Pearls are beautiful. There are faux (fake) pearls that look stunning and real pearls that look... well... less so. So why care whether you can tell real and fake apart?
It is important to recognize real pearls if you are buying them because precious gems are a good investment. High quality genuine pearls cost considerably more than those made of glass or plastic. The best way to know how to tell if pearls are real is by knowing the characteristics of an authentic pearl.
The first feature that helps us distinguish real pearls from fake is their surface. Just like anything else created by Mother Nature, no two pearls are the same. Real pearls have small, fingerprint-like ridges on their surfaces,  these imperfections give each pearl a personality and a bristly feel. A magnifying glass is often helpful, this slightly wrinkly texture is not always visible to the naked eye. In contrast, imitation pearls are unnaturally smooth when touched. Perfection is a dead giveaway that your pearls aren’t genuine.
Authentic pearls are also more reflective and seem to glow. Hold your pearls up to a source of light and check to see if each pearl reflects the light. This gives the pearl a lustrous iridescence. In contrast, fake pearls aren’t reflective although they are shiny. They’re often quite lackluster and do not interact with light. 
A necklace that features pearls that are all evenly crisp white in the sun will most likely be a fake pearl necklace. A necklace or bracelet that comes with pearls with slight color variations and a subtle yellow (or occasionally pink) overtone will most likely be natural pearls.
Similarity in Size and Shape
Real pearls come in different sizes and shapes, unlike the counterfeit ones that come in basically one-size-and-shape-fits-all. This is because they’re naturally occurring, and everything in nature will have a slight variation. I repeat, real pearls aren’t perfectly round. If your jewelry piece features pearls that display small asymmetries, off-round or possibly even elongated, oval shapes, then you are probably the lucky owner of a bona-fide pearl necklace. Because faux pearls have been mass-produced, each pearl has the same uniform shape and size. Manufactured pearls, be it the case of glass, composite, plastic or shell are always faultlessly round. Do your pearls look like soldiers in a row? If they are perfectly uniform without any distortions or imperfections, it’s very likely that they are man-made. 
And it’s not all just about looks. You can tell the difference between a real and fake pearl with your hands, too. Real pearls will tend be cold to the touch, and they slowly warm up as worn, regardless of weather. False pearls often feel warm, especially if they are plastic beads. And as you might have guessed, most fake pearls will likely feel warmer and stay at room temperature whether worn or not. 
One major difference between real and fake pearls is no other than their weight. Real pearls are substantial and solid and a bit heavier than their imitation counterparts. Feel the weight of the pearl when you hold it in your hands, if a pearl is light in weight in proportion to its size then it is most likely man-made and produced from a material like plastic, resin or ceramic.
One of the most noticeable differences between real and fake pearls is their different textures. Perhaps the strangest way to tell if a pearl is real involves your teeth. If you run a strand of pearls along your teeth and feel a slight sandiness, then the pearls are real — you’re feeling those ridges that real pearls have. If a pearl slides smoothly across your tooth then it is fake, faux pearls are always smooth and crease-free. Although we don’t recommend putting strands of pearls in your mouth as shop owners might not like this.
This next method of trying to discover the origin of your pearls might be a little invasive, but it is definitely 100% accurate. When you rub a pearl against another real pearl, thin pearl powder is produced. The same effect results when a real pearl is lightly scrubbed using a knife. If you rub two simulated pearls against each other, the process is smooth and no powder results from this.
Another easy way to test out your pearls is by… listening to them! Knock two real pearls against each other and you should be able to hear a soft and unique sound. When knocking counterfeit pearls together, the sound is often described as metallic & thin.
In conclusion, these are the simplest and quickest ways to find out if your pearls are authentic or not. Both real and fake pearls are beautiful but it's important to know which type you have. 

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