Caring for your pearl jewelry is a vital part in the prolonged longevity and beauty you can achieve with your pearls. Pearls in general are more delicate than other types of jewels, and therefore require a bit more attention and care. Following a few simple steps and avoiding contact with certain substances can ensure your pearls stay beautiful for a long time.
When it comes to your pearl jewelry, it is best to follow this simple rule: “Last thing on, First thing off.” Wearing your pearls while you are getting ready in the morning increases it’s exposure to harmful chemicals that can cause damage. These chemicals can come from simple objects like hairspray, perfume, and even your makeup which can cause your pearls to become dull and dirty. Similarly at night, your pearls should be the first thing you take off. Your pearls can have a similar reaction to the types of cleansers, toners, and lotions you use as well as makeup removal solutions.
Also, if you are going to follow the great June Cleaver and do housework in your pearls, think again. Simple household detergents and cleaning products can contain chlorine and ammonia which can have an adverse reaction on your pearls. Any gardening and swimming with pearls on should also be avoided. It’s best to save them for the office or going out.
Even if you do avoid chemical contact to your pearls, they still need cleaning and maintenance. Many sets of pearl jewelry come with cleaning kits to help you maintain your pearls beauty. These kits include soft gem cloths that are gentle not to scratch the surface of the pearl but still be able to thoroughly remove impurities. Using harder, more abrasive items like a simple toothbrush can cause damage to the pearls nacre or cause pitting, so a soft cloth is best. You may wipe your pearls dry or use a gentle solution of water and a very mild soap. Do not opt for cleaning solutions that contain ammonia or harsh detergents which can cause more damage than good. You should also keep your pearls away from ultrasonic cleaners as well.
When you are done wearing your pearls, try not to store them along with other jewelry that can potentially scratch the surface. Store your pearls in a soft pouch that cushions it and keeps it protected from potential damage. Also, many people store their jewelry in bank safe deposit boxes. These boxes are generally humidity-free, which is not a good environment for cultured pearls. Cultured pearls are considered organic colored stones. Over time, a humidity-free environment can dry out your pearl jewelry and may cause them to crack. So you may want to speak with your bank about options or opt for an alternative safe location.
Lastly, to increase the longevity of your pearl jewelry, you should consider having them restrung each year. This will keep your pearls in good condition and also ensure that the chord is in a good, strong condition. You really do not want to care for the actual pearls so carefully and then have them spill across the floor because of an old nylon chord. So having them restrung on a new chord will ensure your pearl necklace or bracelet stays in tact. You can also look into pearl jewelry that uses stronger stringing materials like European leather chords, which may last longer.
No matter what type of pearls you have, whether it is Akoya, Freshwater, South Sea, or Tahitian pearls, you need to maintain each pearl carefully to maximize their longevity. Following these simple rules of thumb can help you care for your pearls in a way that allows you to treasure them for a long long time.