Types of pearls and how you recognize real pearls?

Types of pearls and how you recognize real pearls?

Pearls have a timeless elegance. That is why I like to use them in earrings and pearl necklaces. Would you like to know more about the different types of pearls, how to recognize a real one and the right maintenance techniques? Then read on...

Types of pearls

Pearls can be divided into two groups:

  • Freshwater pearls
  • Salt water pearls

Freshwater pearls can be found in fresh water, such as lakes. They grow with several pieces in one shell. Because of this, freshwater pearls are usually cheaper than saltwater pearls.

Saltwater pearls originate in seawater. They are always perfectly round and sit alone in a shell. This is reflected into the price tag. They are many times more expensive than freshwater pearls.

Within saltwater pearls we can distinguish all kinds of subcategories, such as Akoya pearls (known for their high gloss), Tahiti pearls (which naturally have a black colour) and South Sea pearls (up to 2 cm in size with a golden hue).


As mentioned before, especially the saltwater pearls are nice and round. Freshwater pearls have an irregular shape. But that doesn't make them any less beautiful. In the right jewellery they are the perfect eye-catcher.

How to recognize a real pearl

Wondering if you have a real pearl in your hands? There are different ways to recognize them:

  • If you rub real pearls on top of each other, you feel an abrasive effect. A small amount of powder also comes off. Fake pearls glide over each other without resistance.
  • Even when it's warm, real pearls feel cool to the touch.
  • Fake pearls have a uniform shape, colour and shine. With real pearls there is always a little variation, because it is a natural product.


If you wear pearl jewelry a lot, sooner or later they will get dirty. Fortunately, it is very easy to clean them. Clean the pearls with soapy water and a soft toothbrush. Use a soap with a neutral pH value. Avoid caustic products.

Maintenance tips

Finally, we have some maintenance tips for your pearl jewelry:

  • Do not let the pearls come into contact with perfume or hairspray.
  • Do not store them with other jewellery, but keep them in a separate box/bag.
  • Do not wear them during sports or any other perspiring workout.
  • The chlorine of a swimming pool can affect the pearls.
©2018 Wim Meeussen Goudsmid & JuwelenProduct infoWebdesign Antwerpen - Koen Michielsen