To keep pearls looking their very best you need just a little
knowledge on how to care for them correctly.
Pearls, including freshwater pearls are delicate organic gems
that are made of the natural product called calcium carbonate. This
product is drawn from the lake or river by the mussel that the pearl lives in.
Your freshwater pearls were once living and growing so you
will need to make sure that as with all living things they stay out of harm.
The products that harm pearls most are the very things that the woman who loves
pearls probably wears without a second thought. You've guessed it already
- the most harmful product to a pearl is the application of perfume, hair spray
and cosmetics and face creams when the owner is wearing the pearls.
These grooming products and other household chemicals if
sprayed near pearls can build up on the pearl and damage the lustre.
These grooming products and other household chemicals, if
sprayed near pearls, can build up on the pearl and damage the lustre. The nacre
can become marked, dull, pitted and generally lose that marvellous luminous
lustre that defines a pearl.
The most important way to prevent damage to your pearls is by
following the golden rule of putting your pearls on as the last thing you do
when finishing your grooming. Put the pearls on after you have applied
make up, perfume and hair sprays, never before. Don't spray your perfume
on the neck area where the pearls will actually sit and avoid touching your
pearls when you have just applied hand cream. If you need to reapply hair spray
at some time, slip the pearls off for a moment and put them well out of the
Likewise make pearls the first thing you remove after a night
out, before you wipe your face and neck with cleansers or facial wipes, or night
creams. As you remove your pearls wipe them with a soft damp cloth.
Buff them occasionally with a silk cloth to enhance their shine and lustre.
Try not to fling them in a jumble on the dressing table, but discipline yourself
to put them back in their original container.
Many pearls such as those from
Pearls Plus are sold with a Chinese silk jewellery pouch and
this is the best way to store your pearls. Velvet lined boxes with
separate compartments are also safe to use as are chamois leather pouches.
Your pearls may arrive protected by bubble wrap, but you should never store the
pearls in this plastic long term.
If you throw pearls into a jewel box full of other tangled
jewellery your pearls will soon lose their lustrous sparkle, the surface will
become scratched, wires will become bent and clasps scratched.
Never put your pearls on top of a fireplace, television set
or a radiator as the heat will discolour them often turning them brown
overnight. For the same reason avoid steam cleaning them.
Don't touch your pearls with your fingers if eating bar snack
foods which sometimes have chilli style powders on them. Such spices can
damage the surface of pearls. I once damaged my new Mabé pearl earrings
when eating chilli style taco biscuits at a party. One earring still has a
minute little speckle spot where the chilli powder rested. I was lucky the
spot is so tiny, but the spice speck literally burnt into side of the pearl.
Store strung pearls flat as they won't stretch so quickly as
Don't store pearls in a very dry room, nor in a safe deposit
box. Pearls appreciate a little moisture so wearing them regularly is
For the majority of women the best place to keep your pearls
is on your neck! Wearing your pearls gives them the chance to breathe and
the body produces natural oils that pearls love. Body warmth and the
expression of this fine natural body oil through the skin keeps the pearls
Whilst some women can improve the look of pearls there are
unfortunately a few other women who may have a more acid balanced skin type and
such acid skins can sometimes cause pearls to lose their lustre. However
by regularly wiping the pearls after use you can slow the process down
enormously. This is very important as body perspiration is acidic and can
eat away at the nacre, likewise the alcohol content of perfume can suck out the
moisture from a pearl leaving it brittle.
Jewellers can clean pearls or you can buy a special pearl
jewellery cleaning solution.
Don't clean pearls using any of the jewellery cleaners
especially for gold or silver on the market. Such products usually contain an
ammonia base. Also don't use the ultrasonic cleaning sets as the
vibrations can make the pearls rub against each other and cause scuffing.
If the pearls are old and the lustre is dulling wipe them
with a soft damp cloth that has been dipped in a very gentle natural soap
solution, next wipe them with a detergent free damp cloth and then allow them to
dry flat on kitchen paper. After the pearls have dried, a cloth with a
fine smear of olive oil will help restore some lustre.
Good pearls will last longer if they are restrung every year
if you wear them every day or every two years for less frequent wear. They
should only be restrung with pure silk thread or special nylon necklace cord.
Other yarns like cotton break and rot more easily.
Every string is best knotted between each pearl. The
knot not only helps keep control of your pearls should they break, but also
helps stop the pearls rubbing too much against each other.
Some people do not like the look of a knotted string and
newer alternatives are spaced pearls on wires held in place by gimps. Such
necklaces have a fresh modern look, but must always be stored as flat as
possible to prevent the polymer coated wire from getting bent.
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