Take a look at your pearls. Are they real or manmade?
When you bought that attractive jewelry, did you wonder whether you were getting the real thing or a fake? Take out the mystery and discover ways you can tell real pearls from the others.
Texture is the best way to determine a real pearl. All natural pearls—saltwater or freshwater pearls—are made by mollusks that deposit nacre on a seed bead within the flesh inside its shell.
Nacre is deposited in uneven microscopic layers, which gives rise to the resulting texture. Such texture cannot be seen with the naked eye but can be felt in the following ways.
Gently rub two pearls together. They will have a gritty feel if they both are real. Rubbing two manmade pearls together yields a smooth slide over each other. Such a surface without texture is not nacre but a manmade coating on a sphere.
Rub the pearl gently with your tooth. Your tooth will detect a gritty surface. No such gritty texture can be detected with a manmade pearl.
The store where you purchased the jewelry is another good way to tell. A store selling jewelry as its main merchandise markets the real thing. No jewelry store would risk its reputation to sell you something it’s not.
Quality is another matter and not the subject at hand right here. In other words, poor quality pearls can be sold in a jewelry store, but if they are manmade, the store will say so. Especially if you ask.
Manmade pearls often appear in costume jewelry. This is the interesting jewelry we see in women’s clothing stores, apparel department stores, and fashion boutiques.
Designs tend to be long, large scale, multiple strands, glittery, bold, or all of the above. Many are quite attractive and reasonably affordable, but don’t be fooled by price. High-end boutiques and salons put a high price on design. Such innovative but expensive jewelry is often fashioned from common materials.
If you think the 20-mm pearls in several strands of a shiny silver necklace at Chico’s are real, think again. While Chico’s fashion apparel is genuine, the jewelry gemstones are not.
If you think that the featured stone in a stunning but simple daring bold necklace for $500 should be a real pearl, think again. If a chic boutique carried the item, chances are the pearl was plastic or made from base metal and coated.