So, you are still shopping for bargain jewelry at your local flea market or thrift store and now you have found an old antique pearl brooch or a strand of pearls.  Are they real? Are they artificial? How can you tell?

First, do not assume because they are old or yellowed that the pearls are real. Fake pearls have been around since the 1600s.
Determining if pearls are real or fake is a fairly easy task.  Though admittedly, it is a disgusting test.    If you are brave and not afraid of the possible germ intake, you may take one of the larger pearls and rub it against your teeth.  If it feels smooth, it is a smooth pearl.  If the pearl catches, feels grimy or chalky you have found a real pearl.  You should consult with your dentist and your physician before you try this quick test.  Unfortunately this test will not work if you have false teeth.
Do pearls need to be tested if they are found in a fine antique pearl brooch or have a fancy clip?  Yes, they still need to be tested. Often we find fine platinum diamond antique brooches or pendants that have plastic pearls that were used to replace the original pearls.

Sorry, we do not have a test to tell you if the pearls are natural or cultured.  If you wish to know more you may send them to a Gemological Institute of America or another such lab.

When buying a strand of pearls, we like to stretch out the strand and roll it back and forth on a smooth counter top.  This helps us find pearls that are not symmetrical or positioned incorrectly.

What is the Purpose of a Jewelry Appraisal?
By: E. Montgomery
Ten Two Three Estate Jewelry
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