When shopping for pearls, it’s important to know the authenticity of your purchase. One way you can test a pearl is by performing the biting test.

The biting test for pearls has been used as an easy and cost-effective way to determine whether or not a pearl is real since ancient times – but does it work? In this blog post I’ll discuss what exactly the biting test entails, its pros & cons, alternatives and tips on how to buy genuine pearls so that you never have to worry about being fooled again!

What is the Biting Test for Pearls?

The Biting Test for Pearls is a simple and straightforward way to determine if a pearl is real or not. It involves biting down on the pearl with your teeth and feeling for any irregularities in texture or hardness. If the pearl feels smooth and hard, it’s likely to be real.

This test has been used by jewelers since ancient times as an easy method of distinguishing between genuine pearls and imitation ones. The idea behind this test is that genuine pearls should feel harder than fake ones because they are made from calcium carbonate, which gives them their unique shape and strength.

Fake pearls are usually made from glass beads or plastic, so they won’t have the same hardness as natural pearls do.

It’s important to note that while this test may help identify whether a pearl is real or not, there are other factors at play when determining authenticity, such as size, color, luster, etc., so always consult an expert before making any final decisions about purchasing pearls!

Pros & Cons of Biting Test: One advantage of using this method is that it requires no special equipment – all you need is yourself! Additionally, unlike some other tests (such as X-ray analysis) there’s no risk of damaging the item being tested either physically or chemically during testing procedures.

On the downside though, due to its subjective nature results can vary depending on who’s doing the testing – what one person might consider “hard enough” another might deem “too soft” etc., so accuracy isn’t guaranteed every time!

Fake pearl jewelry (made of glass)

Alternatives to Biting Test: For those looking for more reliable methods of authentication there are alternatives available such as gemological certification (which uses specialized tools like microscopes), X-ray diffraction (which measures how light interacts with molecules inside stones), and chemical analysis (which looks at trace elements within stones).

All these techniques provide much more accurate results than simply biting into something but require additional training/equipment/time/money which makes them less accessible options overall compared to just using our own two hands!

Before committing, compare prices online and remember that quality comes first over quantity. Ask questions about the origin and history of the pearls, and if possible get independent verification through gemological certification.

Examine them closely under magnification to check for uniformity in size, shape, and color across each strand as well as consistent luster throughout.

The biting test is a simple and quick way to determine the authenticity of pearls. By following the steps outlined in the next heading, you can quickly identify if your pearl is real or not.

Key Takeaway: The Biting Test for Pearls is a simple and easy way to determine if a pearl is real or not, but it can be unreliable due to its subjective nature. For more reliable results, there are other methods such as gemological certification, X-ray diffraction, and chemical analysis which require additional training, equipment, time and money.

How to Perform the Biting Test

Biting is a common way to test the authenticity of pearls. While it may not be the most accurate method, it can help you determine if a pearl is real or fake. Here’s how to perform the biting test:

Step 1

Hold the Pearl: Gently hold the pearl between your thumb and forefinger. Make sure that you don’t squeeze too hard as this could damage its surface.

Step 2

Bite Down Gently: Once you have securely held onto the pearl, bite down gently with your front teeth. Don’t use too much pressure; just enough so that your teeth make contact with it but don’t break through its surface.

Step 3

Feel for grittiness or Softness: Pay attention to how it feels against your teeth; if it feels gritty, it’s likely a real pearl. Real pearls should feel slightly rough on your teeth due to their nacre coating, which gives them their signature luster and shine.

If they feel smooth like glass, then they are probably fake pearls made from plastic or glass beads coated in wax or paint-like substances to give them an artificial sheen and texture similar to real pearls.

Although performing the biting test can provide some insight into whether a pearl is genuine or not, there are other factors that should also be taken into consideration when determining authenticity.

Rubbing pearls together to determine their authenticity.

These include orient, luster, and color uniformity, among others, before making any final decisions about purchasing any particular piece of jewelry containing these precious gems.

The biting test is an easy and accessible way to determine if a pearl is real or not, but it should be used with caution. Next, let’s look at the pros and cons of this method.

Key Takeaway: Biting a pearl is an effective way to test its authenticity. It should feel slightly rough on your teeth due to its nacre coating, whereas fake pearls will feel smooth like glass.

Pros & Cons of Biting Test


  • Easy to perform (no equipment needed)
  • Quick Test
  • You do not need to be a pearl expert


  • Subjective test (risk of misinterpretation of the test result)
  • Risk damaging the pearl
  • Risk damaging your teeth

Pros: The advantage of this test is that it’s quick and easy to do; no special tools are required and you can perform the test in seconds without having to take off any jewelry or clothing items.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about damaging other materials like metal settings when testing for authenticity.

Cons: However, there are some drawbacks as well. The biggest one is that you could potentially damage the pearl if you bite too hard, so be sure to use caution when performing this test.

Additionally, not all pearls will feel exactly alike due to their unique shapes and sizes – some may be harder than others even though they’re both genuine pearls – so keep this in mind before making a final judgment call on whether a pearl is real or not based solely on how hard it feels when bitten into with your teeth!

Another con is that while this method works great for larger pearls (like those found in necklaces), smaller ones (like those used in earrings) can be difficult to accurately assess since they’re much more delicate and require extra care during testing.

The biting test can be a useful way to determine the authenticity of pearls, however, it is not foolproof and there are some risks associated with this method.

Therefore, it is important to consider alternative methods before deciding on using the biting test.

Key Takeaway: The biting test is a popular method used to determine the authenticity of pearls, but it has its pros and cons. Pros include that it’s quick and easy to do, while cons include potentially damaging the pearl if you bite too hard or saliva contamination over time.

Alternatives to Biting Test

When it comes to testing if a pearl is real or not, the biting test has been used for centuries. However, this method of testing can be uncomfortable and potentially damaging to the pearl itself. Fortunately, there are other ways you can tell if a pearl is genuine without having to bite down on it.

One way to check whether a pearl is real or not is by looking at its surface for any imperfections or discoloration. Real pearls tend to have small blemishes that are unique from one another due to their natural formation process in oysters.

Imitation pearls will usually look too perfect and uniform in comparison with no visible flaws whatsoever.

Another way you can tell if a pearl is real or not is by checking its weight in comparison with other pearls of similar size and shape.

A white pearl in a mollusk

Genuine pearls tend to be heavier than imitation ones as they are made up of calcium carbonate layers which give them more mass compared with plastic-based fake versions, which feel lighter when held in your hand.

You can also use an x-ray machine on larger pieces such as necklaces and bracelets as this will allow you to see inside the beads themselves and determine what type of material they’re made out of – either organic (real) or synthetic (fake).

This method isn’t always available though so it may be best suited for professional jewelers who have access to these machines regularly rather than everyday consumers looking for authenticity tests at home.

Finally, some experts suggest using an ultraviolet light source over the surface of the pearl since most imitation materials won’t react under UV light whereas genuine ones do, giving off different colors depending on their origin species (e.g., black Tahitian vs white Akoya).

It is important however that you don’t leave any kind of direct UV exposure on your precious gems for too long as this could cause damage over time regardless if they are real or fake.

When it comes to identifying the authenticity of a pearl, there are alternatives to the biting test that can be used for greater accuracy. Read this blog post that expands on some at-home tests for determining whether pearls are real or not.

Key Takeaway: When it comes to testing if a pearl is real or not, there are several methods you can use without having to resort to the uncomfortable and potentially damaging biting test. These include examining its surface for imperfections, comparing its weight with other pearls of similar size and shape, using an x-ray machine on larger pieces such as necklaces and bracelets, and using an ultraviolet light source over the surface of the pearl.

FAQs in Relation to Biting Test for Pearls

What happens if you bite a real pearl?

Biting a real pearl can cause it to crack or chip, which will significantly reduce its value. The hardness of pearls is between 2.5 and 4.5 on the Mohs scale, making them quite fragile compared to other gems like diamonds (a score of 10 on the Mohs scale). Therefore, biting down on a pearl could easily damage it beyond repair.

Additionally, saliva contains chemicals that can erode the surface of pearls over time if they are exposed to it regularly. To preserve their beauty and value, avoid biting your pearls!

How can you tell if a pearl is real at home?

The best way to tell if a pearl is real at home is by performing the “tooth test”. Rub the pearl gently against your tooth; if it feels gritty, then it is likely a real pearl. If it feels smooth, then chances are that the pearl is not genuine.

Additionally, you can examine its surface for imperfections and irregularities, which would indicate a natural origin as opposed to an imitation or synthetic one.

Lastly, check for any type of coating on the pearls; this could be indicative of an artificial product rather than a natural one.

With these simple tests in mind, you should be able to determine whether or not your pearls are real from home with confidence!


The subjective “bite tests for pearls” can be unreliable and may cause damage to the pearl. Therefore, it’s important to consider other alternatives, such as X-ray testing or visual inspection, when determining authenticity.

Ultimately, with proper research and knowledge of what to look for in quality pearls, you can make an informed decision on your purchase that will last you a lifetime!

About the Author


I am a pearl and oyster enthusiast who loves to share her knowledge and experiences about fashion with the world. I am neither a certified gemologist nor a reseller of pearls.

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