HOW TO TELL IF YOUR PEARLS ARE REAL
Are you wondering if the pearls in your jewelry box are real? You're not alone! Every day, people around the world ask themselves the same question. The good news is that there are a few simple tests you can do to determine whether or not those precious pearls are genuine. Let's take a closer look at how to tell if pearls are real.
1. CHECK FOR FLAWS
One way to determine the authenticity of pearls is to examine their surface. Like everything else Mother Nature created, no two pearls are identical. Looking closely, you'll see small ridges on real pearls resembling fingerprints. The ridges on each pearl give it character and make it slightly rough to the touch. Therefore, if you can't feel the ridges on the surface of "real" pearls because they're completely smooth, they probably aren't real.
2. USE NATURAL LIGHT
Authentic pearls have a radiant appearance and are more reflective. Test your pearls by holding them up to a light source and check to see if each pearl reflects light with an iridescent glow. If they do, you're probably staring at a strand of authentic pearls. On the other hand, synthetic pearls have a glossy finish but aren't reflective.
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 overtones of organic pearls should differ. Typically, the overtone effect—which is challenging to replicate—is not present in faux pearls.
4. CHECK THE SIZE
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.
However, this test is not precise and greatly depends on the faux pearl's composition.
6. CHECK THE WEIGHT
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.
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. In contrast, when you knock counterfeit pearls together, this produces a very faint sound.
10. USE UV LIGHT
11. USE A MAGNET
The easiest way to check whether your pearls are real or fake is by using the magnet test. If you place 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. EXAMINE 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. LOOK FOR KNOTS
Authentic pearls usually feature a knot between each pearl. These knots keep natural pearls from rubbing against one another (leading to scratches) 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, allowing you to inspect the surface under 10x magnification. Under a close microscope, a real pearl appears scaly, while fake pearls frequently have a grainy texture.
16. SEARCH FOR A DRILL HOLE
17. THE NAIL POLISH REMOVER TEST
Using nail polish remover is one way to test if your pearls are real. 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. An authentic pearl produces a pop sound if the flame is consistent for about 2 minutes. In contrast, when a fake pearl comes into contact with an open flame, it emits a foul stench and loses its shine.
19. BITE IT
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 your pearl is undrilled. Under a black light, faux pearls will typically have a milky, bluish-white hue and 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, send them to a professional jeweler for examination. They can easily assist you in authenticating your pearls and provide you with a straightforward assessment of whether or not they are organic pearls.
That's it for how to tell if your pearls are real! Now that you're a pearl expert go out and put your new skills to the test. With a little bit of knowledge and effort, you should be able to spot real pearls from fake ones with no issue. Good luck!