How to Spot a Fake Pearl

A common and fairly reliable test for fake pearls is to simply rub the pearl gently across your teeth. The surface of the cultured or natural pearl should feel rough, or “sandy”, due to the unique build up of the nacreous surface. A fake pearl will generally feel smooth across your teeth, like glass or plastic.

Almost all pearls are being treated one way or another today. Detecting color change treatments can be tricky. But here a few methods one can use:
1) One can examine the matching of the strand of pearls. Naturally colored pearl necklaces will have slight color variations between each pearl. A perfectly consistent strand of pearls can be evidence of color treatments. Perfect pearls are not natural, that’s why in pearl jewelry each pearl is unique!
2) One can peer down the drill hole of a pearl and look for contradictions of color. If one can see a darkened nucleus when peering through the hole, this could be evidence of iridescent treatments.
3) To detect luster treatments, one can look at a pearl through a magnification of at least 50X. A natural untreated nacre surface is somewhat scaly, while a treated surface will appear smooth and man made.