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Pearl Jewelry Care – Are You Doing It Correctly?


Pearls of Joy x The Culture of Pearls

Pearls are one of the most stunning gems in the world. In addition, they are organic in nature, having been formed in a living organism. These gems have a universal appeal, and no matter the occasion, pearl jewelry is always a perfect choice. So, it goes without saying that pearls are part of almost every jewelry collection.

On the Mohs scale, pearls come up at 2.5 which really means that they can be easily scratched. What’s more, their lustrous surfaces can be damaged through rough or careless use, dimming their radiance and shine. But if properly taken care of and handled with love, good quality pearls will last for a very long time.

Hanadama Akoya Pearl Necklace

Top Range Hanadama Akoya Pearl Necklace, Pearls of Joy

Taking Care of Pearls

Taking care of pearls is an important part of owning and wearing pearls.

96% of a pearl is calcium carbonate, which is alkaline in nature. The remaining 4% is water, which keeps the pearl lustrous. This means that pearls don’t like anything acidic and hate being in environments that can make them lose their moisture. With this in mind, here are a few simple but important points to remember about taking care of your pearls.

Wear your pearls often

When you wear pearls, the oil produced by your skin acts like a polish and makes your pearls look more lustrous. Wearing your pearls often isn’t just to make you look great, it also helps make your pearls look great too!

Last on and first off

This is the golden rule of pearl care. Pearls hate chemicals and acidic substances. It’s best to put on your make-up, perfume and hairspray before putting on your pearls and to take your pearls off before removing your make-up.

Pearls and water are a no-no

Pearls are formed in a watery habitat. Even so, submerging pearl jewelry in water is not recommended. Remember to take off your pearl jewelry before going for a shower where the chemicals in your shampoo and soap may damage the pearls. Similarly, never wear your pearls in the pool because the chemicals in the pool water are bad for pearls.

However, if by chance your pearls do get wet, dry them off completely before putting them away. This is especially true for pearl necklaces and bracelets because damp threads can fray and break suddenly. Flat dry pearl necklaces and bracelets instead of hanging them to dry so that the silk knots between the pearls don’t stretch out.

Pearls and sweat don’t go together

While it’s a good idea to wear pearls often, remember to take them off before doing any strenuous activity such as a cardio workout, a run around the block or attending your Zumba class. This is because you are bound to sweat during these activities and the acid in the sweat will dull the luster of your pearls.

Selection of pearl jewelry by pearls of Joy

From left to right: Tahitian Pearl and Diamond Muriel Earrings, Freshwater Pearl and Diamond Camila Pendant, Golden South Sea Pearl Mia Ring, Akoya Pearl Bracelet, Pink Freshwater Pearl Stella Ring, Pearls of Joy

Don’t wear your pearls when doing household chores

Take off your pearls when doing chores around the house, especially when working in the kitchen. Pearls hate excessive heat (because heat has a dehydrating effect) and the stove is really not their favorite place in the house. Also, try not to expose your pearls to any household chemicals like vinegar or bleach because this may damage the pearls irreparably.

Store your pearls properly

This is of the utmost importance. Pearls can get easily scratched and storing them properly is an important part of pearl care. Store your pearls in a soft container, like a velvet or silk pouch. Also, pearl earrings should be stored in their original boxes.

Don’t store your pearls in plastic bags because overtime they will dry out your pearls, causing them to crack and lose their luster. Similarly avoid keeping your pearls for long periods of time in bank safety deposit boxes or lockers because the airtight environment of these containers will dehydrate your pearls.

Cleaning Your Pearls

  • Always clean your pearls after wearing them. Use a soft, clean, slightly damp cloth such a microfiber cloth (similar to the ones used for cleaning glasses) or even a very fine cotton cloth to wipe the pearls. Then use a soft, dry cloth to wipe them dry before storing Wiping the pearls helps remove oil and dirt from their surface.
  • No matter how dirty your pearl are, never use any rough or abrasive cloth to clean them.
  • Never use tooth paste or any other domestic cleaner to clean or polish your pearls.
  • Look in between the pearls to check the condition of the silk thread in pearl necklaces and bracelets. If the knots are stretched (the pearl moves a few mm between two knots) or look dirty, have your jeweler restrung.
  • If you wear your pearl necklaces or bracelets regularly, have them restrung once a year. Otherwise, keep checking in between the silk knots to see if they are strong and the silk thread isn’t fraying.
  • If you find that your pearls have lost their luster and are looking dull, take them to a pearl specialist for cleaning and some TLC.
  • Never clean your pearls in an ultrasonic cleaner. This will damage your pearls.
Akoya pearl pendant

    Enjoy Your Pearls

    When you buy pearl jewelry, all glowing and luminous, you add something special to your jewelry collection. But pearls by nature are delicate and need proper care so that they look stunning for years and years. With a few simple, mindful steps you can be sure that your pearls will continue to look gorgeous.

    However, when you start with good quality pearls, you ensure that their thick nacre and good surface quality will be easy to maintain. So, find gem quality pearls, take care of them and they in turn will make sure you look dazzling every time you wear them!

    Featured Image: Akoya Pearl and Gold Tincup Necklace

    Reema Farooqui is a content writer who loves pearls and pearl jewelry. You can find her on her website The Culture of Pearls or on Instagram at @thecultureofpearls

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