HOW TO TELL IF YOUR PEARLS ARE REAL



There's nothing quite like the feeling of wearing a beautiful piece of jewelry. And when that jewelry happens to be a set of exquisite pearls, the experience is even more special. But how can you be sure your pearls are the real deal?


Here are some pointers 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 identical. Real pearls have small, fingerprint-like ridges on their surface. These ridges give each pearl a unique personality and bristly feel. So, if you can't feel the ridges because the pearls are perfectly smooth, they are most likely faux pearls.



2. USE NATURAL LIGHT


Authentic pearls appear to glow and are more reflective. Try this pearl test, hold your pearl necklace up to a source of light and check to see if each individual pearl reflects light with an iridescent glow. If they do, you're probably staring at a strand of authentic pearls. Synthetic pearls, in comparison, are shiny but not 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


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


In contrast, because of its exact manufacturing procedure, faux pearls have an excessively perfect spherical shape.



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


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 type of 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. In contrast, when you knock counterfeit pearls together, this produces a very faint sound.



10. USE UV LIGHT


UV light is a great option if you're looking for a quick and easy way to test whether 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.


On the other hand, imitation pearls 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.
UV light to test if pearls are real is that some fake pearls on the market contain materials that do display fluorescence under UV light. So, this method isn't foolproof.

 


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


Check the pearl with a magnifying glass to determine if its drill hole has a ring around it. If so, it is most likely a genuine 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. 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


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 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.



WRAPPING UP


Now that you know how to tell if your pearls are real, it's time to get out there 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 easily. Happy hunting!