Did you know that there are ways to determine the authenticity of pearls? If you've ever wondered if your pearls are authentic, look no further.

Here are some tips on how to tell if your pearls are real:

1. Check for Flaws

One way to determine the authenticity of pearls is to examine their surface. Like anything else created by Mother Nature, no two pearls are the same. Real pearls have small, fingerprint-like ridges on their surface. These ridges give each pearl a personality and bristly feel. If you can't feel the ridges or if the pearls are perfectly smooth, they are most likely faux pearls.

2. Use Natural Light

Authentic pearls are more reflective and seem to glow. Try this pearl test, hold your pearl necklace up to a source of light and check if each pearl reflects light with an iridescent glow. You're likely looking at a strand of authentic pearls if they do. In contrast, synthetic pearls are not reflective, although they are shiny.

3. Check for Overtones

Dazzling real pearls feature overtones — the slight color visible on their outer surface when light hits them. As authentic pearls come from different mollusks and often from different places, the tones of organic pearls should differ. Typically, faux pearls would not have this overtone effect, which is difficult to reproduce.

4. Check the Size

Natural pearls come in different shapes and sizes, unlike man-made pearls (usually one uniform size). These different pearl shapes and sizes result because genuine pearls occur naturally, and anything that occurs in nature organically will have a slight variation. We repeat, natural pearls are not perfectly round.

In contrast, faux pearls have an overly perfect spherical shape because of the precise manufacturing process.

5. Check the Temperature

It's not just about looks; you can distinguish between a real and synthetic pearl with touch. Bonafide pearls are cold to the touch. Regardless of the weather, they slowly warm up as worn. On the other hand, imitation pearls are warm to the touch and don't change temperature. So if you're feeling a cold sensation when you wear your pearls, they're likely real.

This test, however, is far from exact and is highly dependent on the material of the faux pearl.

6. Check the Weight

One major difference between legitimate pearls and fake pearls is their weight. Legitimate pearls are solid and substantial, making them heavier than their faux counterparts.

Try this pearl test; hold a loose pearl in your hand and feel its weight. If a loose pearl is light in proportion to its size, it is probably an artificial stone. Faux pearls usually consist of plastic or another lighter material.

7. Bounce It

The bounce test is a great way to tell if a pearl is genuine. Drop the loose pearl from 2 feet high on glass, then observe the height of the rebound. If the pearl bounces back higher than 1 foot, it is most likely a genuine pearl, as the rebound height of fake pearls is much lower.

8. Rub It

The next method for discovering the origin of your pearls is a little invasive, but it is 100% accurate. So try this trick, rub a genuine pearl against another authentic pearl. This rubbing action should feel gritty not smooth and produce a thin pearl powder.

9. Listen

Another easy way to test out your pearls is by listening to them! Knock two genuine pearls against each other, and you should hear a soft and unique sound. Whereas when you knock counterfeit pearls together, this produces a very slight sound.

10. Use UV Light

Using UV light is a great option if you're looking for a quick and easy way to test if pearls are real.
Natural pearls will display fluoresce under ultraviolet light, meaning they glow. Press a small UV flashlight over the pearl to see if it glows. If the pearl glows, it's likely a real pearl. A natural pearl displays fluoresce under ultraviolet light because of the presence of natural organic compounds in its nacre.

Imitation pearls, on the other hand, are typically made out of glass or plastic and don't contain these natural organic compounds. As a result, they won't display fluoresce under UV light. So, if you shine a UV light over an imitation pearl and it doesn't glow, it's likely a fake pearl.

One downside of using UV light to test if pearls are real is that some fake pearls on the market are now made with materials that do fluoresce under UV light. So, this method isn't foolproof. But, it's still a quick and easy way to test if pearls are real or fake.

11. Use a Magnet

The easiest way to check whether your pearls are real or fake is by using the magnet test. Natural pearls contain a hard material called nacre, which gives them that classic opaque pearl look. If you put a small magnet near a real pearl, attraction causes the real pearl to stick to it, while fake pearls will not show any sign of attraction to the magnet.

12. Check the Price

If you're still not sure if your pearls are real or not, take a look at their price tag. Genuine pearls will usually be more expensive than imitation pearls. So, if you find a great deal on a cheap strand of bonafide pearls, chances are they're not real.

13. Check the String

Typically, bonafide pearls connect along a silk or nylon thread. If you're examining a strand of pearls and the string is made from cotton, the pearls are likely not real. Cotton strings are most common in an imitation pearl strand.

14. Check for Knots

Authentic pearls feature individual knots, which means there is a tiny knot between each pearl. The knots keep natural pearls from rubbing against one another and protect you if your strand snaps. However, some high-end fake pearl strands contain knots between each pearl to pass as authentic. So this test by itself is not definite proof.

15. Use a Microscope

The easiest way to tell if a pearl is real is to inspect it using a microscope. This will allow you to inspect the surface under 10x magnification. If you place a pearl under an intense microscope, it looks scaly, whereas fake pearls often have a grainy texture.

16. Look for a Drill Hole

Take a look at the pearl under a magnifying glass to see if there's a ring around the drill hole. If that's the case, it's most likely a real pearl.

Another thing to look out for is that drill holes in organic pearls are often smaller than those in counterfeit pearls. The holes in genuine pearls are drilled as small as possible to maintain the integrity of authentic pearls.


17. Nail Polish Remover Test

One way to test if your pearls are real is by using nail polish remover. First, apply a small amount of nail polish remover to a cotton ball and then lightly rub the cotton ball against the pearl. Imitation pearls will lose total luster within one minute of doing this.


18. Use Fire

When you burn a real pearl mildly, the pearl remains shiny, intact, and produces no odor. If the flame is consistent for about 2 minutes, an authentic pearl produces a pop sound. When a fake pearl comes into contact with an open flame, it emits a foul stench and loses its shine.


19. Bite It

If you're unsure if your pearls are real, you can always test them by biting them. Real pearls should be quite hard, while fake ones will usually be much softer. So, go ahead and give it a try - just make sure you don't bite too hard, or you might end up with a mouthful of powder!

Gently place the pearl between your teeth and see if it feels gritty. If it does, you're most likely dealing with a natural pearl. Imitation pearls usually consist of glass or plastic, which feel smooth when you bite them. 

20. Use Black Light

The black light test is especially useful if the pearl is undrilled. Under a black light, cultured pearls will typically have a milky, bluish-white hue and a uniformity in color. Under a black light, natural pearls in a strand will have different color intensities from pearl to pearl and generally appear tan or yellowish.

21. Check with a Pro

If you're still unsure if the pearls in your possession are authentic, bring them to a professional jeweler. They can help authenticate your pearls with ease and give you an honest opinion on whether or not they're organic pearls.

Wrapping Up

If you're not sure if your pearls are real or fake, there are a few tests you can do at home to find out. Start by inspecting the surface of the pearls for irregularities. Then, try the float test to see if your pearls sink or float in water. You can also use a magnifying glass to inspect the drill holes in the pearls. If you're still unsure, take your pearls to a professional jeweler for an evaluation.