real pearls vs fake pearls

How to Tell Real Pearls From Fake

Fake pearls have a distinct place in the gemstone business. Many people choose faux pearl jewelry because they are cheaper and look remarkably similar to their original counterparts.

But you definitely don’t want to end up with counterfeit pearl products when you have paid for the originals. Is there any easy way to find out if they are fake or real?

How to Tell Fake Pearls from Real with No Expertise

With the help of modern technology, faux pearls these days look almost impeccable. But there are still some features to separate fake pearls from authentic ones. Only gemologists can apply a few of them. But laypeople can also tell if they look for these signs:

Visual Checks

Naturally grown pearls don’t have a perfectly round shape. All the beads in a piece of authentic pearl jewelry will never have the same shape or dimension. Big perfect pearls with rounded edges are so rare that they cost an arm and a leg.

Faux pearls are machined like any product manufactured in a factory. They have a neat, round shape so perfect that all beads in a necklace or bracelet are likely to have the same shape and dimensions.

Another visual discrepancy is reflection ability. Genuine pearls reflect light something that knock-offs cannot.

Using a magnifying glass is also handy but having some previous experience will be useful in this regard. A 10X or 5X glass will be the best tool for examining the pearl’s exterior. Fake pearls have a rough eggshell-like plane while the real ones have a grainy finish.

Touch Them

After the visual inspection, it is time to put your sense of touch into exercise. Real pearls feel cold to touch and warms up gradually after holding for a while. Counterfeits are always warm and feel sticky to fingers.

The weight of natural pearls is accurate. You can feel it by taking a bead on your palm. Knock-offs are either lighter or heavier than their size.

Rub the Pearls

Rubbing to original pearls against each other or scrubbing with a sharp object will produce some powder-like particles. There will be no powder if you scrape a fake pearl.

You can also know two pearls against each other to find out their authenticity. A soft sound will make sure that they are real while the fake ones will yield a metallic or jingling sound.

Test with Teeth

Not all retailers or jewelry sellers will allow you to do this test on their products unless you are an expert jeweler.

If the retailer allows it, biting the pearls is a great way to find out its authenticity. However, biting does not mean you would try to crack it like a nut. Just give the pearl a slight graze with the front of your teeth. The real ones will feel gritty but the faux ones will slide against the teeth surface. If the counterfeits are made of plastic, rubbing against the teeth can create a dent on the exterior.

Be careful not to scratch the pearls against the edge of your teeth as it may permanently damage their surface.

Until next time.


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