How To Tell If A Pearl Is Real Or Fake? Top 5 Tips

Several pearls tied to each other on top of a green surface

How to Tell if a Pearl is Real

Pearls have been an outstanding gem for centuries, with many famous historical figures like Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth I owning them. Today, they remain a popular choice for jewelry cherished by women worldwide. 

Regardless of the cultural background, economic status, or group age, every woman has at least a necklace with pearls. Now, if they are real pearls or imitations, that’s another question. 

How can you tell if the pearls you’re looking at are real? This guide will teach you everything you need about spotting authentic pearls.

Real Pearls vs. Fake Pearls

White pearls with a gold and diamond jewelry at the end of the spiral

Among a wide variety of jewelry pieces, there are only two main classes of pearls, the natural ones, and the imitations. Real pearls are made from oysters and other mollusks and are considered valuable gems. 

Fake pearls are made from materials such as glass or plastic and are not as priceless as real pearls.

So, which type of pearl is better? It depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a valuable and rare pearl, then a real pearl is the way to go. 

But if you’re looking for a pearl that is more affordable and easier to find, then an imitation pearl may be a better option.

What Are Real Pearls?

For authentic ones, we mean pearl-bearing oysters. Fake pearls are made from glass, plastic, or fish scales.

Real pearls are formed when a piece of sand gets into the oyster’s shell. Natural pearls created without human intervention are incredibly rare and are not commercially achievable. Consequently, they are only located in museums. 

What Are Fake Pearls?

Fake pearls are made of glass, plastic, alabaster, or shells with a pearly coating designed to resemble genuine pearls. These imitations usually have a lower price than real pearls, making them more appealing to budget-conscious shoppers. 

While fake pearls may look like the real thing, they lack the durability and luster of natural pearls. On the other hand, fake pearls are artificial beads coated with a substance resembling nacre. 

While fake pearls may look similar to real pearls, they lack the same luster and depth of color. In addition, fake pearls are often more uniform in shape than natural pearls.

How To Tell If A Pearl Is Real?

Many people think all pearls are natural, but they are often wrong. Most of the ones that look real are imitations. It can be tricky to distinguish between a natural pearl and a falsified one. 

Here it’s a simple but easy-to-follow guide with essential tips to tell if your pearls are real:

Define A Pearl’s Temperature

A person holding a thermometer, showing 36.6 Celsius temperature

Start with touching and feeling the temperature of the pearls. When it comes to telling if your pearls are real, one of the most reliable methods is to touch and feel the temperature of the pearls. 

If they’re room temperature, they’re probably real. However, pearls are likely fake if they’re too warm or too cold to the touch.

Pay Attention to Tiny Irregularities

One recommended method to define if your pearls are real is to look for tiny irregularities on the pearls. If you see any, it’s a good indicator that the pearls are real. 

Fake pearls are made from man’s hands which stand for a perfect shape, size, color, and surface characteristics, different from natural ones.

Another way to tell if your pearls are real is to hold them to the light. Real pearls will have a slightly translucent quality to them.

Inspect the Color

When determining if a pearl is real or fake, one of the first things you should consider is the color. 

Real pearls come in various colors: white, cream, pink, yellow, and black. On the other hand, fake pearls are often only available in white.

If you’re looking at a strand of pearls and all the pearls are the same color with a shiny surface, they’re fake. Real pearls have a slight variation in color, giving them a more natural look.

Observe the Shape

A bunch of white circle shapes and a big magnet like shape

It is said that a real pearl will never be perfectly round. Instead, they will have a slightly irregular shape. This is because they are formed naturally inside oysters and not in a lab. 

So, if you see a strand of pearls that are all identically shaped, there’s a good chance they’re fake.

Moreover, while inspecting, you might notice that your pearls have small drill holes near the surface of the pearl. They are most likely real. Fake pearls are generally not drilled.

Weight The Pearls

The best way to tell if your pearls are real is to feel their weight. Real pearls are going to feel much heavier than fake pearls. This is because real pearls are made of nacre, a type of calcium carbonate. On the other hand, fake pearls are usually made of glass or plastic.


There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to buy real or fake pearls. It is essential to consider what you will be using the pearls for and your budget. 

Real pearls are expensive, but they are also more valuable and durable. 

Fake pearls are less pricey, but they are not as high quality. 

If you’re in the market for pearls, it’s crucial to tell if they’re real. You can be sure you’re getting the real deal with a few simple tests. 

The next time you’re at the jeweler, remember these tips to tell if your pearls are real. We believe that these top five tips will give you a better understanding of how to tell if a pearl is real.