How Can You Tell If Pearls Are Real?

Determine the authenticity and value of pearls by conducting the tooth test and inspecting the color, surface thickness, luster, shape and size of the pearl as well as any blemishes. This process does not require any specialized equipment.

  1. Conduct the tooth test

    Rub the pearl against the front surface of one of your teeth. Avoid the edges as this can mar it. A real pearl should feel gritty, not smooth.

  2. Inspect the color

    Inspect the color of the pearl. If it has a rose overtone, it is likely real and more valuable than cream-colored pearls.

  3. Look at the surface thickness

    Look at the surface thickness of the pearl by rolling it underneath bright light. If it blinks, then it has a thin surface and is more likely to wear through. Thick surfaces are best and have a better luster.

  4. Look at the shape

    Look for a round pearl by rolling it on a surface. The rounder it is, the more valuable it is. Slightly elliptical pearls are less valuable.

  5. Inspect the size

    Inspect the size of the pearl. Bigger pearls are more valuable.

  6. Note any blemishes

    Note any blemishes on the pearl such as bumps, nicks or scratches. Unblemished pearls have the greatest value.