How to take care of your pearls

Many people consider pearls the utmost in elegance. But unlike diamonds you need to take special care of them.  Synthetic pearls have the durability of hard gemstones, but natural and cultured pearls are porous and have a significant organic component.  That makes them sensitive to heat and various compounds.  So it’s important to learn how to maintain their natural luster and protect them so they can last for many years to come.

Proper Daily Care

The organic conchine that holds together the many shimmering layers of mother of pearl are sensitive to household detergents, chlorine in pool and Jacuzzi water, cosmetics, hair spray, perfume, and even perspiration.  These gemstones can also be harmed by high temperatures and direct sunlight as well.  So here are some important tips to follow as you enjoy your pearl necklaces and bracelets.

  • Pearl jewelryWear your pearl jewelry only after you’ve finished bathing, using hairspray, and applying makeup and perfume.  Better still, wait a half hour.
  • After each wearing, simply clean them with a soft slightly damp cloth to remove makeup, body oil, and perfume.
  • If they appear soiled or discolored you might want to clean them gently with alcohol or, better still, a product formulated and approved specifically for cleaning pearls. They should be left to dry on a soft cloth.  Let them air dry 24 hours before wearing them again.  But it’s safest to visit a jeweler for a professional cleaning.
  • If they’ve been exposed to ammonia, chlorinated water, detergents, fruit juice, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or wine wipe them immediately with a soft cloth.
  • Never steam clean or ultrasonic clean pearl jewelry yourself.
  • Never immerse pearl bracelets and necklaces as this weakens the silk thread.  Similarly, storing them by hanging will stretch the thread.
  • Store your pearls separately to avoid scratching.  Many jewelers recommend wrapping them in velvet, chamois, or silk.
  • These gems need a small amount of moisture.  So do not store them in airtight bags or containers where they can dry out.  And they actually benefit from being worn several times each year.

Professional Maintenance

Have your pearls lost some of their luster, looking a little cloudy or dull?  That doesn’t mean it’s time to clean them!  It means it’s time to take them to a jeweler as soon as possible.  The nacre (composed of proteins and calcium) has been damaged.  It may be possible to restore them with slight polishing, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case.  So it’s important to prevent damage and take care of them following the above guidelines.

Depending on value, age, and condition you should bring these gems to a professional jeweler to keep these gems lasting for generations.

In addition to an inspection and thorough cleaning we’ll re-string them.  That’s also important, even if they’re not worn often, to avoid stretching, tangling, and the possible disaster of breakage.