Pearls are beautiful gems that have mesmerized women since ancient times. There is a certain charm and elegance about round and white pearls that make women go crazy about these gems. Natural pearls are made in the sea in the body of an oyster, conch or a gastropod. These creatures secrete a mineral and protein to protect them from a foreign object that gets trapped in their mantle. However, pearls are also manmade with the help of pearl culture. All these pearls are real, but there are also fake pearls that are being sold in the market to take advantage of the craze and popularity of pearls among people. These fake pearls look almost real, and it becomes difficult for the common person to tell the difference. If you do not know how to identify real pearls, there are chances that you may be easily duped by the seller.
Though it is very difficult to tell the difference between real and fake pearls, there are still some ways to identify real pearls from fake ones.
Simple tests to identify real pearls
Feel the pearl in your hands
Real pearls are cold to touch, but they soon become warm coming into your hands. This happens in only a few seconds time, and you have to appreciate their colder temperature quickly. On the other hand, machine made pearls are at the same temperature as the room temperature and you do not feel the difference in temperature when you hold them in your hands. There is a problem with this test as fake pearls made using glass beads can also be cold to touch. However, they take longer to become warm in comparison to real pearls. How to identify real pearls becomes easy if you can detect the temperature difference with bare hands.
There are differences in luster and other surface characteristics
The surface of natural pearls and cultured pearls is not even and you can always spot ridges and other irregularities on their surfaces upon close inspection. There are tiny differences that can be clearly seen under a microscope. On the other hand, if all the pearls in a necklace appear to have same luster and smoothness, they are not real. Also, you do not find all pearls in a necklace made of real pearls to have the same size and shape. If you do not know how to identify real pearls, they are less glossy than fake pearls and do not reflect a lot of light like them.
You can also tell from the colour of the pearls
If you are the owner of real pearls, you know that they are not uniformly white and they have an overtone of colour that can be seen over the surface. On the other hand, fake pearls are pure white and lack an overtone of color over their surface. However, this test is not very convincing as there are real pearls with no overtone.
Shape of the pearls is also a giveaway
Examine the shape of the pearls in the necklace that you intend to buy. If all the pearls are perfectly spherical in shape, you can be pretty sure that they are not real. Real pearls are rarely perfectly rounded. Though some cultured pearls are perfect spheres, they are very rare and extremely expensive.
If you do not know how to identify real pearls, just take a pearl and rub it against your tooth. Real pearls have a textured surface because of a structure that is formed with deposition of nacre layers one over another. On the other hand, fake pearls have a very smooth surface that you can feel against your teeth.
If you drill a hole in a fake pearl, you will find that the material that comes off is thin and like paint. On the other hand, the material that comes off in the case of real pearls is flaky and a bit rough.
Rub pearls against each other. If they feel smooth, they are not genuine. On the other hand, real pearls provide friction to your rubbing.
Lastly, real pearls are a bit heavier than fake pearls. However, you cannot depend on any single of the tests described above and you may require several in combination if you do not know how to identify real pearls.