How to Tell If Pearls Are Real

Real pearls are beautiful, precious – and frequently copied. Though some modern-day imitation pearls look and feel more like the real thing than ever before, there are some things you can do to help determine if a pearl is real or fake. Read on to discover what pearls are considered real and how to tell them apart from imitations.

What are the types of real pearls?

Some real pearls grow inside mollusks like oysters or mussels naturally, without human intervention. These types of pearls are called natural pearls and are very rare. The other kind of real pearl is the cultured pearl. Cultured pearls also grow inside mollusks, but with human assistance to get the process started. Further breaking it down, cultured pearls can be freshwater pearls, cultivated in lakes and ponds, or they can be saltwater pearls, cultivated in the sea. Well-known types of saltwater pearls include Akoya pearls, from the Akoya oyster; Tahitian pearls, from the black lip oyster near Tahiti; and South Sea pearls, cultivated in parts of the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean.

Are cultured pearls real pearls?

Because cultured pearls are formed with human intervention, some people wonder, are cultured pearls real? Are freshwater pearls real?

Yes, cultured pearls are real pearls. And because freshwater pearls are a type of cultured pearl, freshwater pearls are real pearls, too. They are created with the exact same material in the exact same way by oysters or mussels over the course of several years, so they are indeed real in every aspect.

How can you tell if pearls are real?

Look at the pearl’s luster. Real pearls shine and reflect light. Fake pearls don’t; they may be dull.

Look at the pearl’s shape. Even cultured pearls are rarely perfectly spherical. Real pearls will likely have some imperfections in shape. Fake pearls are more likely to be perfectly round.

Similarly, if you’re evaluating a strand of pearls, look for symmetry between pearls. Real pearl necklaces often have some slight variations between pearls, because matching is difficult. Fake pearls are more likely to be identical to each other in shape, size, and color.

Rub the pearl gently on the surface of your tooth. Real pearls feel rough, like rubbing sandpaper. Fake pearls feel smooth. Since real pearls do scratch, be very careful when doing this.

Touch the pearl. Real pearls feel cool at first and then warm up. Fake pearls don’t do this, and may even feel a little tacky or sticky to your fingers.

Feel the weight. Is what you’ve heard true, are real pearls heavy? Typically yes, real pearls are heavier than fake pearls made of plastic or resin. However, a fake pearl made of shell or other material may weigh as much as a real pearl of the same size, so don’t use this test on its own.

Add Real Pearls to Your Collection

Linton Jewelry Designer Pearl Jewelry

At Linton Jewelry, we have a large variety of designer cultured pearl & gemstone jewelry. Peruse our collection and make our real pearls part of your collection.

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