Do you have a stunning string of pearls but you're not sure if they're real or not? You'd be surprised how many people have been fooled by fakes! Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to identify real pearls from their imposters. With the right tools and knowledge, anyone can learn how to tell if pearls are real or fake. Learning how to spot the difference between real and fake pearls is essential for anyone who is looking to purchase a special piece of jewelry or wants to know the true value of an heirloom. With the right tips and tricks, you can save yourself from wasting money on a fake and get your hands on a real pearl.

How Do You Tell The Difference Between Real Pearls And Fake Pearls

To determine if pearls are genuine, you can inspect the surface. Natural pearls are never exactly the same, and upon close observation, you'll notice slight patterned lines that look like fingerprints. This gives each pearl its distinct character and makes it slightly rough to the touch. If you cannot feel any ridges on the surface of the supposed "real" pearls and they are completely smooth, then chances are they are not legitimate.

How To Tell If Pearls Are Real Or Fake

Whether a pearl is real or fake can be measured by a few simple methods:

Check For Surface Flaws

If a pearl is made of plastic, it will not have the same texture as a natural pearl. It will feel completely smooth without any bumps or imperfections. Real pearls, on the other hand, always have slight imperfections. These are naturally occurring and show that the pearl is authentic. For example, a fake pearl is likely to have a matte finish. Cultured pearls are almost always glossy, whereas natural pearls are muted in their shine.

Alternatively, you can use a simple magnification tool to examine the pearl’s surface, searching for imperfections. Real pearls display a consistent and orderly structure, impossibly difficult to reproduce by hand.

Check The Shape

Real pearls are rarely perfectly round. They come in near-round, oval, button, drop, semi-baroque, and baroque shapes. And have a unique pattern, exhibiting irregularity and symmetry.

Analyze The Color

Many natural and cultured pearls present an overtone, a translucent color that appears over a large area of a pearl’s surface. A pink or greenish hue might be visible on top of the original body color. Faux pearls may appear in a single uniform color and have no depth, but some genuine pearls with low luster can lack an overtone as well, so this method alone cannot be used as the sole indication of a pearl's authenticity.

Check Drill Holes

When inspected closely, the drill holes of genuine pearls are typically minuscule; conversely, fake pearls are often bigger. When examined closely, the protective covering around the drill holes of fake pearls is usually quite thin and appears to be glossy. And oftentimes, if you look closely, you will notice the interior of fake pearls is hollowed.

Feel The Coolness

To carry out this experiment, you'll need some pearls that you haven't been wearing. Take the pearls in your palm and focus on the sensation they create against your skin. Genuine pearls should feel cool to the touch for a few moments before turning warm. On the contrary, the imitation pearl will tend to be near room temperature and warm up more quickly.

NOTE: High-grade imitation glass pearls may still give you a "cool" feeling when touched. Therefore, it is better to validate your results with other methods in this article

The Tooth Test

Place the pearl between your upper and lower teeth and press gently. Alternatively, you can rub the pearl against the exterior of your teeth. Pay attention to the sensation when the pearl touches your teeth. Genuine pearls are composed of nacre with a gritty texture, so if it feels like sandpaper, it is authentic.

Feel The Weight

An easy way to identify the authenticity of a pearl is by its weight. Cultured pearls have a solid and substantial feel, making them heavier than fake ones. To determine if a pearl is genuine, hold it in your hand and compare its weight to its size. If it feels light for its size, it is likely an imitation made from plastic or another lightweight material.

Rub Two Pearls Together

Genuine pearls possess a distinctive texture due to their layered nacre structure. If two pearls are rubbed against each other, you will notice a slightly grainy sensation and a white powdery substance. Conversely, artificial pearls often feel slick and glassy.

Final Thoughts

There are many different types of pearls on the market, but not all are created equal. To determine if the pearls are real, you can use this guide to give you a general idea of the difference between real pearls and fake ones.