A pearl must be cared for properly to keep its beautiful luster, whether it’s a brand-new gem or a family heirloom. Pearls are porous gems and need special care to stay beautiful. The oil and acid readily absorb into them, so over time, they may become damaged and discolored. It is possible to keep your pearls looking lustrous and vibrant for decades to come if you know how to clean and maintain them.
A Guide to Caring for Pearl Jewelry
A list of Things to Avoid
Do not Use Household Chemicals
Natural, organic materials like pearls can be damaged by chemicals. If you wear your pearl jewelry while cleaning the house, household cleansers will damage its delicate surface. You should avoid using any product that contains abrasives or acid to clean. Even window cleaner can cause serious damage to your pearl jewelry if it comes into contact with it.
Don’t Wear Pearls when Cooking. When you’re cooking, be sure to take off your pearls since acids like lemon juice and vinegar can wear down the nacre or iridescent exterior of the pearls. Grease and high temperatures can permanently damage their surface as well. If you haven’t cleaned up the kitchen completely, don’t put the pearls back on before you do that. Lemon-based dish soaps, particularly those with juice in them, can also damage your jewelry.
Store Pearls Away from Plastic
When you’re traveling or in a bind, it’s tempting to throw a couple of necklaces into a plastic bag until you can find a better solution. Pearls should never be handled this way! Pearls can deteriorate as a result of a chemical released by plastic. In addition, pearls contain thin layers of water and, if stored in an airtight container, can dry out.
Pearls Should Be Stored Properly
If you want to store pearl jewelry properly, you need to follow a few sets of important rules. The general rule out there is that most necklaces or bracelets can be hung from a hook organizer. However, it is advisable to lay your delicate pearls flat on a surface to avoid stretching. Similarly, avoid storing pearls too near other, harder jewelry types. In the same way, you should avoid layering metals and pearls due to the likelihood of scratches; you should also avoid storing them together.
Beauty Products to Watch Out For
In addition, beauty products such as makeup, hairspray, and perfume can also harm your jewelry. Make sure that these products are applied before you put on your pearls, and stay away from putting them on the same area as your jewelry. Consider applying your perfume only to your wrists if you plan on wearing a pearl necklace while wearing perfume. You should then wash your hands thoroughly to get rid of any perfume before wearing your pearl necklace.
The Setting or String Must Be Checked Properly
Make sure the stringing material of your pearl necklace/bracelet is in good condition every time you wear one. In any case, if the pearl appears damaged or worn, it should be restrung professionally. Having your pearls restrung about once a year is usually necessary for those who wear them frequently. Ensure the prongs are securely attached if you have pearls set in precious metal. You can tighten them at a jeweler if they seem loose.
Never Bathe or Swim With Pearls
It is also possible to damage pearl jewelry with excessive moisture. Pearl strands can be damaged by water, causing them to break. The luster of pearls can be dulled by shampoos and soaps containing chemicals. Swimming pool chlorine can also cause pearls to pit. Before entering a bathtub, shower, or pool, always remove your pearl jewelry.
Care and Maintenance of Pearls
When you wear pearl necklaces and bracelets often, restringing is required once a year; otherwise, it is recommended every two or three years. In addition to making the silk knots tighter and cleaner, this also prevents them from falling out. The worst thing about dirty silk is frayed edges. Once or twice a year, while you are showering, take your pearls for a steam bath to hydrate them.
Make sure the pearls aren’t hanging (and not resting on the counter) to prevent them from stretching. Deep cleaning and polishing pearls are required to restore their luster and color. A few years is the recommended time (more information below). Look for malfunctioning hardware as you would with other fine jewelry, and make sure the mountings are firm and not loose.
Maintain Separate Storage for Pearls. Because pearls are so soft, they can easily be scratched when your jewelry box is full of other items. Consider slipping your pearl jewelry into a soft velvet bag rather than just tossing them into everything else. To protect pearl pieces, store them in separate lined boxes. Always Wipe Pearl Jewelry After wearing It.
In spite of how carefully you use beauty products and household products, it’s still necessary to lightly clean your pearls after using them. If you leave oils and perspiration on the pearls, they can damage the nacre. Wipe down the surface of your pearls with a soft cloth, such as a glass cleaning chamois. Avoid excessive heat and cold when storing your pearls. UV rays can damage pearls, so keep them away from direct sunlight. Pearls can become discolored or brittle due to extreme heat, which can eventually lead to cracking.
You can clean your pearl necklace or bracelet with a mixture of warm, clean water and perfume-free soap (like ivory soap or castile soap). Rinse all soap residue from pearls using a soft cloth wetted with only water. Make sure your pearls are completely dry by laying them flat. Pearls should never be hung from hooks as this will stretch out the silk strands.
When your pearls are very dirty and in need of restringing, get them professionally cleaned, strung, and polished by a pearl specialist. They are sure to shine again after they have been professionally cleaned, strung, and polished pearl jewelry.