How to Tell if Your Pearls are Real

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Check for Flaws

The first feature that distinguishes real pearls from fake pearls 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 surface. These ridges give each pearl a personality and bristly feel.

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 to see if each individual pearl reflects light with an iridescent glow. In contrast, synthetic pearls are not reflective although they are shiny.

Check for Overtones

Dazzling real pearls are often prized for their overtones — the slight color that is visible on their outer surface when light hits them. Normally, fake pearls would not have this overtone effect, which is difficult to reproduce.

Check the Size

Natural pearls come in different shapes and sizes, unlike man-made pearls that usually come in one uniform size. This is because genuine pearls occur naturally and anything that occurs naturally in nature will have a slight variation. I repeat, natural pearls are not perfectly round.

Check the Temperature

It's not just about looks, you can tell the difference between a real and synthetic pearl with touch. Bona fide pearls are cold to the touch. Regardless of the weather, they slowly warm up as worn.

Check the Weight

One major difference between legitimate pearls and fake pearls is their weight. Legitimate pearls are solid and substantial making them a bit 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 then it is mostly likely man-made.

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 genuine, as the rebound height of fake pearls is much lower.

Rub Test

The next method of trying to discover the origin of your pearls is a little invasive, but it is 100% accurate. Try this trick, rub a genuine pearl against another authentic pearl. This should result in the creation of 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.

Use UV Light

Real pearls will display fluoresce under ultraviolet light, meaning they glow. Press a small UV flashlight over the pearl to see if it glows.

Use a Magnet

The easiest way to check whether your pearls are real or fake is by using the magnet test. Real pearls contain a hard material called nacre which is what 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.

Check With a Pro

The only foolproof way to check for a real pearl is to have the pearl valued by a professional.

In Conclusion


Both real and imitation pearls are beautiful, but it's important to know which type you have. It always makes sense to shop smartly and check your pearls out carefully before buying. We hope you have enjoyed our quick tricks to finding out if your pearls are authentic or not.

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