You can tell the provenance of some pearls from the colors that glow when exposed to UV light (black). Natural pearls on a strand will vary in color intensity from one pearl to another, usually appearing yellowish-tan or yellowish-brown when exposed to a black light.
Pearls glow when placed under a black light. Different pearl types fluoresce differently. This makes placing pearls under a blacklight a useful method for identifying their origin. Most pearls appear brown under a black light. So this method is useful for identifying the authenticity of a suspect pearl.
If you concentrate particularly on the sections of each pearl reflecting the light, you will see variations in color, size, and shape.
Even a real strand of pearl necklaces, which are all perfectly round, can still show a few small differences in their pearl shapes. If you were to look at a cross-section of a pearl, holes might look wider on the outer edges than in the middle (this could make it difficult to thread through poorly-drilled pearls, and is a reason why many jewelry stores do not re-drill pearls that they are not selling).
South Sea Pearl Colorations
South Sea Pearl colors may be white, silver, pink, gold, cream, or some combination thereof, with hues similar to those found in the shells of oysters themselves. Freshwater pearls can be colored to produce a variety of shades such as yellow, green, blue, brown, pink, purple, or black. For instance, the pearl may appear white, but if it is examined and the light is bounced back from it, it may emit pink, green, or blue shades.
For instance, a faux pearl would be a dull grayish-white shade, whereas a real pearl would be an iridescent shine, ranging in colors from white to black. You will be able to see rainbow-like prisms of colors if the pearl is genuine, whereas there will not be any colors at all when you shine fake pearls in light. Pearls that are naturally colored, instead of having their colors enhanced through artificial means, will increase pearls’ value. If a pearl is painted, the paint may fill the natural dimples of the pearl, making it appear smoother.
When you gently rub natural pearls against one another, or on the front of your teeth, both pearls will feel slightly rough. Although cultured Pearls don’t begin with nature, Cultured Pearls are genuine, have an outer coat made from the same material, and just like the nature Pearls, they have taken years to develop. In a string of cultured pearls, even if they are high-quality and perfectly matching, you will always notice very slight differences. Under black lights, the cultural pearls usually look milky, and blueish-white, and also, the cultured pearls will be matched uniformly across the color spectrum of the necklace.
On the Appearance of Genuine Pearls
Genuine pearls are generally creamier and whiter than man-made ones, which may show yellowish hues. Pearls can be just as beautiful and valuable as diamonds, and they come in various shapes, sizes, colors, and prices.
Pearls have surged in popularity over the past decade, and now have a broad array of options available in the marketplace, ranging from fully man-made imitation pearls, which may still be highly attractive, but of very little intrinsic value, to higher-quality cultured pearls, which are much more expensive, since they were still created through the natural process, but have been enhanced by a certain amount of human intervention.
You will want to be able to recognize genuine pearls if you are buying them, as the precious gemstones can make for good investments. Now that you have learned about the difference between real and fake pearls, let us walk through a few simple methods to use to help you tell whether or not your pearls are the real deal.
Before getting into practical tips you can use everywhere to determine whether or not your pearls are the real thing, it is important to understand the basic differences between them. When looking at a pearl, it is important to note the shape of the pearl, as this may provide some clues as to if it is real.
Shine Is Measured through Luster
You can measure shine through luster, which is how intense and smooth a pearl’s surface is, which usually has to do with how bright and clean a pearl looks. When shining a pearl in light, the patterns change depending on what side of the pearl is facing up.
White pearls glow a nice blue-green under ultraviolet light at a long wavelength, however, certain pearls in the white pearl group might not show that fluorescence, which would include some (I cannot say that they are all until I can test thousands of pearls) of golden pearls and those that are colored/irradiated.
Irradiation by Gamma Rays may result in very dark blue-grey-black colors, sometimes with very attractive metallic iridescence on freshwater cultured pearls, and gray-blue color on saltwater cultured pearls. Meanwhile, the fluorescence from energetic scattering X-rays will help pick out chemical elements such as silver that are absent from naturally colored cultured pearls.
Depending on if there is any human help involved, the actual pearl may either be cultured or natural. Freshwater mussels may make more than one pearl at a time, and thus more implants will produce multiple cultured pearls from one mollusk, making a pearl cheaper. It is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference, particularly since, in the early 1960s, tissue-nucleated pearls appeared on the market, meaning a cultured pearl may also be completely nacreous, just as natural pearls are.