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Consequently, natural strands do not appear as well matched for color, shape, luster and size as those which are cultured.

Other Tests

X-radiograph test: This way to distinguish between natural and cultured pearls is more reliable.

On an x-radiograph negative, cultured pearls usually show a clear separation between core and nacre. Besides, their core normally looks lighter than the nacre coating. X-rayed natural pearls tend to look the same tone throughout or get darker in their center. A mantle tissue nucleus will look lime a very dark irregular-shaped void. The disadvantage of x-ray tests is the high expense, and few gem labs have the required equipment.

X-ray fluorescence: This test is often combined with x-radiograph to tell the pearl is freshwater or saltwater. Freshwater pearls have a fairly strong yellowish x-ray fluorescence, while natural saltwater pearls rarely fluoresce to x-rays.

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