Pearl jewellery is one of the most popular forms of jewellery. A very common doubt that people have is how to tell the difference between natural pearls and synthetic pearls. This blog briefs the easy ways to visually recognise the difference between these two types.
How to spot fake pearls by simply looking at them?
When you are at a jewellery store and you spot a pearl necklace, the first thing to do is to have a simple observation. Place the pearl necklace on a white sheet of paper and start examining it inch-by-inch. As a student of a jewellery design course would know, you will have to check
- If they are all perfectly round in shape.
- If they have variations in shape.
- Look out for any inclusions or blemishes on the surface.
- Notice if can spot any lighter or darker areas visible just underneath the surface when you hold the pearls up against a strong light source.
- Look out for subtle variations in body colour or overtone within the necklace layout.
Ask yourself these questions, but remember that cultured pearls are nothing but natural pearls. The mollusks will always leave its mark in the form of a fingerprint on the gem during its creation. This is why there will be some kind of imperfection if you look hard enough on the pearl. This aspect is kept in mind even during jewellery designing.
Take the tooth test
This is self-explanatory. This has to be done very gently as the pearls are very soft in nature. Their softness is almost equivalent to that of a Talc. So make sure you avoid scratching the pearl’s surface.
During the tooth test, If it is a natural pearl, you will feel a gritty texture, something like fine-grain sandpaper. The gritty texture feel is due to the microscopic layers of aragonite (crystalline) platelets layered on the top of each other. If it is a synthetic pearl, it feels smooth, like plastic. This happens because man-made gems lack crystalline plates. These measures are part of training in jewellery designing courses.
Although the tooth test may not always give genuine results, it will guide you in the right direction, dropping a hint or two in finding out whether the pearl is natural or synthetic.