Here's a quick "cheat sheet" to help you become an expert "fur or faux" detective:
The Feel Test:
Feel the difference by rolling the hairs between the finger and thumb.
Genuine Fur: Feels smooth and soft, easily rolls between the fingers.
Fake Fur: Feels coarse.
The Look Test:
Blow on the hairs so that they divide, and look at the base.
Genuine Fur: Often made up of several layers of thin, almost curly hairs that form a dense under-wool through which the longer hairs stick out. The hairs remain attached to the leather (skin).
Fake Fur: Simpler in structure, individual hairs are often the same length and are even in color.
The Pin Test:
Drive a pin through the base where the fur is attached.
Genuine Fur: The leather resists; pin is hard to push through.
Fake Fur: Pin goes easily through the base.
The Burn Test:
Carefully pull a few hairs from the fur and hold them to a flame.
Genuine Fur: Singes and smells like human hair.
Fake Fur: Melts and smells like burnt plastic and forms small plastic balls at the ends that feel hard between the finger and thumb.
Adapted from the Fur Free Alliance. (Note: API does not recommend conducting the pin or burn test in stores!)