January 11, 2023

How To Tell If Pearls Are Real: 4 Simple Tests

By Anna Kovalchenko
How To Tell If Pearls Are Real: 4 Simple Tests

Pearls have been a highly sought-after gemstone since Ancient times and are still popular today. While a pearl’s beauty and luster makes it desirable, it’s important to know how to tell if a pearl is real. Fake pearls can sometimes be hard to spot, and it’s best to know what to look for before making a purchase.

1 Step

The first step in determining whether a pearl is real is to examine the surface of the pearl. Real pearls will have a smooth and glossy surface, where fake pearls will have a more matte or chalky surface. Additionally, real pearls may have some small imperfections or ridges on their surface, fake pearls will look too perfect.

Tahitian Pearl necklace

Tahitian pearl necklace

2 Step

The second test that can be done to distinguish between a real and a fake pearl is the tooth test. To do this, take the pearl and rub it on your tooth. For a real pearl, it should feel slightly gritty, due to the calcium carbonate layers of the pearl. Fake pearls usually have a glassy, smooth feel.

Edison Pearl Necklace

Edison pearl necklace

3 Step 

The third test is the weight test. Real pearls are denser than fake pearls, so they will feel heavier. To do the weight test, take two pearls of the same size and compare their weights. A real pearl will weigh more than a fake one.

Baroque Pearl necklace

Baroque pearl necklace 

4 Step

Lastly, if you’re still unsure, you can try the fog test. Take the pearl and breathe on it, then immediately observe the surface of the pearl. If it is real, the surface should take slightly longer to return to its original luster. A fake pearl will not be affected by your breath.

How To Tell If Pearls Are Real: 4 Simple Tests

Kasumi-like freshwater pearls

Now that you know how to tell if a pearl is real, you can make sure you’re buying the genuine article. Being able to identify real pearls is an invaluable skill that can save you money and avoid disappointment in the future.