How can you tell a real pearl from a fake?

We have a lot of people come and see us at PIKE to ask if the pearls they have been given by their grandmother, aunty or family friend are real or not. Sometimes we can tell just by looking – the size, shape, the evenness of the colour. It is getting harder to tell, with costume or fake pearl production improving, but these are some of the ways we can tell:

Real pearls often have small blemishes (imperfections) on the surface. There are very slight variations in the colour of the pearl or the strand of pearls, which is caused during the natural growing process. There is also a variation in the shape of real pearls.

And then there’s the real test. We rub them against our teeth. That’s right –  we rub them against our teeth! It sounds very odd and the reason that we do it, is that the nacre (the ‘pearly’ bit) is a little rough in texture.

A fake pearl is always completely smooth against the teeth (a little like plastic). They are more often than not identically matched in colour, shape and size.

And that’s how you can tell!


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