How to Distinguish Real Pearls from Imitation Ones?

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How to Distinguish Real Pearls from Imitation Ones?

Technology has made fake pearls look authentic that the possibility of purchasing a counterfeit one has increased. Features of imitation pearls also change, so it is wise to get familiar with authentic pearl features.

Simple rules to distinguish real pearls from counterfeit ones


All real pearls in the necklace are not identical in terms of luster, shape, size, and color. Real pearls are made naturally, so everyone has unique personality. Alternatively, imitation pearls have identical shape and size.


Authentic pearls have no particular neat shape. A necklace from real pearls with same shapes is hard, especially the round shaped ones. It is rare to find a perfect pearl, so big size perfect pearls with good luster sell for thousands of dollars. You can get more info about the price and quality of perfect pearls online.


Authentic pears are cool, even in hot summer. Fake pearls have sticky feel, while rolling. Fake beads made from glass weigh heavier and if waxed glass is used weigh lighter than the real pearls. On rubbing against one another, real pearls produce powder because of rough surface but fake pearls have smooth surface so will slip.


Real pearls sound soft, when the entire strand gets shaken but fake ones sound tinny. Real pearl scrapped with teeth produce grainy, sandy sound and feel. Fake pearls have no sound as the surface is slippery.

Use magnifying glass

The real pearl surface will have patterns like wind over dunes and imitation ones will exhibit rugged eggshell surface under a 5x or a 10x magnifying glass.

Professional jewelers use the following technique


The real pearls surface, when scrapped with knife will produce some powder but artificially coated ones will expose the glass beneath. If glass is uncoated then scrapping gives smooth feel.


When lighter is used to burn the pearl lightly then real one’s surface will remain intact, shiny and there will be no odor. On the other hand, plastic pearls will smell bad to burning, lose luster and surface will have black blemish exposing bead core.

Chemical solution

Acetone solution is used to test the pearl. Fake ones will lose total luster in a minute.

Bounce test

When pearl gets dropped on a glass piece from 60 cm height, its rebound height is 35 cm but fake pearls bounce height will be worse.

Check out the pearl grading system to define its value, before buying.

Carol Gilmore

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