A Guide to Pearls
How to Care for your Pearls
- Avoid commercial jewelry cleaners on pearls unless specifically recommended for pearl cleaning. Many commercial cleaners contain ammonia, which will cause deterioration. Vinegar will also deteriorate pearls if not rinsed off right away. Never clean pearls in an ultrasonic cleaners which can damage pearls.
- Hairspray, perfumes, and cosmetics can disintegrate the pearl's surface, so should always be used prior to putting on your pearl jewelry.
- To clean pearls avoid abrasive powdered cleaners, baking soda, toothbrushes, scouring pads, or materials that can damage the pearls surface. Gently rub pearls with a soft cloth to remove caked-on dirt, body oils, and perspiration (which is acidic) and harmful to a pearl's surface and color. Cloth may be dampened if necessary.
- Store your pearl jewelry in a soft jewelry bag, or wrap your jewelry in a linen handkerchief to protect it from scratches and damage.
- Avoid storing pearls in sealed plastic bags or excessively dry places which can cause your pearls to crack. Pearls are composed of approx. 2 to 4% water along with calcium carbonate and organic binder called conchiolin. Storing pearls near a heater or places exposed to strong sunlight results in dehydration and causes pearls to become brittle and crack.
- Remove pearls before performing strenuous exercise or work that could result in damage to pearl jewelry.
- Restring pearls periodically. When excessive wear is noticeable once a year is recommended. For your very fine pearls it is recommended pearls be silk knotted between each pearl to prevent damage from pearls rubbing against each other, or getting lost if silk cord breaks.
- Pearls that have a dirty oily build-up around the drill holes up can be washed in a sudsy water with a small amount of mild liquid hand soap. Lay pearls flat on a damp absorbent hand towel to dry after washing. Your pearl strand should be dry when the towel is dry. To prevent silk cord from stretching do not wear pearls wet, or hang pearls to dry.