Seven methods of how to differentiate between a real pearl to that of a fake or imitation pearl in Sabah

Pearls! Pearls! Pearls everywhere. If this is your first visit to Sabah, did you know that you can find pearls being sold at almost everywhere? There are even vendors walking around asking if you would like to buy pearls. You can find them easily at Filipino Market or Gaya Street, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. There are many stalls there selling pearls from Sabah or off South China Sea.

Genuine pearls

Genuine pearls sold at Filipino Market in Kota Kinabalu

There are 2 types of pearls being sold there. They are the cultured pearls and the marine pearls. Cultured pearls are from oysters that are bred commercially in freshwater. Marine pearls are produced from marine oysters that grow in the sea.

Next, let’s differentiate between a real pearl to that of an imitation or fake pearl. The latter is made of plastic, shell or glass ceramic. The imitation beads are then coated with a varnish or some other material to simulate a pearl-like luster giving off false iridescence.

Try putting a pearl and rubbing it against your teeth. If it is too smooth feeling, then it is a fake pearl. If if it gritty and not smooth, then it is a real pearl.

Secondly, try rubbing 2 pearls against each other. The real pearl will come off powdery when it is rubbed against each other. The fake pearl will not come off powdery.

Thirdly, fake pearls are light while the real ones have some weight.

Fourthly, real pearls have character as I call it. The real pearl strand has different tone from one pearl to another while the fake pearls all looked the same, with its colour tone all the same too.

Fifthly, the real pearls size varies from each other as each pearl comes from individual sizes , while the fake ones mostly have same sizes, it being mass produced.

Sixth, bring your pearl out in the sunlight and it will reflect light. imitation pearls do not reflect light as well and do not show depth or true luster on it.

Seventh, real pearls being formed by nature will always have some sort of imperfection if you look closely. Fake pearls will have very smooth luster on every part of its surface. If it looks too perfect, then it is not a real pearl.

Below is a video on How to Know if Pearls are Real or Fake.

Hope the above 7 guidelines will help you to choose that perfect pearl as you go shopping at Filipino Market or Gaya Street in Kota Kinabalu.

If you are planning to visit Kota Kinabalu for a holiday, come check out our website at: for that perfect family getaway and to look for your gorgeous pearls right here in Sabah. By the way, the pearls in Sabah are of good quality, and you would find the pearls here much more cheaper than those found in Kuala Lumpur or in your home country, as these oysters are freshly farmed or harvested right here in South China Sea. Happy Shopping and Happy Holiday!

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