Caring for Pearls

Caring for Pearls: Keep Them Shining, Forever

If there is any gemstone that is a living jewel, it’s a pearl. Pearls are nature’s gift to humanity. They are classic, feminine, and iconic gemstones favoured by women across the globe. They flatter anyone and everyone who wears them. However, these gems are as fragile as they are lusturous. Whether the pearls you own are simulated or cultured, they need special care and attention. There are different ways to clean, store, and maintain pearls to make them retain their shine. Giving them proper care can make them last for generations. Here is everything you should know about caring for pearls.

Why Pearls Need Special Care?

The reason why pearls need special care lies in the way they are formed. A mollusc, often oysters, secretes a lustrous nacre substance on a tiny bead, seed, or particle. The thickness of the coating depends entirely on the creature and the water where it lives. It also depends on how long the particle that entered was allowed to remain in place before it was removed. The more the thickness of the nacre, the greater the durability and quality of the pearl will be. This soft nacre coating is the primary reason why pearls are considered delicate. Pearls with thin, fragile nacre can easily chip off, leaving ugly gaps and cracks. So your pearl rings or earrings will be more easily damaged than your gold rings or diamond earrings. Hence it is important that you give your pearls the care they deserve.

Another reason for the extra care pearls need is the way they are held together in a piece of jewellery. In most cases, they are strung with different types of strings. Such a setting can be seen in a classic pearl necklace, the kind Jackie Kennedy often wore. These strings can weaken, stain, or break if they are not cleaned, maintained, and stored properly.

Daily Care Tips to Keep Your Pearls Glossy

Being organic gemstones, pearls are highly vulnerable to acidic and alkaline environments. Extreme humidity can also cause damage to your precious pearl trinkets. To preserve their shine, make sure that your perfumes, hair sprays, and other cosmetics do not come in contact with your pearl rings, necklaces, pendants, and other trinkets. As a golden rule, let your pearls be the last thing you put on and the first thing to come off. Your sweat can also cause harm to pearl jewellery. To keep them safe, wipe them with a soft cloth before storing them away for later.

Things to Remember While Wearing Pearls

Your love for pearls and your love for rain won’t go hand in hand. If you are wearing pearl jewellery, resist the urge to get wet in the rain! Avoid getting pearl strands wet at any cost. That means you should not wear pearls to the bath or shower. Also avoid exposing pearls to direct sunlight or places with high heat and humidity, such as sauna. Are you planning a holiday on the beach where you intend to enjoy the sand and sea to the fullest? It is in your best interests not to pack your pearl earrings or bracelets.

Now, what to do if your pearls come into contact with liquids that might cause them damage? If you spill fruit juice on them, wipe them gently with a clean, soft cloth immediately. Do the same if they come in contact with detergent, vinegar, or any other strong liquids.

How to Store Your Pearls Properly?

Pearls are resilient gemstones. They are also shock resistant. However, they can get scratched easily if they come in contact with other hard gemstones such as diamonds or sharp objects. You need to store them properly to avoid scratches on your pearls and prevent tangles. The best way to do this is to first fasten pins and clasps on your pearl jewellery. Then lay out each item of jewellery separately. You can do this either in a jewellery box with compartments or by using separate boxes. It is a good idea to invest in a fabric-lined box. If you have to carry your pearl rings, bracelets, earrings or necklaces while travelling, always use a soft pouch. Try to avoid storing pearls for a long period of time. They love being worn often!

Tips to Maintain the Allure of Pearl Jewellery

No matter how careful you are with your pearl jewellery, some of their parts might come loose over time. Always ensure that you check and inspect different parts of the jewellery before wearing them. The different parts in ornaments that need attention include prongs holding the pearls, screws of brooch pins and earrings, clasps on necklaces, etc. Even if pearls on your jewellery are strung with the best silk threads, they can stretch and loosen over time. They can also break suddenly. To avoid losing pearls to unforeseen thread accidents, get your pearls restrung yearly.

How to Clean Pearl Jewellery?

You don’t always need an expert to clean your pearls. You can easily do it at home. Lay the jewellery flat on a soft, clean cloth. Make a solution with mild soap and warm water. Using a clean (ideally new), soft brush, gently apply this solution on the ornament. Scrub gently without pulling or pushing the strands. Turn it over and repeat the process. To rinse the soap off your jewellery, submerge it in cool tap water for not more than five minutes. Remove it from the water and let it air dry on a fresh towel. Ensure that for drying too you lay it out just the way you did in the first step. Don’t disturb the jewellery until it’s completely dry.

Stringing Pearl Necklaces and Other Pearl Jewellery

Stringing is one of the most important ways to take care of pearl jewellery, especially necklaces. If you notice the pearl strands of your jewellery are beginning to loosen, make it an annual practice to get them restrung. The most common materials used for stringing pearls are nylon or silk beading threads. When you are getting your pearls strung or restrung, you can get the strands knotted between beads. Knotting provides maximum protection for pearls—you lose only one bead no matter where the necklace breaks. If you’re not knotting between each pearl on the strand, ensure there are knots after the first few pearls on either side of the clasp. These areas are the most prone wear and tear, and breakage.

Things You Should Avoid to Make Your Pearls Last Long

This is going to be a list of several “nevers” that will help you keep your pearls clean and radiant.

  • Never use hard brushes, such as a toothbrush, a scouring pad, or any rough material for cleaning your pearls or pearl jewellery.
  • Never use steam to clean your pearls.
  • Never use chemicals or any commercial cleaning material with chlorine bleach, ammonia, or vinegar. These liquids can damage pearls.
  • Never expose your pearls to extreme heat. Avoid keeping them near a direct source of heat, including a stove, on top your TV, or on a fireplace mantle.
  • Never store pearls in plastic bags. The chemicals that plastic emits can damage the glossy coating on pearls.
  • Never store pearls in bank lockers or storage boxes for a long time. Pearls get dehydrated when they’re locked up for a long time.

Pearls are beautiful gemstones. Wear your pearl jewellery more often, and flaunt them whenever you can. If you follow the right methods to clean, store, and maintain them properly, you can be sure that they will last you a lifetime.