Real pearls can be either natural or cultured. Natural pearls are created by annoying an oyster. A tiny bit of sand/grit or the diamond chip your first husband gave you is inserted into the oyster who then takes a great deal of time layering over the irritate. This phenomena doesn’t happen very often out in the wilds of the coral reef so we invented cultured pearls. Cultured pearls are easier to make as the oysters are consistently annoyed and are gathered in one place. These pearls are often better shaped than “natural” pearls so don’t get all worked up about the natural part. Cultured are real and just as beautiful.
Can you tell the difference between real and faux?
If the pearl dissolves in vinegar – a la Cleopatra, then congratulations, it’s real. But it’s also gone. Better to feel the pearls against your teeth – a real pearl will feel a bit rough or gritty. A plastic or glass pearl will feel completely smooth. These plastic pearls will also survive your vinegar drink.
For the perfect pearl necklace look for:
- Pearls of consistent quality, with beautiful luster and consistent color.
- High quality hand knots between each pearl on the strand.
- A quality clasp, at least 14K gold. A sterling clasp or 10K is less desirable, it could come undone and fall into your drink.
- Excellent condition.
Ultimately, any good jeweler will be able to assist you in the final determination of the authenticity and value of your pearls. We have pearls in the store if you want to check them out. I’m not sure I’ll let you put them in your mouth, but you can always ask.