How to Buy Real Saltwater Pearls

by Yan Berry

Saltwater cultured pearls include akoya pearls, Tahitian pearls and South Sea pearls.

Saltwater cultured pearls are grown in ocean oysters. One oyster can only produce one pearl. Saltwater cultured pearls are rarer than freshwater pearls and they demand a higher price.

Freshwater Cultured Pearls are grown in freshwater mussels. One oyster can produce over 10 pearls.

To tell the difference between saltwater pearls and freshwater pearls:

  1. Round saltwater pearls are perfect round, while 'round' freshwater pearls are not really perfect round. They are more like potato shaped.
  2. Saltwater pearls have better luster than freshwater pearls. The luster of freshwater pearls looks a little bit dull. Saltwater pearls look more transparent than freshwater pearls (what we refer as lustrous)
  3. The surface of saltwater pearls is smoother than freshwater pearls.

To tell the difference between real Tahitian pearls and fake Tahitian pearls:

Real Tahitian pearls have the following characters:

  1. Tahitian pearls have overtones or hue: green, gray, blue, peacock, eggplant or magenta.
  2. Tahitian pearls are cold to the touch. They can quickly adopt body temperature.
  3. Tahitian pearls are gritty when rubbed across the teeth.
  4. Drilled holes are smooth around the edges.
  5. Tahitian pearls are heavy to hold.

Fake Tahitian pearls have the following characters:

  1. They don't have overtones or hue.
  2. They always have the same temperature as their environment.
  3. They are smooth on teeth.
  4. Drilled holes are bumpy, as if pearls are melted during drilling.
  5. They are light in weight.

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About the Author

Mrs. Berry is a pearl expert. She is also the founder of, an online provider of high quality pearl jewelry.

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