usually, real pearls have small drill holes as compared to imitation pearls. That’s how you can tell a pearl is real.
If you observe the coating around the fake pearl’s drill hole, you may notice it’s thin with a shiny, paint-like appearance. It also has flaky coatings that could be easily peeled off. That’s a method of how you tell if a pearl is real.
Method 2: Using Touch Tests
Besides visual characteristics, touch tests can also be used if you are thinking about how to tell if a pearl is real. First, you can try rubbing the pearls against each other. Once you do so, the real pearl will feel gritty, while the fake ones will feel smooth. You can also try this strategy by rubbing the pearls lightly on the front teeth to determine if the pearls are real.
Another way how to tell pearls are real is by checking the temperature of the pearl. After touching the pearl, if it seems cold for the first couple of seconds and gets warmer on your skin, it’s real. Likewise, if the pearl has the same temperature as the room temperature, it might be fake. That’s how you can tell pearls are real.
This is the case for all the fake pearls, except those made with glass. Glass pearls may seem cold to touch at first, but it will take more time for them to get warmer compared to real pearls.
The third technique on how you can tell if a pearl is real is by weighing the pearl on your hand. You may wonder, Are real pearls heavy? The answer is yes.
Real pearls are heavier than fake pearls. Once you toss them up and down on your hands, you will be able to feel the same.
Remember that this strategy applies for all fake pearls except solid glass beaded ones. They are heavier than both natural and other imitation pearls. That’s another way how do you know if pearls are real.
Method 3: Advanced Tests
You can also test the authenticity of real vs fake pearls through advanced testing. For that, you can get it tested in a gemological laboratory. They could surely provide you with the ultimate and valid conclusion.
Besides that, you can compare the characteristics of the pearl with certified real pearls. That way, it will be simpler to differentiate the pearls, and you will get the answer on how you can tell if pearls are real.
It’s recommended to buy your pearls from an authentic and reputable jewelry store that’s backed up by proficient jewelers and specialists. They could easily guide you through the authenticity of the pearl and answer all your queries on how to tell if a pearl necklace is real.
Method 4: Learning What to Avoid
Now that you know what you should do and how to tell fake pearls from real, let’s move on to the things that you shouldn’t do:
- Do not come up with a decision with only one test. It’s best to perform multiple tests if you are wondering how to tell real pearls.
- Although you could test a pearl by using fire, it’s best to avoid it if you aren’t sure. To perform that test, you must be careful and gently burn the pearl in naked flame. If it remains intact, shiny, and odorless, it’s a real pearl. Meanwhile, the pearl is fake if it produces a bad odor or loses its luster. It’s a strategy on how to tell real from fake pearls.
As you could lose your fake pearl’s luster through this method, it’s best to avoid it.
- Beware of fake pearls in the name of authentic ones. If the brand sells products just for their fancy names, it’s best to do a background check first.
- Real pearls are more expensive than fake ones. If someone’s giving you a surprisingly lower deal in the name of an authentic pearl, you might buy a fake one. Make sure to check it thoroughly before buying.
That’s how to tell if pearls are real. As mentioned earlier, you should never buy pearls from an unknown store (that you aren’t sure about) or a street seller. Of course, this is only applicable if you want real pearls instead of fake ones. Hopefully, now you know all the strategies on how do you tell if pearls are real.