Pearls have a classic, universal elegance that makes the wearer look sophisticated. The simple grace of pearls can make a great accessory to any situation, whether you’re going to the office or have plans for the evening. You can even wear pearls to make your every day attire look timeless and elegant.
Pearls are universally flattering. They can be found in little mollusks under the sea. Unlike gemstones produced deep inside the Earth, pearls are created by living creatures called mollusks. These animals live in marine and freshwater habitats as well as on land. Any mollusk that produces a shell can produce a pearl. However, naturally occurring pearls are rare, but the cultured pearl industry, which has flourished since the early 20th century, has developed techniques to greatly improve these odds. Indeed, more pearls are produced now than at any time in human history.
It is true that pearls are not as strong as, say, diamonds, making the risk of damage higher if they're worn every day. But with proper care and caution, you can keep your pearl jewelry safe, even during everyday wear.
Here are few tips for cleaning, storing and restoring your pearls.
Storing Pearls & Pearl Jewelry
- A storage place that is too dry, hot or does not allow air to circulate will eventually dull the lustre of pearls. If pearls are kept for too long in an airtight environment such as sealed plastic bags or safes, the nacre (outer coating of pearls) will eventually turn yellow, dry out and the surface of the pearl will crack.
- NEVER store pearls in a plastic bag. Some types of plastic emit a chemical that will cause the surface of your pearls to deteriorate. Don't store pearls in a safe or safety deposit box for long periods.
- Keep pearls in silk or chamois leather when not in use, away from diamonds or other metal. You should never store your pearls in the same jewelry box as other pieces of jewelry can damage the pearls by scraching it.
- Pearls strings should never be stored in a hanging position as this makes the strand slack and reduces the strength and elasticity of the thread.
Right Usage of Pearls & Pearl Jewelry
- Always take off your pearl jewelry before using any cosmetics, hair spray, perfumes, creams, hair dryer as these can damage the pearls significantly by cracking, discoloration and drying the sheen or coating.
- Wipe your pearl jewelry with a soft, cotton cloth as soon as you take them off.
- Give your pearls an annual check-up - look for thread stretching, discoloration or fraying.
- If you wear your pearls often, have them cleaned by a pearl expert once a year.
Cleaning your Pearls & Pearl Jewelry
- Only use jewelry cleaners that are clearly marked safe for pearls. Never use ultrasonic cleansers, dish or washing detergents, bleach, baking soda, or amonia based cleaners.
- Do not use toothbrushes or any other abrasive materials to clean the pearls. These can wear away the nacre coating, leaving behind a plain looking bead.
- Pearl cleaning is best left to a pearl specialist and the perfect time to do this is just prior to re-stringing. It is best to have pearls cleaned by a reliable jeweler. A good time to do this is during an annual check-up.
Restoring Your Pearls & Pearl Jewelry
- Use a damp or dry chamois or soft cloth for wiping the pearls or pearl jewelry. To help maintain the pearl luster, put a drop of olive oil on your pearl cleaning cloth.