Thursday, December 9, 2010

Are My Pearls Real?

Most of us have pearls in the back of our jewelry box, or passed down from a dear old aunt, but don’t know their value – or if they are even real.  There are many kinds of genuine pearls, Akoya, Tahitian, Freshwater, Saltwater, Cultured and more.  Unfortunately, there are also a multitude of fake pearls out there too, made from glass, paste or even shells.

 There are three simple ways to determine if your pearls are real. 
  1. The “Tooth Test” - Take your jewelry and run one of the pearls against the biting edge of your front teeth. If there is a gritty feeling it is probably a real pearl. Compare the texture to that of a smooth bead, a piece of plastic or glass.  Pearls are concentric layers of nacre so they have a gritty texture that you can feel with your teeth.  Be wary however of “pearls” made of ground shells.  These can also be gritty.  That’s when I go to …
  2. The “Luster Test” -  Fake pearls have only a surface shine, real pearls shine from within.
  3. The “Rub Test” – Simply rub two pearls together. They should feel a little gritty, not slide off of each other.

Of course, you could always go to a jewelry store for authentication.  For years I have treasured my double-strand pearl necklace and bracelet brought back from Hong Kong by a friend.  I keep them in a velvet-lined box, and never spray hairspray or perfume while I wear them.  A few years ago, when I learned this little trick, I did the tooth test – they were as smooth as glass – in fact, they were glass!  Totally disheartening, but then I realized I needed a REAL set of pearls, which gave me the opportunity to study pearls, find reputable vendors -- and buy some. I discovered that Tahitian and Akoya pearls would cost me upwards of $4,000. They were beautiful, but I could think of a lot of other things I could spend $4,000 on. That's when I started researching freshwater pearls. They are genuine, beautiful and extremely reasonably priced. 
 I can assure you that at Gracious Bridal we only sell genuine freshwater pearls that are hand strung.  They are heirloom quality and quite affordable for both you and your bridesmaids. If you are looking for quality at a reasonable price, these freshwater pearls are for you.  It is the ultimate classic gift, as wonderful now, as it was back in the fifties

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