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  1. #1

    Default these pearls belonged to my grandma

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    hi can you please tell me anything about these pearls, they belonged to my grandma then my mum then me

  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Hi yellow bird,

    I think they may be imitations. Please try this: rub two of pearls against each other, gently. If they glide against each other easily, they are most likely imitations; real nacre feels gritty when pearls are rubbed together.

    Does the clasp have any metal mark on it? Check the tongue of the clasp too. Base metal is commonly used for imitation strands. Sterling silver (stamped 925) is sometimes used for clasps of better imitations, but gold would not usually be. However, clasps can be changed.

    If the pearls feel gritty, please post up-close photos of any flaws you may see on the pearls.

    There are other indications of imitation pearls that may be present:
    • large drill holes (pearls are sold by weight so real pearls generally have small drill holes)
    • beveled drill holes
    • excess swirls of coating near the drill holes
    • peeling coating-- the coating would be thin and flaky
    • areas where the coating has worn off and the glass bead can be seen underneath

    If you have a 10x loupe (magnifier) examine the surface. Real nacre looks very smooth, while imitation nacre looks coarse and grainy. If in doubt you can compare what you see with a known-real or known-fake pearl.

    I just want to add that ladies of our grandmothers' and mothers' generations often wore and treasured their imitation pearls. This was true of both my late MIL and mother. This makes the item very sentimental, and even if imitation it has value to you.

    Finally, you could give them a bath in mild soapy water; I see some grime near one of the drill holes, which can throw off the rubbing test. Grime can make pearls feel sticky or resistant when rubbed. If you plan to wear them (and why not?) I would restring them. The silk can become worn out over the years which increases risk of breakage. We have a restringing tutorial stickied on the Lowly Beaders Club. Many of us restring our own pearls-- it actually is easy.

  3. #3


    thank you, they do hold sentimental value

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