Quick Ways To Tell If Pearls Are Real Or Fake

ways to tell if pearls are fake

Of all the gemstones that women can own today, pearls are very much in favour.  As a result of these gemstones being so popular, there is a wide array of pearl jewelry now available.  But sometimes it can be difficult for us to be able to distinguish whether the pearls are real or fake.

But before we help you with learning about how to tell if pearls are real or fake it is important you know some background information about these beautiful gemstones.  The first thing to know is that pearls aren’t like any other gemstones as a living creature, in fact, creates these.

Often referred to as the “Queen of Gems”, pearls have in fact been treasured by humans for thousands of years.  In fact, their popularity first began back in the time of the Roman Empire.   Yet it seems that their popularity has grown even more in recent years.

The reason for their popularity among women of all ages is that they exude elegance and are very versatile.  As you will soon find out when you wear pearls they complement a wide array of different outfits that you have in your wardrobe.   As you can imagine because these gems are so popular the demand for them is high.

This has of course now led to the rise of the production of fake pearls.  Plus technical advances in their production have meant that some women have unknowingly purchased fake rather than real pearls.

So how can you avoid becoming another person who unwittingly purchases fake rather than real pearls?   In this article, we provide you with a guide that will show you ways to tell if pearls are real or fake.

Pearls Real Vs Fake

As you will soon learn there are quite a few differences between what are real pearls and those that are fake?   By understanding what these are you will be in a much better position to determine whether pearls are genuine or fake.

There are certain characteristics you need to be aware of that will help you to separate the real pearls from the fake ones.


Any fake pearls will have a uniform shine to them so that results in them radiating light in the same way.   However, when it comes to real pearls as a living creature creates them they have slight imperfections to their surface.  This means that their luster (shine) won’t be the same all over their surface.

ways to tell if pearls are fake

Plus when it comes to real pearls they have a much deeper luster, it almost seems as if they are illuminated from inside.   Whereas when it comes to fake pearls the shine is only on the surface and their actual luster doesn’t have any depth to it.


Fake pearls will actually all be the same size and perfectly round in shape.  Plus as you look closely at their surface you will not see any imperfections or blemishes.  Which you cannot say for real pearls as they, in fact, will have minute imperfections and won’t be uniform In shape or size.

Colour And Overtone

The first thing to notice about fake pearls is that they are uniform in colour.  However, when it comes to the real McCoy there are very subtle differences in their colour and overtones.  This is completely normal, as a different oyster has created real pearls you see in pearl jewelry today.


One other way to tell if you are holding real rather than fake pearls is by their weight.  Manmade pearls weigh less than real ones.  But you still need to be wary as those creating these fake gemstones have come up with ways to increase their weight.  Sometimes they use materials such as glass to increase the weight so they feel similar to real pearls.

As well as the above there are other ways for you to determine whether the pearls you are going to purchase are real or fake.

How To Tell If Pearls Are Real Or Fake?

Feel Them

This is the easiest way of being able to tell whether the pearls are genuine or false.  When you touch real pearls they feel cool but when worn or held they begin to warm up.  Whereas fake pearls will feel warm immediately and in some cases feel a little sticky.

Another thing you will notice when it comes to genuine pearls is that they don’t feel smooth.  In fact, they seem to feel quite uneven because of the slight imperfections and blemishes to their surface.  But this isn’t the case with fake ones, as they really feel smooth and even.

Rub The Pearls Together

Whenever two real pearls rub against each other they produce a fine powder.  The same would also occur should you rub a real pearl with a knife.  But when it comes to fake pearls no powder is produced at all.

Knock Them Against Each Other

If you were to knock two real pearls against each other they produce a very unique and soft sound.  This is because of the various layers of nacre that have been produced by the oyster to create these beautiful gemstones.  Whereas you will find with counterfeit pearls that they only make a very slight sound.  In fact, counterfeit pearls when they knock against each other seem to have a more tinny sound to them.

ways to tell if pearls are real

Rub Against Your Teeth

This is another very easy test you can carry out to see whether the pearls you are thinking of buying are genuine or not.  You simply need to gently rub the surface of the pearls against your teeth.  It is important that you do this very gently as genuine pearls are very soft.  If you are not careful you could end up scratching the surface of the pearl.

When you rub the pearls against your teeth you will feel a gritty texture that is somewhat similar to fine-grain sandpaper.  This is as a result of thousands of minute layers of crystalline platelets that lay upon each other.  It results in a very microscopic rough top layer to the real pearl.

As for fake pearls they feel smooth almost like plastic, as they don’t have any of these crystalline platelets.

Buy From A Trusted Retailer

Buying online can be a little tricky in fact it is often the most common way for people to buy pearl jewelry these days.   There are many benefits to be had from choosing to purchase your pearl jewelry online.  Not only will you have a wide selection of jewelry to choose from but also you will be able to find something that suits both your tastes and your budget.

Knowing the above of how to tell whether a pearl is real or fake is useful, but it doesn’t help so much when you decide to purchase yours online.  But having said that there are still ways in which you can make sure the pearls you buy online are genuine.  You do this by buying them from a trusted retailer.

This may seem a little obvious, but we cannot stress just how important it is.  So to help you we offer some ways to ensure that you buy real pearls online.

Don’t Look At eBay!

There are some listings on eBay for websites that will sell real pearls.  Unfortunately, those offering fake ones have found ways in which they can write reviews that aren’t genuine.  So they may seem like we can trust them because of the rating they have.  All they are attempting to do is get you to buy their counterfeit pearls for the same price as real ones.

how to tell if pearls are fake

Give Them A Call

Those retailers who are selling real pearls will have a phone number you can contact them on so you can speak to someone.  Don’t be afraid to ask them to provide you with more information.  A quality retailer will be more than happy to answer your questions or offer you further information about their products.

Do They Have Accreditation

Authentic pearl retailers will be accredited to several different institutes.  Look for those who are associated with such groups as the Cultured Pearl Association or the Jewelers Board of Trade.

Also, look for those retailers whose products have been appraised by pearl experts that hold an Accredited Jewelry Professional Diploma.  Also, you may want to look for those who have a Pearl Certificate from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

ways to tell if pearls are fake

Read The Reviews

It is important that you read any reviews you can find about the company that you wish to purchase your pearls from.  Not only should they have testimonials on their website but you should be able to find reviews about them on independent review websites like Trustpilot.

Here at Pearlsonly.com, we have made it a priority that we provide our customers with the highest quality pearls at the best prices possible.   We provide an extensive range of cultured pearls including Akoya, Freshwater, Tahitian, Hanadama and South Sea pearls.   Plus all purchases are backed by a FREE 90-day return policy.  Allowing you to return the pearl jewelry for a full refund if you aren’t happy with it for any reason, no questions asked.

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