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ABOUT PEARLS: Choosing The Right Ones, and Knowing The Differences Between Real and Faux

Posted by learntobead on May 7, 2020

Pearls come in different sizes and shapes, and a myriad of colors.

Some pearls are from nature. These include freshwater pearls (from mussels) and saltwater pearls (from oysters). Pearls can be naturally occurring, or cultured, where people have intervened in the process by introducing an irritant inside the mollusk shell.

Other pearls are “faux” or imitation. These are some kind of core bead with a pearlized finish around it. These are typically described by what makes up the core of the bead. The core could be plastic, glass, shell, ceramic or crystal. These are made in different countries around the world and vary in quality.

To differentiate between natural and faux pearls, try these things:

A) Always when buying pearls, check the hole.

Most natural pearls have very small holes. The holes usually appear relatively smooth, but not perfectly smooth, round and centered as the holes in faux pearls do.

The finishes on many faux pearls are not well applied, particularly at the hole. You often can see the finish chipping off or peeling away from the hole.

Look inside the hole. In natural pearls, the hole will seem to be a solid tube all the way through. In faux pearls, usually you will see a thin rim, and the hole past the rim seems hollow.

B) Rub the pearls against your front teeth.

Faux pearls have very smooth surfaces. Natural pearls will have bumps and slightly uneven surfaces. You can feel the differences, when rubbed against your front teeth.

Grades or Qualities of Pearls

Pearls are typically described in terms of :

  1. Luster: the way pearls seem to glow from within.

It’s based on the depth of reflection due to the layering of the aragonite crystal.


2. Overtone: the translucent “coating” of color that some pearls have.

A silver pearl may have a blue overtone or a green overtone, for example.

3. Orient (sometimes called iridescent orient):

The variable play of colors across the surface of the pearl like a rainbow.’

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry: What Works!

What Glue Should I Use When Making Jewelry?

Why Am I So Addicted To Beads?

A Very Abbreviated, But Not Totally Fractured, History of Beads

The Martha Stewart Beaded Wreath Project

When Choosing Colors Has You Down, Check Out The Magic Of Simultaneity Effects

The Use of Armature In Jewelry: Legitimate or Not?

Pearl Knotting Warren’s Way

Organizing Your Craft Workspace…Some Smart Pointers

You Don’t Choose Clasps, You Choose Clasp Assemblies

Know Your Anatomy Of A Necklace

Mini Lesson: Making Stretchy Bracelets

Mini Lesson: Making Adjustable Slip Knots With Thicker Cords

Mini Lesson: How To Crimp

Mini Lesson: Attaching End Caps, Cones, Crimp Ends

Mini Lesson: Brick Stitch

Mini Lesson: Flat Even Count Peyote

Mini Lesson: Ndebele Stitch

Mini Lesson: Petersburg Chain

Mini Lesson: Right Angle Weave

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Everyone Has A Getting Started Story

The Nature-Inspired Creations of Kathleen

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Glass Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Lampwork Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Crystal Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Seed and Cylinder Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Choosing and Using Clasps

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

About Pearls In History: Or Why The Indians Sided With The French

About Pearls: Choosing The Rights Ones

About Pearl Knotting Jewelry: Choosing Clasps

Re-Stringing Pearls: 5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Pearls Need Re-Stringing

A Note About Caring For Pearls: 10 Things You Should Know

Styles and Lengths of Pearl Necklaces

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

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