Pearls and pearl jewelry represent the most timeless of jewelry designs, and anyone, regardless of their age, can wear pearls and look stunning.
Pearls are classy, elegant, simple, trendy, and they also carry an air of sophistication.
Unfortunately, the high demand and the inherent high quality and need for the best of pearls, and the fact that real pearl jewelry wouldn’t be considered cheap are the biggest reasons for the thriving markets for fake pearls.
And that is not even the worst bit – the worst of all is that it is quite difficult to differentiate the real pearls from the fakes.
If you are planning to buy pearl jewelry and you’d like to have all the accurate details about the differences between real and fake pearls, this article is for you.
Difference between real pearls and fake pearls
1. The texture of the pearls
The main difference between fake and real pearls lies in how the pearls feel, either when you rub the pearls on your thumb or feel the pearl’s texture on your teeth – essentially, feel the super smooth pearls, and extra neat pearls are fakes.
The first thing for you to know about the fake pearls that are made in the lab is that they are perfect pieces that are designed to meet specific design features, which also means that they are perfectly smooth and slippery.
The real pearls, whether naturally occurring at the bottom of the sea or cultured in freshwater, will not look or feel perfect.
This means that the real or genuine pearls will feel a little gritty, uneven in some areas, and they are not slippery. In other words, the real pearls are imperfectly perfect.
2. Settings for the pearls
Real pearls often feature small, single-knotted strands to separate the pearls. This is an important design feature that prevents the pearls from bumping into each other or getting chipped.
The real pearls, whether pendant pearls or pearl earrings, also look very well made and also secure.
Note that the manufacturers of the fake pearl jewelry often look for cost-cutting strategies, and in most cases, the construction of the jewelry is done in factories where the pearls and the jewelry are mass-produced, which means that there is no real attention to details seen in the jewelry, and at the same time, the pearls will not be separated and they may fall apart.
3. The temperature of the pearls
An interesting thing to note about the pearls is that the real pearls always feel cool to the touch – we are talking about the same cool or cold feeling that you get when you step on a marble floor barefoot. In the same way, real pearls feel cool to the touch when you first hold them, and they warm up after some time. The fake pearls, on the other hand, will feel warm or at room temperature when you hold them.
The only exception to this rule is the Majorica pearl which is made of glass and often feels cold/ cool to the touch.
Even so, it’s important to note that the Majorica pearls tend to be pricier than the rest of the fake pearls, and the reason for this is that the Majorica pearls are regarded as the finest-quality manmade pearls.
These pearls are also highly sought after, durable, and long-lasting, thanks to the incorporation of thick and multiple layers that leave the pearls with a very thick nacre.
But, this doesn’t mean that the fake glass. Majorica pearls can always pass for the real pearls.
The main reason for this is the fact that despite imitating the thermal properties of the real pearls and that they will also feel cool to your touch, the glass pearls tend to take much longer to warm up to your skin compared to the natural pearls that adapt to the body’s temperature in seconds.
4. Knotted design for the real pearls
If you want to know if the pearls or pearl necklace you are about to buy is made of real pearls or fakes, you should look at the design of the necklace and how the pearls are stranded together.
As mentioned above, real/ natural/ genuine pearls are strung together in a knotted design that keeps the pearls apart, protecting them from rubbing against each other.
The knots for the real pearls are made of either microfiber strands or silk. But this shouldn’t be the only method that you use to differentiate the fake pearls from the real ones.
5. Neat, small Drills
The real pearls are handled with extra care, which is seen in the neatness and the small size of the drilling holes for each pearl.
The small and carefully drilled holes ensure that the integrity of the pearls is protected.
The fake pearls not only look chipped at the drilled points but also have bigger holes that could be cracking or discolored, unlike real pearls that ooze finesse.
The extra-large pearls that are real will be extremely expensive, but this is not the case with the fake pearls that are big and cheap.
You can tell if the large pearls are fake or real by knocking them against each other.
If there is a thin, metallic sound, they are fakes. A warm, soft sound, on the other hand, points to real/ genuine pearls. The real pearls may also produce a sandy-textured sound.
7. Rubbing the pearls
Real pearls produce a powder when rubbed against each other.
Now, this is an invasive method, and it might not be ideal if the pearls are real – rubbing the real pearls together may degrade them.
So, we recommend the rubbing test only if you have done other tests and they point to the pearls being fakes, and you only need to confirm this.
Fake or faux pearls will leave behind flakes of the coating when rubbed together.
8. Radiant sheen off real pearls
If you hold the fake and real pearls in the sun, the real pearls will exude an unmatched, exuberant radiance that the fakes cannot match.
Not sure if the pearls are fake or real, the tips above will ensure that you can clearly tell the real pearls from the fakes. Read more related topics here or here!
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.