Are your pearls real? How to know the difference!

May 10, 2011

We asked you how you know if a pearl is real! So, how do you know? Many companies use the term “pearl” very loosely. Majorca has pearls. Swarovski has pearls. There are glass pearls, cotton ball pearls, shell pearls, plastic pearls and even mother of pearl beads… these terms use the word pearl, but they are all forms of imitation pearls. They may use pearl dust, resin, pearl pieces, shells and other lustrous materials to man-make these “pearls”. They aren’t the real thing!

The inspiration for writing this post is because we have seen people selling pearls that they claimed were real. We want to honestly believe that the salesperson just didn’t know and was not intentionally trying to deceive their customers. However, if you as a customer know what to look for… you will never be deceived!

What is genuine? According to the dictionary, genuine means possessing the claimed or attributed character, quality, or origin; not counterfeit; authentic; real.  A genuine pearl simply means an organic gem that has been born of a mollusk and was not made by human hands. Pearls can be natural although we know that most pearls today are cultured. Cultured means that the process was started by human intervention however the pearl that is formed is still all real, born of a mollusk after months or years of being formed. The technical names for the minerals in pearls are calcite or aragonite. They form a lattice type structure of layers to create what ultimately becomes a pearl.

One of the best ways to know if a pearl is real is to understand that pearls are rarely perfect! They are organic gems so they will come with small imperfections, marks, indentions or other spots. Have you ever seen a completely flawless pearl necklace? Me too! And it was fake. It is almost impossible to create an entire strand of flawless pearls. Now, ideally, you do not want huge, noticeable surface imperfections on your pearls ,however the best way to know if your pearls are real… look closely… there will be imperfections.

Have you ever heard about rubbing your teeth on your pearls? Try it! I like to rub pearls against the bottom of my top teeth. The matrix of interlocking aragonite feels gritty on your teeth. Now grab a strand of Majorca beads or plastic pearl. They will glide right across your teeth. If you feel the grit, you know they are real.

Many times I can tell if pearls are fake simply by their weight. Huge pearls will be heavy. If they aren’t, they may be the new fad of coated cotton balls made to look real. This is difficult, though, because with the new painted glass beads on the market, they are weighting the “pearls” so they feel comparable to the real thing.

Now, I don’t recommend doing anything to your sensitive pearls that might lead to their degradation so I am not going to recommend this, but I did want to share it with you. You can rub two genuine pearls together and they will again feel gritty. If you rub a bit harder, a powder fine powder will form from the breakdown of the pearls.

And yes, a final way to know if your pearls are real, just ask a pearl grader with The Pearl Girls. We deal strictly with genuine pearls so you will never be fooled!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: