Wednesday, December 6, 2006

How to Tell a Real Pearl Necklace from a Fake One

So your husband gave you a pearl necklace, apologizing deeply for his embarrassing outburst at the family reunion....want to know if it's real?

- Look for irregularities in the pearls shape. Fake pearls are typically perfectly uniform (too uniform) whereas real ones often have slight irregularities.

- Rub them together - if you feel a kind of "grit" in the rubbing that is a good sign. If they rub smoothly attack husband.

- The even better "teeth test" - again look for a "grit" as you rub it in your teeth. Fake pearls will often feel smoother (try to avoid looks from mother-in-law).

- Sometimes real pearls feel "cold" initially. Touch the metal blades of scissors then touch the plastic handle - see what I mean? They are in the same room temperature yet the metal "feels" colder.

- Surefire plastic test: Take a hot pin and press it into the pearl. Plastic will melt and give way to the pin whereas real pearls will not.

- There are "shell pearls" which are ground mother of pearl shell pressed and coated. Look at the drill hole - with shell pearls the coating will often be chipped around the hole.

Well there you have it, the old fake pearl assessment. If they pass, make sure to hold them high, laughing like a pirate while exclaiming "They're mine! ALL MINE!!"


JudeB said...

Hi!I wanted to thank you for this Blog entry. I make jewelry, both for fun and profit. I have been in a pearl phase for awhile now and have been getting cultured pearls from Firemountain gems and beads.(love that
Anyway, my relatives know of my addiction and is always giving me old necklaces, beads, bracelets, etc. for me to cannabilize for parts.
My aunts just gave me a necklace, that she got free, and I could have SWORN that it was a triple string of natural pearls.
Now, I don't think they are, but I am going to do a bit more testing. Anyway, thanks for the info.It was very helpful.
p.s. You can see a few of my jewelry pieces at

World Changer Seeking Adventure said...

can you tell if pearls are real & geunine by looking at them?

i'm looking at ebay and was wondering if anything is really noticable if it's fake.

Jarod said...

WCSA - It is difficult to tell online, since pictures can deceive. Perhaps the best thing to do is look at the ebayer's feedback to try and get a sense of their honor level (?)