Along with taking a closer look at each month’s birthstone, which we just did for June, we’re also going to be doing a series of how to spot fakes. We’ll start with June’s more popular birthstone, the Pearl.
The Shape Tells All
The simplest way to tell is the shape of the pearl. Perfectly spherical pearls typically sell for very large amounts of money and pearls in nature are misshapen. After all, they’re just the tissue of a mollusk such as an Oyster.
So if you aren’t paying very large sums of money and the pearl is perfectly round, you should generally be skeptical. In fact, pearl necklaces are usually fake because they would be very expensive to properly make. Real pearls typically do not fit neatly into necklaces.
Once you get into the hundreds-of-thousands of dollars, you’ll need to look at other features as well to make sure the pearl is real.
Cool as a… well, pearl
Pearls are interesting in that they don’t retain heat well. In fact, they almost don’t retain heat at all due to their functionality within mollusks. If you’re in a hot environment and the pearl feels sticky when you roll it around, it’s fake. If they’re heavy or look “glass-like” then they’re also likely fake as glass is one of the most common counterfeit materials used on pearls.
Just a little taste
One of the ways professionals try to tell if pearls are real is also a very strange one. If you take the pearl and rub it against the outside of your tooth (NOT the sharp edge, just the flat side) then it should feel gritty. You can also rub the pearl on another pearl and see if it produces a dust. If it does, you’re in the clear.
Of course, there are plenty of other ways to tell if pearls are fake or not as well. Shape is the easiest, but pearls are a little more simple in the fact that they aren’t true gemstones. You can use a magnifying glass to check if the surface is grainy (it should be). You can also lightly bang them against things and look for a “tinny” sound. If it sounds tinny or doesn’t emit much sound then it’s likely a fake, as a real pearl emits a soft and comfortable clinking sound.
And if all else fails, drop it from a short distance on a hard surface. If it doesn’t bounce up to at least half the distance you dropped it from, it’s likely fake.
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