Caring For Pearls
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR PEARLS
Storing Pearls Safely
Pearls are a relatively soft gem, and they should be protected from objects which can scratch them. Proper storage and care will keep them lustrous and beautiful. Keep your pearls in a soft cloth bag or pouch. If you don’t have a bag or pouch, wrap them in a soft cloth. If you toss them in a box or drawer with other jewelry and they are unprotected, they may be scratched by metal or stones in your other jewelry.
Protecting Your Pearls
Put on your pearls after you put on make-up, perfume, hair spray, or other cosmetics. These substances can harm the surface of a pearl and cause spots or disintegration. Do not expose pearls to vinegar, ammonia, or chlorine! These substances are deadly to pearls and can actually eat holes in them and dissolve them. Be especially careful when wearing a pearl ring - it’s the wrong jewelry for house cleaning, since many household cleaners contain ammonia.
Do not wear pearls in a swimming pool or hot tub that contains chlorine. Protect pearls from flames or extreme heat—they can burn or become discolored. Perspiration can damage pearls, so do not wear them while engaged in hard work or heavy exercise. If your pearls are set, such as in rings or earrings, check the settings periodically. If settings are loose, have a jeweler repair them. If your pearls are strung, they will need to be restrung by a jeweler periodically. If you wear them very frequently, restringing once a year is recommended. They should be strung with knots separating the pearls to prevent them from rubbing against each other. Knots also help prevent the loss of pearls if the strand should break.
Cleaning Your Pearls
After wearing, gently wipe pearls off with a hot damp towel. This cleaning will remove body oils and perspiration, which can change the color of pearls. It will also remove any traces of cosmetics which may have gotten on the pearls. If there is a spot of dirt which can’t be rubbed off, gently use your fingernail. Periodic washing is recommended, and pearls can be washed in water with a mild soap such as Ivory. But do NOT use jewelry cleaners, ultrasonic cleaners, steam, detergents, bleaches, powdered cleansers, baking soda, ammonia, scouring pads, or anything abrasive material to clean pearls. Use a soft cloth when washing, or a very soft brush (such as a baby hair brush) to clean the knots in the string. After washing and rinsing, lay the pearls flat in a damp dish towel to dry. Do not hang or wear pearls if the string is still wet or it may stretch.