There are fake pearls that you can easily tell from the real ones, while others are harder to recognize. Here are some tips to help you find out whether you are dealing with authentic pearls:
The Tooth Test
If you rub a real pearl against your teeth, its surface should feel irregular. Pearls whose surface is too smooth are usually fake. However, this method is far from scientific and is not the most accurate.
Real Pearls Are Rough
A better way to test the surface of a pearl is to use magnification. If you look at a real pearl through a loupe, you will clearly see that its surface is jagged and irregularly rough. You will also be able to see clearly how regular or smoother the surface of a fake is.
Real Pearls Have Imperfect Color
Take a close look at the pearl in a well-lit setting. If a pearl is real, its color should not be even throughout, and you will be able to see different tones that gradate. Fake pearls will not exhibit the same effect – their color will usually not vary.
Drill Holes of Real Pearls Should Be Small and Regular
Real pearls usually have smaller drill holes than fakes do. Since great care is taken to preserve the integrity of real pearls, their holes are drilled as small as possible.
Another clue is that the top layer of fakes will usually peel off easily, and the drill hole will appear irregular. This effect is not seen with real pearls.
The Shape of Real Pearls Is Irregular
Real pearls don’t come in perfect shapes since the natural process that created them is not as precise as a machine is. Authentic pearls will also have irregularities on their surface. Fakes, on the other hand, have a spherical shape that looks too perfect, as if the pearl has been manufactured.
The Warmth Test
Real pearls usually take longer to warm up when held in your hand than fakes. If a pearl is relatively warm to the touch, this might be a clue that it is not real. However, this test is far from perfect and is highly dependent on the material the fake is made of. Also, you will most likely need a real pearl to compare it to the one in question.
Real Pearls Often Weigh More Than Fake Pearls
Real pearls are usually heavier than fakes, which are often made of plastic or another lighter material. However, this rule is not necessarily true in all cases, so use weight as just another clue, not a definitive proof.
Photo Credit: © Dream79 / Fotolia