The cultured pearl association has put out a brief explanation to popular questions about pearls.
How do you tell genuine pearls from imitation?
With the “tooth test” simply pass the pearls along the edges of your teeth, genuine cultured pearls will have a gritty feeling, imitations will be smooth.
Are “cultured” pearls real? Are they different from natural?
Cultured pearls are genuine as they are grown inside living mollusks in oceans and lakes, the same as natural pearls. The difference with cultured pearls is man assists the act of nature with the insertion of a bead and or mollusk tissue referred to as “nucleation” which causes the mollusk to secrete nacre, the wondrous substance that creates a pearl.
How can you tell good quality from poor quality pearls?
Good quality pearls will have a glow and appear smooth whereas poor quality will have a dull appearance and have blemishes.
Do all cultured pearls come from the same location?
No, different varieties come from varied locations such as Japan, China, Tahiti, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Do Cultured pearls come in different shapes and colors?
Yes, there is virtually a rainbow of colors available and numerous shapes such as baroque, pear, drop, ringed, keshi and round of course. There is a pearl in a color and shape for everyone.
For more in-depth information on cultured pearls