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How to recognize real pearls

Open oyster with pearl isolated on white

How to recognize real pearls – how does it actually work? Did you know that pearl jewelry was already “in fashion” about 4300 years ago? Already the advanced civilizations in ancient Egypt knew about the beauty of real pearls. In other cultures, too, pearls had a great importance and so they survived generation after generation. At first, genuine pearls were reserved only for wealthy people. The reason was the rarity of real pearls, which are still a product of nature. Fortunately, with the first cultured pearl, this circumstance changed, so that the broad masses also came to enjoy wearing the elegant pearl jewelry. Pearls are one of the most famous refinements of jewelry in jewelry making and stand for discreet elegance and modern sophistication.

To ensure that you have something from your pearl jewelry for a long time, the authenticity of the pearls is important. We at VIVA show you in the following article how to recognize genuine pearls. 

What are pearls?

Pearls are a natural product and are created inside certain shells or snails. In today’s jewelry making, only cultured pearls are usually used. When pearls are grown, of course, they are just as real pearls. The growth is merely artificially initiated by inserting a nucleus into the mollusk. The rest of the pearl formation process is natural. Within the process, the small inserted nucleus is covered with many layers of nacre. In the end, the result is the real pearl.

The pearl cultivation requires a lot of tact, time and attention. It can take up to a year for a pearl to emerge. It depends very much on the method of cultivation. Genuine pearls usually have a maximum diameter of 1.5 cm. A first indication to recognize a real pearl, because all sizes above are, with a few exceptions, very unlikely.

Recognize real pearls in high quality pearl jewelry

You can recognize genuine pearls by the fact that they are a natural product and thus rarely perfect. They differ greatly from each other in color and shape. Genuine pearls sometimes have small indentations in the surface or are different sizes, never circular. Therefore, pearls for high quality pearl jewelry are divided into quality grades. Pearls of the highest quality level are characterized by the quality AAA. This is followed by gradations of AA and A. Other intermediate qualities are indicated by a +. In addition, Tahitian pearls are graded from A to D, where A is the highest quality. The price for genuine pearls is therefore based on size, color, shape and luster.

There are different types of genuine pearls.

South Sea pearls

The South Sea pearl is also known as the “queen of cultured pearls” and comes from the southern seas of Japan. Their color spectrum ranges from strong silver-white to delicate cream tones.

Freshwater pearls

Freshwater pearls, unlike other cultured pearls, are grown in lakes and rivers. They present themselves in a range of colors from white-pink to a delicate salmon tone. Sometimes they even come with a slight purple hue.

Tahitian pearls

The Tahitian pearl is a “black pearl” that presents itself with shades ranging from a fine silver-gray to a blue-green. It is not a true black pearl, as these are enormously rare.

In addition, there are Akoya pearls, which are grown from a type of Japanese shell, and Keshi pearls, which brings a particularly unusual shapes.

How to recognize genuine pearls

In addition to genuine pearls, which we use for high-quality pearl jewelry, there are many fakes on the market, so it is important to know how you can recognize genuine pearls. Distinguishing fake pearls from real pearls based on their appearance is sometimes not so easy nowadays due to the technological possibilities. However, there are a few key differences in how you can recognize real pearls.

Recognizing genuine pearls:

  • A real pearl is never larger than 1.5 inches in diameter.
  • Natural pearls are rarely circular.
  • Their surface is neither perfect nor smooth throughout, but rather rough and uneven.
  • Real pearls are heavier than fake pearls.
  • They are cold when put on and warm up only when worn.
  • The luster (the typical iridescent sheen) is highly reflective and appears vibrant. Fake pearls are usually matte.

The ultimate tip to spot a real pearl: Hold the pearl under a lamp. If the pearl reflects the light of a lamp, you can recognize a real pearl.

Rather unsuitable, but definitely a reliable method to recognize a real pearl: You can also tell a pearl is genuine by placing it in vinegar. However, this would not only be a pity, but would also cost you quite a bit. A genuine pearl would dissolve in a vinegar bath because it is made of a mixture of calcium carbonate and protein and is not acid resistant.

It’s best to buy high-quality pearl jewelry from a supplier you trust, like us at VIVA. We only use genuine pearls from certified dealers for our jewelry creations. Feel free to browse our store’s assortment of pearl jewelry. We are also happy to advise you personally.