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 Jewelry Education & Learning Center

Learn about caring for your Pearls

Care of Pearls

Pearls are very soft and need special care and attention. You should never store your pearls in a jewelry box next to other jewelry, because both the box and other pieces of jewelry can damage pearls by scratching and nicking, so keep them in a fabric lined box or fabric pouch.

Skin produces acids that can harm your pearls, so if worn regularly pearls should be wiped down with a soft cloth after every wear. A pearl necklace will gradually absorb acid from the skin that will eat into the pearl causing it to lose its luster. Wiping pearls of with either a wet or dry, soft cloth will prevent dirt from accumulating and keep perspiration, which is slightly acidic, from eating away at the nacre. If you desire you can even use a drop of olive oil on your cleansing cloth to help maintain your pearls luster.

Along with being soft and easily scratched, pearls can be damaged by chemicals and heat. Only use jewelry cleaner is clearly marked safe for pearls. Never use ultrasonic cleanser. Never use dish or wash detergents, bleaches, baking soda or ammonia based cleansers. Never use toothbrushes, or any other abrasive materials to clean your pearls. Always take off your pearls before you use any cosmetics, hair spray, and perfume. Avoid heat and dry air because both can cause pearls to turn brown, dry out, and crack.

CULTURED PEARL CARE

To care for your cultured pearls, avoid using chemical or alcohol cleaners, nail polish, abrasives, solvents, and polish removers while wearing them. Soft gems like pearls should never be put in an ultrasonic cleaner. Instead, wash your cultured pearls in very mild, soapy water.

Before storing your cultured pearls, wipe them with a soft, damp cloth to ensure that they remain free from any harmful buildup of these compounds. Easily scratched if bumped by other jewelry, cultured pearls are best stored in a soft cloth pouch or in a separate, lined jewelry box.

If you wear your cultured pearl strand several times a week, consider having your jeweler re-string it once a year to prevent strand breakage. Experts advise using silk or nylon thread to re-string pearls, with a knot between each pearl. Should your strand break, replace the entire cord. If the pearls are in graduated sizes, try to keep them on the old cord to maintain the same sequence until they are re-strung.

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