How Can You Tell If Pearls Are Real?

Several consumers are tricked into purchasing imitation pearls rather than genuine, superior pearls. Due to the lack of information on this subject, many consumers are either misinformed or, worse, are reluctant to purchase pearl jewellery.

Knowing the difference between real and fake pearls is crucial for those who purchase jewellery with integrity.

However, be at ease! You will quickly be able to distinguish between real and fake pearls with the help of these simple tests.

How Can Real Pearls Be Distinguished From Artificial Pearls?

Both aesthetically and financially, real pearls and imitation pearls differ greatly. When a foreign object enters an oyster through a crack on the shell's rim, a natural pearl is created inside the oyster. Due to this irritation, the oyster creates a layer of material known as "nacre" to protect itself.

These layers eventually combine to form a shimmering pearl, which can take six months to three years. Since pearls naturally form in the ocean, their shape, feel, and colour are never perfect; the best indicator of a real pearl is if it seems too good to be true.

How Can Real Pearls Be Distinguished From Artificial Pearls?

Cultured pearls, sometimes called synthetic pearls, are artificially created to have a flawless appearance using plastic, glass, or shells. They feel incredibly soft and smooth because they don't have the naturally occurring crystalline plates that form in real pearls.

Since pearls are created by human intervention, they are cultivated to be any size that the market demands; therefore, if you have a string of pearls that are all the same size and shape, they are probably artificial.

How Is the Realness of a Pearl Determined?

Make sure you know the difference between a real and fake pearl if you own any loose pearls or pearl jewellery (or hope to purchase some). You can do a few tests at home but be warned that some of them could harm the pearl if it's a real or fake "majorica" pearl. Therefore, it's best to have it examined by a jewellery expert to establish its authenticity. Here's how to determine whether pearls are genuine:

  • Look for any minor irregularities.
  • Sensate the rigidity
  • Examine the dimensions closely.
  • Examine the colour of the pigmentation.
  • Examine the lustre and colour.
  • Conduct the dental examination.
  • Take the rubric exam.
  • Apply the fire check.

Let's get started with the tests. To ascertain the authenticity of your pearl, we recommend combining two or more tests.

Look for Small Obstacles

When a natural pearl is closely examined, it can be seen that the pearl's mother naturally formed tiny irregularities and ridges on the surface. Excellent cultured pearl necklaces always have slight variations, even when perfectly matched. But if the pearls have the same appearance, they are most likely fake.

Sensate The Hardness

Since real pearls have a nacre core and are naturally rigid, they don't feel as soft and smooth. However, the chips used to create a fake pearl are inconsistent in their softness and may feel sticky to the touch.

Examine The Size Carefully

Genuine pearls come in various sizes, ranging from one to multiple. Conversely, imitation pearls are universally sized and shaped. When you test fake pearls on your finger to get a better feel, they are likely to shatter.

Verify The Pigmentation

Since genuine pearls vary in visibility depending on their quality, they reflect the entire colour spectrum with an iridescent glow. Peridot created artificially is less glossy and rough.

Many low-cost suppliers conceal their products by layering an overcoat or combining them with other pearl materials to make their products look more appealing.

Examine The Colour and Sheen of Nature

A genuine pearl should have the same natural colour and brightness as a mother pearl, with a smooth surface and lustre. The surface of a fake pearl will probably be stained or have a clear protective layer applied to it. Because it was made of synthetic material, it will also appear duller than its actual reflection.

Take the Pearl Tooth Test

The pearl tooth test is one of the most crucial methods to tell if the pearl you are getting is real or fake. It's employed to assess the durability and softness of pearls.

Taking a pearl and running it along the biting edge of your teeth is the pearl tooth test. The pearl should feel grainy if it is natural. A synthetic pearl will have a smooth, slick feel. Because glass or synthetic materials were used in their creation, some fake pearls will not even soften.

The Tooth Test's Drawbacks and Alternatives

Although very helpful, the tooth test may not always be precise. Certain imitation pearl manufacturers have begun coating their products with a particular substance to make them feel grainy against the teeth, much like genuine pearls.

For obvious reasons, this test can also be a little unhygienic and might not be appropriate in every circumstance. For instance, the tooth test might not be very helpful in a jewellery store, where the vendor might not like it when their products are placed in a customer's mouth.

To determine whether pearls are real or fake in such circumstances, buyers can gently rub two pearls together or against a glass surface.

Real pearls will feel gritty or may even release a small amount of iridescent powder due to the friction between the pearls. Because of their smooth surfaces, artificial or "fake" pearls will glide against glass or one another without leaving any residue or iridescent powder behind.

The Test with Vinegar

This test uses vinegar to distinguish between real and fake pearls. Another extremely easy test is to immerse a pearl in vinegar or apply a drop of vinegar to it.

When a genuine pearl comes into contact with vinegar, it will either dissolve or exhibit erosion at the surface. This is due to the chemical reaction between the acid in vinegar and the main component of a real pearl, calcium carbonate.

The vinegar's concentration will determine how quickly this chemical reaction proceeds. The pearl will dissolve or erode more quickly in undiluted vinegar than in diluted vinegar with water.This test won't harm a fake pearl because it won't experience the same chemical reaction.

Gently stroke a pair of pearls together

Another method to tell if a pearl is real or fake is to rub two real pearls together. A real pearl can be examined with a magnifying glass or brushed, but when rubbing two real pearls together, softer pressure is applied.

Gently stroke a pair of pearls together

Pearl powder is created when two real pearls are rubbed together. You can identify fake pearls if they appear clear and lack pearl powder. Furthermore, real pearls have a distinct, gentle thud-like sound when knocked against one another; fake pearls, on the other hand, sound completely hollow.

Apply the Fire Check

The flame test is another technique involving holding a pearl up against an open flame. When held on a naked flame, fake pearls emit an unpleasant burning smell and quickly lose their sheen, while real pearls stay shiny and undamaged and emit a light pop sound when held on a steady flame.

How Do I Assess Genuine Pearl Quality?

Natural pearls are valued for lustre and frequently have lovely, organic shapes. Check the following to see if your pearl is considered "of quality."


Freshwater pearls can take many different shapes, but round pearls are the most costly because they are the hardest to cultivate. However, there are some situations where certain perfect oval shapes might cost more than round shapes. Moreover, baroque pearls (teardrop or seed-shaped) are extremely rare and sought-after.


Compared to smaller pearls, larger pearls are rarer and more expensive. Their sizes can differ significantly and are commonly expressed in millimetres.


While other coloured pearls are more common, white and yellow pearls are rarer and can fetch a higher price. Lavender, pink, and rose-coloured real and fake pearls are available.


Usually, pearl weight is expressed in carats, but for more precise measurements, it can also occasionally be expressed using a troy scale. When compared to the weight of a natural pearl, artificial pearls are lighter.


The lustre of a pearl is another factor that influences its quality. Excellent quality has a bright, pointed lustre. Pearls with a high lustre are, therefore, more valuable, and this lustre is influenced by the characteristics of the substrate, such as the colour and purity of the water used to grow the pearls.

The Value Of Purchasing Genuine Pearls From A Reputable Vendor

Purchasing from trustworthy vendors, such as LBJ, is the easiest and most reliable method to steer clear of fake pearls.

More than 40,000 satisfied consumers—many of whom are return customers—shop at This is because LBJ has solidified a solid reputation for integrity in the jewellery industry.

Here, you will only find cultured pearls of the highest calibre. Furthermore, by purchasing pearls directly from pearl farms, LBJ’s direct-to-consumer pricing model eliminates needless overhead. Because of this, LBJ offers stunning pearl jewellery at incredibly low, extremely competitive prices for jewellery buyers.

Remember only to consider purchasing pearls from a reputable retailer once you're comfortable determining whether they're real. It's critical that you can rely on them, so investigate and confirm the legitimacy of the business. The following are the advantages of purchasing pearls from a reputable supplier:


A reputable and seasoned dealer can help you navigate the purchasing process and have a wealth of knowledge regarding ethically sourced gold and pearls.

Using the ingredients and label to your advantage can help you understand exactly what you are buying and ensure you know what kind of pearl it is, where it comes from, and all its specifications.

Return policy:

If you need one, a reputable retailer offers a generous return policy. Reputable retailers can furnish a copy of their receipt under warranty upon request. You ought to be able to return the pearl if you decide you don't like it or think it's a fake.


If your pearl is loose, your jeweller can set it in a necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings by drilling holes and putting a peg through it. Don't worry; the pearl's internal structure won't be harmed.

How Can I Determine Whether Freshwater Pearls Are Real?

Pearls from Freshwater are real, guaranteed! Freshwater pearls are grown in two different ways.

First, there are classic Freshwater pearls with tissue nucleation. These are produced when the pearl-forming process is initiated with a tiny donor oyster mantle tissue fragment. The larger and more recent bead-nucleated freshwater pearls come in second. This technique begins the pearl-making process with a bead nucleus.

Real pearls, both freshwater pearls, are created when oysters are left in lakes, rivers, and ponds for extended periods.

Freshwater pearls are well known for their exquisite iridescence, vibrant overtones, and natural pastel hues, which include pink, peach, white, and lavender. They are also known for their silky, soft lustre.

Tissue-based Freshwater pearls typically have an off-round shape rather than being spherically round. But because the nacre layers grow around a perfectly round bead nucleus, you can find freshwater pearls with perfectly round bead nuclei.

Do Real or Fake Coloured Pearls Exist?

Pearl shoppers might encounter a range of hues when looking for pearls. Such as lavender Freshwater pearls or silvery-grey Tahitian pearls, which are frequently naturally coloured. Other times, the colour is synthetic, resulting from various modifications and treatments the pearls have received.

For jewellery buyers to make wise selections, it is crucial to comprehend the distinction between naturally coloured and dyed pearls.

Do Real or Fake Coloured Pearls Exist?

Do Real Black Pearls Exist?

Black pearls do exist. Tahitian pearls, commonly called black pearls, are naturally dark grey or black. However, black Freshwater and black Akoya pearls are dyed or exposed to radiation to make them appear black.

Do Blue Pearls Exist?

Of course! The pearls in blue are genuine. For example, baby blue Akoya pearls are naturally blue. Blue overtones can be found in some Tahitian pearls, and the extremely rare grey-blue South Sea pearls are prized for their exquisite colours.

However, blue-dyed freshwater pearls are also available, and blue-dyed Akoya pearls are occasionally encountered. Sincere vendors ought to mark coloured pearls appropriately.

Pearls are among the most exquisite and sought-after luxury jewels that one can own. You can be sure you're buying real pearls and investing in a stunning wearable piece of sea treasure by doing homework.