Fake Pearls or Real Pearls, How Can You Tell?
If you want to figure out if a pearl is genuine or fake, you should know that it's not as easy as you might imagine. Certain fake pearls are designed for use in costume jewelry such as Majorica or Mallorca, including man-made, imitation and simulated. Sometimes, people think that Majorica or Mallorca pearls are cultured pearls, well they aren't. It's important to understand that these pearls are not genuine.
Imitation pearls often look like the real thing however, they are not cultured or natural pearls. They are crafted from plastic, glass, ceramic or shell. During production of these man-made pearls, a bead is covered with varnish or another material which offers luster that is pearl-like, as well as false iridescence.
Genuine pearls are very valuable and they are produced within mollusks. They may be cultivated in mussels, oysters or other bi-valves. The rarest pearls are formed in the wild and found out of sheer luck. These wild pearls have the highest value and they are generally out of reach to most collectors and jewelry fans. A lot of vintage jewelry designs do feature wild pearls, but these jewelry designs are usually pricey.
These days, the majority of real pearls are harvested via farming. They are cultured pearls which are made by adding certain materials to mollusks, the material then forms nacre in layers which are concentric. This creates the real iridescence that natural pearls are known for.
Signs of Fake Pearls
A quick way to determine if pearls are fake or real is to check if the pearls are too perfect. They seem to have incredible luster all over while actual pearls are gifts from Mother Nature and they will have their own imperfections, like a snowflake, no two pearls are exactly alike. Fake pearls will be exactly the same size, a graduated strand will have perfect graduations, since the pearls aren't real they may be created in order to have specific diameters.
Artificial pearls will not be luminous, they won't reflect light the way that real pearls will. Imitation pearls can shine brightly, but it will lack depth and won't have the actual luster formed from mother nature. When examined under magnification, imitation Pearls may show slivers of plastic bead or glass near the edges of their holes. You'll also see no rings or ridges near the drill holes and the colors will be the same throughout each pearl, where as real pearls will have these rings and ridges and noticeable differences in their colorations. Imitations will look flat in tone when compared to genuine pearls, while genuine pearls will have more depth and overtones.
Another telltale sign of fakes are their lighter weight, versus real pearls. When you hold the pearls in your hand, the imitations will feel noticably lighter compared to the genuine article. If you rub real pearls together gently, or rub them against your front teeth, you should feel grittiness and a little resistance as well as a cool to the touch feeling. These are signs that pearls are genuine.