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Tips on Jewelry Identification



Bakelite Use 409 bathroom cleaner on a cotton swab and rub it on the back side of the item. If it turns yellow it's Bakelite. However, black Bakelite doesn't always turn yellow. Alternatively, you can put the item under a stream of hot water - if it's Bakelite it should have an odor that smells like varnish or formaldehyde.
Pearl Cultured and natural pearls feel gritty or slightly sandy and rough when rubbed (gently) across the outside of your front teeth. Fake pearls feel smooth. Note, however, that improperly cleaned authentic pearls may lose the tell-tale gritty feeling. (See our Tips on Care for more information on cleaning)
Tortoise Shell Authentic tortoise shell should have a wavier finish when felt. If you have a strong magnifying glass (we generally use a 10X loop), observe the area where the light color changes to the dark color - there should be small dark dots in the interim. Another method of identification is to touch the item with a hot needle - genuine tortoise shell should emit a strong odor of burning hair. Here are some example pictures from our catalog.
  The advice on tips on  jewelry identification comes from jewelry experts Linda and Perry, as well as from our frequent visitors. If you'd like to add anything to this page, or have us add a topic of interest for you, email us at



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