Without a shadow of a doubt, South Sea pearls are real pearls. Both white and gold South Sea pearls are the epitome of luxury jewelry.
Cultured South Sea pearls are saltwater pearls and are desired for their arresting golden and silky white colors as well as for their large sizes. It’s possible to find South Sea pearls in sizes upwards of 21 mm!
Golden South Sea pearls get their body color from the gold-lipped Pinctada Maxima mollusk, and white South Sea pearls get their color from the white-lipped Pinctada Maxima mollusk. Both types of South Sea pearls exhibit a satiny luster because of their thick nacre.
As with other high-quality and expensive pearls, some bad faith sellers offer yellow- or gold-dyed Freshwater pearls as golden South Sea pearls.
But with close inspection, it's easy to differentiate between the real vs. fake South Sea pearls. This is because the gold or yellow dye collects in the rings, pits and blemishes of the dyed Freshwater pearls, making these spots darker than the rest of the pearl.
Compared to this, the pits, rings and blemishes of golden South Sea pearls are the same color as the rest of the pearl.
One of the easiest ways to avoid getting deceived by fraudulent sellers is to understand pearl prices. If a pearl price seems too good to be true, then it most probably is a fake!
In fact, if you’re interested in learning more about pearl prices, check out our Pearl Prices Guide.