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Buyer Beware - How to Tell Real Pearls from Fakes

Buyer Beware - How to Tell Real Pearls from Fakes

When buying pearls the question always arises as to whether or not the pearls you are purchasing are real or not. This article will show you how to tell real pearls from fakes.

First of all, in real pearls you will often notice tiny surface ridges or indentations and they will not all look identical. Each pearl is unique and under magnification may show a slight variation in color throughout the pearl. Only the very rarest, highest quality pearls have smooth unblemished surfaces. But even then, if you look carefully in good lighting, you can usually see some slight variations on some of the pearls in a genuine strand.  Fake pearls, on the other hand, will be perfectly smooth and identical like you would expect from something mass produced in a factory.

Now, try to look at the end of the pearl where the hole is drilled for the string.  Real pearls have a tiny neat hole that has been drilled carefully into the spherical pearl. But on fake pearls you can often see a ring or ridge or flattened area around the hole from when they were mass-produced.

Next, you need to look at the overtones and iridescence.  Not all pearls have overtones that are obvious to the untrained eye.  But if you hold your pearls in good natural lighting and turn them back and forth slowly, you may see a variation of color or even a slight rainbow iridescence.  If you see that you can be pretty sure you have the real McCoy!  Tahitian pearls and Metallic Freshwater pearls are good examples of pearls that often have a magnificent display of iridescence and overtones that seem to change color according to the lighting.

When you put on real pearls they should be cool whereas the fake ones can feel warm on your skin. However, genuine pearls have the distinction that they absorb the heat from your body as you wear them, so after wearing them for a while they will feel warm in your hand when you take them off.  That’s another indication that they’re real.

The weight of the pearls is another tell tale sign. Real pearls usually weigh more than their fake counterparts.

The most common test is to see if the pearls are gritty. When you rub them together or against your teeth and they are smooth then they are fake. Real pearls are gritty.  This is because they are made of microscopic crystals of aragonite.  This is probably the surest way to know whether they are genuine or not.

Hopefully this helps you understand a bit better how to tell real pearls from fakes. Our pearls here at Pearl Distributors are always genuine pearls and we guarantee them as well.

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