Care for Pearls

pearl jewelry

Pearls are relatively soft compared to other gemstones and precious metals and need special care. It is important to take special care of them to ensure they will remain bright and beautiful for generations to come. They never should be tossed on top of or next to other gems in a jewelry box. Store them alone in a jewelry pouch as other gemstones may scratch them.

If you wear your pearls several times a week, it is best to have them evaluated at your jeweler to check the stringing integrity to prevent possible breakage. Once a year have a jewelry professional verify that the pearls on your jewelry are securely mounted and that the string is still good.

When having your pearls re-strung, many experts advise silk thread. However, nylon thread is an acceptable alternative. Make sure that the string is knotted between each pearl. Individual knotting will prevent all the pearls in a strand from falling off should a break occur. Knotting also prevents the pearls from rubbing against each other.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Pearl Care

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t expose pearls to acid-based hair sprays, cosmetics or perfumes, or clean them with chemicals or abrasives.
  2. Don’t ever soak your pearls as this may discolor them near the drill hole.
  3. Don’t toss pearls into a pocket book or jewelry box where they can become scratched by metal or other gem stones.
  4. Don’t ever use an ultrasonic cleaner.
  5. Don’t ever steam-clean pearls.
  6. Don’t ever use (or expose pearls) to dish or wash detergents (like Dawn), bleaches, powdered cleansers, baking soda, or ammonia-based cleaners (like Windex).
  7. Don’t ever use toothbrushes, scouring pads or abrasive materials to clean pearls.
  8. Don’t ever wear pearls when their string is wet. Wet strings stretch and attract dirt, which is hard to remove.
  9. Don’t ever hang pearls to dry or store as it may stretch the cord they are strung on.
  10. Don’t wearing pearls with rough fabrics like Shetland wool.

Dos

  1. Do use jewelry cleaners labeled as safe for pearls.
  2. Do pat your pearls gently with a damp cloth with mild soap and water when you take them off. This will remove any traces of hair spray or perfume.
  3. Do treat your pearls gently by keeping them in a chamois bag or wrap them in tissue when you put them away.
  4. Remember that cultured pearls are precious jewels and should always be treated as such.
  5. Take your pearls off when applying cosmetics, hair spray, and perfume, or when showering or swimming.
  6. Have your pearls restrung once a year if you wear them often.
  7. If your pearls do require cleaning, it’s best to use a very soft, non-abrasive soap such as a mild liquid hand soap.
  8. Do store your pearls in a soft pouch, separate from your other jewelry as diamonds and other gemstones may scratch them.
  9. Do make pearls the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off.

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