Caring for Pearls
The basics of pearl care
Nothing defines lady-like style like a string of pearls does. From royals and world leaders to average citizens this organic gem cuts across social statuses and remains a graceful accessory for all. While the cost and quality may vary pearl jewelry is something that will last a lifetime provided it is properly cared for.
Because of its delicate make-up pearls require regular visual inspections to keep them in top condition. The nacre or organic material that forms a pearl is porous by nature and can quickly absorb various elements from its surroundings.
Proceed with caution
Pearl jewelry should be the last piece you put on before you hit the door. Never wear your pearls when applying make-up lotions hair spray or perfume. They can react to pigments and solutions found in cosmetics. Style your hair first because a wayward comb may scratch these lustrous beauties. Always remove pearls when you need to work with bleach alcohol and other household chemicals.
Keep a soft cloth handy
It is wise to keep a gentle lint-free fabric scrap like chamois in your jewelry care arsenal for the specific purpose of wiping down your pearls after each use. Pearls can react to perspiration which can cause discoloration. However don't be afraid to wear your pearl jewelry because this luminous gemstone responds positively to the natural oil of your body which adds to its luster.
Mild soap is a must
Never clean pearls in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner! The vibrations will shatter pearls. If you notice a persistent stain during you regular inspection of your jewelry it is time to soak them in a mild soap and water solution. The soap should be a very mild formula like castile soap or Woolite without fragrance or dye. Lukewarm water is recommended along with a drop or two of soap in a comfortable sized bowl. Carefully rub the pearl with your fingers to get rid of the blemish. Do not use a scrub brush or toothbrush as the bristles can scratch the nacre. Rinse your pearls using cold water more than once. Let them lay flat dry on a clean cloth. Once dry give them another wipe it with a soft fabric for good measure.
It's in the bag
A cotton jewelry purse is the ideal place to store pearls. This gem needs access to air and the plastic bags tend to stifle its passage. Keep pearls separate from the rest of your jewelry pieces to avoid abrasions from harder gemstones and metal. An extensive pearl collection will require a lined jewelry box with multiple niches. Remember to bring your pearls out into the air on a regular basis or better yet wear them.
When to restring
If time and budget allow it is recommended to restring pearl strands and necklaces once a year. However this varies depending on frequency of use and the overall quality of the setting. Seek the expert hand of an outside party and search for jewelers who do this professionally around your area. This is also the appropriate time to think about repurposing your pieces. Be clear with your expectations. Articulate your desired length and any changes to the clasp before handing over your pearls.
If you are a DIY crafting fan you may want to try restringing pearls yourself. A quick Internet search on "How To Restring Pearls" will lead you to a variety of how-to videos and articles. Explore your imagination when reworking your pieces.