Detecting Real Pearls, FTC Guide & Type of Pearls

Pearls, Types, Guide and Simple Detection

Perhaps the best loved gems of all time, pearls and their modern counter parts, cultured pearls.

The online marked is full with pearls and pearl imitations, so much funny business, how do you conduct yourself and how do you avoid being scammed?

How??? By education.

OK, before you start reading....plain and simple,
How to detect a real pearl VS a fake pearl?

Simple test, pick a not-so-visible spot on the pearl (bottom or lower side) and gently rub the pearl on your teeth. You will feel a grinding sensation like sand paper or sharpening stone. Only pearl will have a "pearly"  smooth luster and rub like that. All other pearl-like materials will rub smooth on your teeth. Make a note to be gentle and not scratch the pearl.

Next: From my experience...

Beware of Chinese dealers, Chinese dealers will say anything to make a sale. Please beware of these dealers who are out to make a quick buck on you through high shipping and cheap lower quality product. In fact, I dare say that the Chinese sources have ruined the pearl market by flooding it with low quality pearls.
For example....THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SOUTH SEA FRESHWATER PEARLS....Get it, South Sea??!! Freshwater??!! (Sea is not fresh water). They just love to scam people don't they?

FTC Guide on Pearls

  • It's unfair or deceptive to use the term "Pearl" ALONE or the term "Natural" (or anything similar) for cultured pearls or imitation. Cultured pearls should be noted as "cultured pearls".
  • It's unfair or deceptive to use the term "Cultured", "Synthetic" or anything similar for imitation pearls.
  • It's unfair or deceptive to use the term "Oriental Pearl", for anything other then natural pearls from the Persian Gulf.
  • It's unfair or deceptive to use the term "South Sea" for cultured pearls from other sources.
  • It's unfair or deceptive to use the term "Pearl" or "Cultured Pearl" for specimen of inferior appearance or quality.

Types of Pearls

  1. Akoya - Originating in Japan and today also in China. Akoya are mostly white to cream in body color and range from 2mm to 11mm in size. Yellow, Gray and Blue colors are also known to occur in Akoya but most likely you will find colors created by radiation.
  2. South Sea - Originating in Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Burma & Thailand. Normally white to golden in colors and range from 8mm to 18mm in size.
  3. Tahitian - Originating from around the islands of French Polynesia (places like Tahiti), They range from white to black to metallic in color and from about 7mm to 17mm in size.
  4. Freshwater - Pearls cultured in streams, rivers and lakes. Cultured freshwater pearls are very common in the US and China, however natural freshwater pearls do occur and can be found in antique jewelry. The range in size, shape and quality.
  5. Keshi - (Japanese for poppy seed) - These are pearls that form without being intentionally nucleated (as cultured pearls are) in mollusks undergoing pearl cultivation. Basically naturally occurring pearls as a result of cultivation, Keshi can be seen as natural pearls since they grow without direct human intervention.
  6. Blister Pearls - Cultured or natural pearls that form over a solid core inside a freshwater or saltwater mollusk's shell. The side that faces the shell is flat and lack nacre.
  7. Mabe - An assembled product consisting of a cultured blister pearl and cemented backing (such as plastic or resin).

Thank you for your time, I hope this helps.

Please grade my other guides!!!






We are Top Rated on eBay as well:      
Last modified: 11/09/12