A Crash Course on Thai Pearls (and How to Tell If They’re Fake)

“When an irritant gets into an oyster, the oyster secretes nacre, or mother-of-pearl, around the irritant, which [eventually] becomes a pearl,” explains Worawan Chawalitanantakit, the managing director at Rangyai Pearl, which has a shop in the town of Phuket. “Cultured pearls are created by seeding an oyster with an irritant, and it can take one to five years depending on the oyster used to produce the pearls. You can tell that pearls are fake if you rub them together and there’s no resistance. If they’re real, it feels like they’re scratching each other if you rub them together.”

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