How to Care for Pearl Jewelry: 13 Tips to Stay Shiny

How to Care for Pearl Jewelry: 13 Tips to Stay Shiny
How to Care for Pearl Jewelry: 13 Tips to Stay Shiny

Pearl jewelry has for ages been considered as a timeless adornment with lasting value. These natural pieces are one of the most elegant ways to adorn ourselves and complement our outfits. The hard glistening objects that are conceived within the soft tissue of living shelled mollusks add instant charm to any look. Pearls are some of the purest natural-made gemstones on Earth, and to keep their angelic clarity for a lifetime, you will have to put in some effort. The more we wear our jewelry, the more it deteriorates. 

This is why learning some basic tips on how to care for your pearls and other jewelry is of utmost importance. 

The classic beauty and captivating luster of pearls requires special attention. To begin with, cleaning and proper storage are essential. There are various products, materials, chemicals, and environmental conditions you need to avoid or take advantage of, in order to keep your pearl jewelry look amazing for years to come. 

Caring for Pearl Jewelry – Important Tips to Follow

Keep Pearls Away From Household Chemicals

Household chemicals are, without doubt, one of the key factors that work on the deterioration of every piece of jewelry. Not only pearl jewelry but other precious metals and gemstones are deeply affected by household chemicals like dish lotions, window cleaners, solvents, detergents, and soaps. All of these contain different abrasives and chemicals that can damage your pearls with the passing of time. 

To protect your pearl jewelry, make sure to never wear them when cleaning your house, working on the garden, or when making the dishes. Just remember: Your pearl jewelry should be the first thing off and last thing on. 

Watch out for Beauty Products

Long and continuous exposure to beauty products and lotions will eventually fade the luster of your precious pearls. Although most fine pieces won’t be affected by beauty products, pearls are porous gems that have a fragile construct. With that said, I would recommend putting your hand or body lotion after you’ve taken your pearl jewelry off at night. In addition, other beauty products like perfume, make-up, and hairspray can also harm your pearls. 

Keep Pearls away from Excessive Light and Temperature

Just as our skin can be damaged from long exposure to sun’s rays or extreme hot or cold temperatures, pearl jewelry can lose its lasting shine under these circumstances. Excessive light, extreme temperatures, and temperature fluctuations contribute to the deterioration of your precious pearl jewelry. Under these circumstances, pearls can darken or bleach. As for temperature fluctuations, pearls are some of the most delicate jewelry, and as such they can unfortunately develop tiny cracks, discolor, or dry out. 

Put your Jewelry on Rotation

No matter how much you love them, pearl jewelry is not made to be worn 24/7. Give your precious pearls a break every once in a while. Put your jewelry on rotation, try on other pieces, showing this way, kindness to your other jewelry, while also experimenting with new adornments. 

Store your Pearls Separately

Proper storage is key for your pearls to keep their beautiful shine, avoid scratches when pieces get knocked together, or prevent dirt or dust being accumulated. Pearls, along with precious metals, and some gemstones, are some of the most vulnerable goods that necessitate being stored individually. You can opt for a decent jewelry organizer and choose from a vast number of choices the one that fits your jewelry collection and is in perfect harmony with your home decor and design. Choices are immense, ranging from Jewelry Trees, Jewelry Boxes, Jewelry Trays, etc. 

Minimize Dry Heat

If your precious pearls become too dry, they get damaged. The precious gems are formed in water and dry heat caused by hair dryers or curling iron can eventually cause pearl jewelry to crack or have brown spots. All you have to do is make sure to first complete your beauty regimen (if it includes heat to style your hair) and then put your pearl jewelry on. 

Put Pearls Off before Bathing or Swimming

Just as excessive dry heat can damage your pearls, the same can happen with too much moisture. Moisture damages pearls by compromising the stringing material in the pearl strand, which can later lead to breakage. In addition, abrasives found in the chlorine of swimming pools can also cause pitting in the pearls’ surface. And when showering, chemicals found in soaps and shampoo can significantly dull a pearl’s luster. For as long as you remove your pearl jewelry before bathing, showering, or getting into the pool, you should be okay. 

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Watch out for Abrasive Clothing

By abrasive clothing, we are referring to sequins, rough wool, beading, metallic threads, and other clothing material that can potentially scratch pearls and abrade the surface of the gems. To keep your jewelry looking good always, preserve its classic beauty and captivating luster, make sure to wear your precious pieces with softer fabrics. 

Check for a Loose String or Setting

As Benjamin Franklin said – “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care”. These wise words are perfect to describe the importance of this task. Take a small moment and check your pearls, while also appreciating them, and see if there is any loose or damaged string or setting. What to look for? Check if the gems are all solidly set into the piece. See if the clasp is secure. Check for any lost parts, broken chain links, or other jewelry issues. Better taking precautions than letting your precious pearls be dispersed. If there are issues, we recommend paying a visit or at least consulting with your preferred or local jeweler. It would be the smarter thing to do. 

Know When to Remove your Pearl Jewelry

Development of tiny cracks, darkening over time, drying out, getting discolored, losing their beautiful luster, or bleaching – These are some of the damages that can occur to pearl jewelry if not properly maintained. It is best to know when to remove your pearls, no matter how beautiful they look on you. Try to take off your precious pearls before any of the following activities: Water-based sports, showering, bathing, working on the garden, cleaning your home, washing dishes, playing sports, going to bed. 

Put your Pearls on Last

When getting dressed to start your day or preparing for a night out, keep in mind to put your pearl jewelry on last. This way you will avoid any unwanted contact between your jewelry and your outfit. Simply think of your jewelry as the finishing touch for your look. 

Don’t Cook While Wearing Pearls

Vinegar and lemon juice, among others, contain natural acids that can iridescent the outer layer or eat into the nacre of your pearls. Grease can as well stain pearl’s surface too. And certain dish detergents will also harm your precious jewelry. 

Do not Use Ultrasonic Cleaners

Ultrasonic cleaners are one of the most convenient ways to clean your jewelry. However, they can not be used to clean organic gems like pearls, amber, ivory, coral, jet, shell cameos, and tortoiseshell. Although an ultrasonic cleaner can clean jewelry that other household items can’t, its 42,000 Hz ultrasonic waves would crack your pearls within seconds. Instead, below you will see the proper cleaning methods for pearl jewelry. 

How to Clean Pearls?

Follow these pearl maintenance tips to ensure you enjoy the classic beauty of your precious jewelry for years to come. 

  1. After taking your pearl jewelry off, wipe them with a soft cloth. Doing this will prevent oils, dust, and other substances to build-up. No matter how careful you might have been to keep your pearls away from household chemicals or other lotions, a light cleaning after each use is recommended. 
  1. Use damp cloth with caution. When pearls are stained, you can mix a solution of mild dish soap in lukewarm water. Dip the soft cleaning cloth in it and gently wipe the pearls. Keep in mind to not submerge the pearl jewelry in water as it will weaken the silk thread. 
  1. Let your pearls dry before storing. Again, this will help in preserving that precious elasticity of the silk strand. 
  1. Store your pearls in a jewelry box with a soft-cloth pouch or a soft-lined interior. Make sure it is not airtight  (like zip-lock bags) as it can cause your pearls to become brittle. 

Use Specifically Designed Pearl-Safe Cleaners

Make sure to not clean your pearl jewelry with ultrasonic or steam cleaners. These methods will damage the pearl’s outer layer. Also, usage of jewelry cleaners designed for precious metals, or diamonds is not recommended. Instead, try using products that are specifically designed for pearl cleaning. The Blitz Delicate Gem and Pearl Cleaner is intended for use on porous precious gem jewelry. It can remove dirt, restore shine, without using abrasives. 

Keep your Pearls Always Shining

Try to follow these simple tips to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of your pearls and make them a family heirloom that can be passed down for generations.