What Are Pearls
Pearls have been considered a symbol of purity since ancient times, which is why baby girls wear them at christening and brides on their wedding day. Pearl jewelry can make anyone look truly radiant. So, whether it is a pearl necklace, pearl ring, pearl bracelet or a pair of pearl earrings, it is a beautiful investment.
Pearls are a gorgeous addition to any jewelry collection and are versatile fashion pieces. But they are also very fragile, easily damaged, and can easily lose their luster, color, and durability over time if not properly cared for. Pearls do need to be taken care of, so as to maintain their natural luster and keep them looking their best for many years.
By reading this complete guide to pearl cleaning and care, you'll find helpful tips to keep your pearls looking good for years to come. Sharing these tips with your loved ones can also be a great bonding experience, especially if your gift recipient is a young girl eager to learn how to care for her new jewelry. When she knows how to care for her pearls, she will feel responsible and grown up, she will fully appreciate the value of her sentimental jewelry gift.
Learn how to take care of your pearls and properly care for your pearl jewelry so that it will shine through the years.
Why Do Pearl Jewelry Need Special Care?
Because of the way pearls are formed, they require extra care. In short, a small seed, bead or particle is covered with a shiny layer of nacre, a compound secreted by mollusks that is an inner shell. This soft nacre coating on the outside of pearls is the main reason pearls are considered brittle, so extra care is needed when handling them.
If the pearl's nacre is thin and brittle, it can easily chip away, leaving unsightly crevices, chips, or cracks, especially when cleaned with harsh chemicals or placed in a jewelry cleaner such as an ultrasonic cleaner . In the worst case, the pearl will fall apart completely, leaving a dull, lifeless bead.
How to Store Pearl Jewelry
It is important to store pearls in the correct way to avoid damaging the composition of the gem. Careless storage of pearls can cause them to turn yellow, dull and brittle.
Avoid storing pearls in airtight plastic bags or confined spaces such as safes. These create a dry environment, effectively cutting off the circulation of air and moisture.. As the pearl dries, it becomes more and more brittle and loses its color. Like skin, pearls need moisture to glow and look healthy.
Instead, try storing your pearls in a non-abrasive fabric bag, such as a suede or fabric-lined jewelry box, away from heat sources. Putting a few damp cotton balls or a damp cloth in with the pearls will also help keep them hydrated.
Before storing your pearls, make sure you've wiped them off quickly with a clean, soft cloth to remove any dirt, such as body oils and chemicals.
Also, since pearls are very soft, it is important to store them separately. If you store pearls with other jewelry, these items can easily scratch the pearls and damage them.
One last thing. Remember to always store pearls flat and never hang them on hooks or jewelry racks. This will prevent damage to the strings and keep them from stretching.
How to Clean Pearl Jewelry
Pearls are very soft, though, so cleaning them can be tricky when they get dirty. The key is knowing the right products to use and how to take care of them every day to keep them from getting too dirty in the first place.
Cleaning your pearls doesn't take long, but care must be taken to protect their outer layer (nacre). Removing any dust and grime restores the pearl's gorgeous natural luster.
Steps to Clean Pearl Jewelry
- Wipe the pearls with a soft cloth after each wear. This will effectively remove oils and other substances that your pearl jewelry is exposed to throughout the day.
- Clean with a damp cloth only when needed. If your pearls are visibly stained, you can mix a mild dish soap and warm water, then gently wipe the pearls with a soft cleaning cloth. Do not immerse pearl necklaces in water as it will weaken the threads.
- Allow them to dry completely before storing. Again, this helps keep the thread elastic.
- Take them to the local jeweler once a year. While you want to wear pearls often to keep them hydrated, none of these body oils do silk threads any favors. Have your jeweler check the integrity of your pearl jewelry once a year. And have them give your pearls a thorough, safe cleaning.
Never use steam or ultrasonic jewelry cleaners to clean pearls. They can damage the outer layer of the pearls.
What to Avoid
Because pearls are very delicate, to prolong their lifespan and luster, make sure to avoid the following things:
Ultrasonic cleaners are great for cleaning jewelry quickly and efficiently, but should not be used with pearls under any circumstances. They can damage the outer layer of the pearl and cause the pearl to break.
Harsh chemicals include cosmetics, hair spray, perfume, chlorine, bleach, ammonia and other household detergents. When applying makeup, be sure to put pearls last after applying makeup and styling agents. This prevents your pearls from coming into contact with these chemicals. If this does happen, be sure to wipe the pearls and remove any contaminant residue.
Do not submerge pearls in water. Be sure to remove any pearl jewelry when swimming, washing dishes, or engaging in other water-related activities.
Because pearls can be easily broken or scratched, it is best to remove pearl jewelry during strenuous activity. This includes outdoor activities such as sports or gardening.
The best thing about pearls is that in order to keep them looking shiny and fresh, you just need to wear them regularly. It's not a difficult task, so what are you waiting for?