HOW TO CLEAN PEARLS
Pearls are beautiful and elegant, prized for their soft luster and iridescent colors. While they may seem delicate, pearl jewelry is quite durable and easy to care for. To keep your pieces looking their best, read on for some fantastic tips on how to clean pearls properly.
FIRST, WHAT IS A PEARL MADE OF?
Pearls are organic gemstones produced by mollusks such as oysters and mussels. They have a beautiful natural luster and radiance due to the thousands of nacre layers that coat it.
WHY DOES PEARL JEWELRY REQUIRE SPECIAL CARE?
Organic pearls form when a tiny irritant, such as a grain of sand gets stuck inside an oyster shell. To get rid of the irritant, the oyster secretes layers and layers of nacre over it until it encases the irritant in the substance. The nacre shell is a calcium carbonate and conchiolin (a protein) mixture. It's a very soft substance but incredibly strong and resilient. Hence, the thickness of the nacre layers directly corresponds to a real pearl's durability.
Pearl jewelry care must be gentle, especially if the pearl nacre is thin and delicate. A thin layer of nacre shatters with little effort, leaving ugly gaps, chips, or cracks when cleaned with abrasive chemicals or placed in a harsh jewelry cleaner such as an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. Organic pearls might unravel completely in the worst-case scenario, leaving you with bland and lifeless beads.
Likewise, faux pearls require special maintenance since their outer layer is far thinner and more delicate than real pearls.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CLEAN YOUR PEARL EARRINGS?
You should clean pearl earrings and all other types of real pearl jewelry every time you wear them. Caring for pearls includes regularly wiping them down with a soft jewelry cloth to preserve their luster and remove body oils and other contaminants built upon the surface. After that, if you think the pearls still look dingy, give them a deeper cleaning. Beware, cleaning pearls too often with harsh chemicals will damage the delicate nacre.
Also, take the pearls to a jeweler to double-check the strand integrity and have them thoroughly cleaned once a year to maintain their soft glow.
ARE PEARLS FRAGILE?
Despite popular belief, pearls are not as fragile as you might think. They can withstand a fair amount of wear and tear. However, they're still an organic gemstone that needs to be handled with care to prevent damage.
Even cultured pearls with thicker coatings are more fragile than most other gemstones, so it's important to take special care when cleaning and storing them. Cultured pearls are also more likely to discolor if exposed to chemicals or sunlight for long periods of time, so store them in a cool, dark place when not wearing them.
INSTRUCTIONS: HOW TO CLEAN PEARLS
1. Give the Pearls a Quick Inspection
Check to see if the jewelry is still in good condition before cleaning. Examine the silk thread on necklaces and bracelets for signs of stretching, and check that the clasp opens and closes correctly. For earrings, check that the attachment to the posts is sturdy.
2. Dampen a Cloth with Soapy Water
Stir a solution of warm water and a few drops of mild detergent or mild soap together. When choosing a soap, aim for pure soap or soap flakes. The surface of pearls gets damaged by too hot or cold water, so double-check the temperature before utilizing it on jewelry. Dip a soft jewelry cloth in the lukewarm soapy water solution. Wring out the material to remove excess moisture and start to gently rub each individual stone with the damp cloth. Don't submerge the entire piece because it might weaken the thread.
3. Gently Wipe the Pearls with a Clean Cloth
Fill a basin with warm water. To remove soap residue, clean pearls with a new, clean cloth dampened in lukewarm water. Softly rub the gentle pearls carefully.
4. Let the Pearls Air-Dry
Before storing pearls, set them on a clean, dry towel and allow them to air-dry completely. Allowing pearls to completely dry on a flat surface maintains the silk thread's elasticity, which is crucial.
5. Store Pearls
Pearls are best stored flat not to damage the thread on necklaces and bracelets.
TIPS: HOW TO CARE FOR PEARLS
A. WEARING PEARLS
Before you go out the door, make a point of putting your pearls on last. Wearing pearls while getting ready exposes them to potentially harmful cosmetics, perfumes, and other chemicals. If you wear your pearls before applying harmful chemicals like perfume, this will damage the nacre, making your pearls look dull and lifeless.
Pearls benefit from being worn often since your body's oils, and heat keeps pearls shiny. You should wear your pearls regularly so that they get exposed to the natural humidity of the air and your skin. When you wear your pearls often, the moisture helps keep real pearls from drying out. This dryness makes them more brittle and susceptible to breakage.
Don't wear your pearls to bed as they may lose elasticity. Moreover, please don't hang your pearl strand anywhere, as this stretches out its thread. Instead, caring for pearls requires placing your pearls in jewelry bags made of soft cloth (e.g., silk).
Since pool water is often chlorinated and abrasive, caring for pearls means removing all jewelry before swimming in chlorinated water. Likewise, caring for pearls means not removing them before showering, as the water pressure and temperature can adversely affect the pearl thread.
B. STORING PEARLS
Don't store them with other jewelry because pearls can be scratched easily when metal or gemstones rub against them. A compartmentalized jewelry box is one of the best options for storage, as the dividers will protect against scratches. Find a special slot in your cloth-lined box, or keep them in a soft bag made from chamois or another non-abrasive material. Store your pearls flat to avoid stretching out the strand of silk thread.
Store your pearls in a satin or silk pouch because these jewels need to "breathe." Avoid storing pearls in airtight plastic bags or in a hot place that can strip out the moisture around the pearls, and they may start to dry out,
Organic pearls are more prone to color change than their artificial counterparts. When storing pearls, place a damp cloth or wet cotton balls in with the pearls. These add-ons prevent pearls from drying out, which can occur if exposed to dry air for a long time.
Likewise, remove the pearls far away from any heat sources to keep pearls hydrated when storing them.
Store them in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight when not wearing your pearls. Sunlight will cause cultured pearls to discolor over time.
Although popular, jewelry racks and trees help store necklaces and bracelets. Avoid these racks as they stretch out the strand on necklaces and bracelets.
C. CLEANING PEARLS
When you remove your pearls after a day of wear, wipe the pearls down with a soft cloth. Wiping down pearls with a soft cloth every time you take them off helps keep the pearls' luster and removes body oil and other debris on the surface.
Avoid drying pearls with rough fabrics such as paper towels and napkins as they can scratch the pearls' fragile surface.
When you clean your pearls, don't be too aggressive with the process, or you can cause irreparable harm that can render your beautiful bijoux useless. When you clean your pearls, remember that the delicate nacre on the backsides of the pearls is easily marked or damaged and that it's best to take proper precautions when cleaning your expensive jewels.
Never clean pearls in an ultrasonic cleaner or put them on a magnetized tray when you have your jewelry cleaned, as these two things can damage pearls. The ultrasonic waves will destroy the nacre coating, and magnets are highly destructive to pearls because they have jagged edges capable of breaking up their layers.
Pearls mounted on posts, like pearl earrings, are usually cemented in, and that cement can loosen with heat or harsh cleaning solutions.
Avoid using any harsh cleaning products on your gem. Even if available at home, these harsh cleaning products include items such as baking soda and vinegar. The chemicals present in these natural cleansers could eat into the outer layer of the pearl and cause irreversible damage. Instead, choose natural dish soap to use as a cleaning solution. Simply mix the all natural dish soap with water.
RESTRINGING A PEARL NECKLACE
If you wear your pearls frequently, you should restring them once a year to keep the string clean and robust. Restringing pearls eliminates accumulated dirt that may otherwise harm your pearls over time. It also prevents the silk thread from stretching out and weakening, leading to your silk strand breaking or falling off and becoming lost. It is essential to avoid this as If your pearl strands do drop, they may hit other hard surfaces, causing scratches.
When you restring pearls, you have the opportunity to inspect each pearl for damage. A professional jeweler should repair any cracks or chips on the surface of the pearls before you continue wearing them.
TO KNOT OR NOT TO KNOT
To knot or not knot beautiful pearls is an important decision. Some people like to string a knot between each stone so that they will not rub against each other and cause damage. When natural pearls rub against each other, the outer shell chips or breaks off! The outer shell, or nacre, is very fragile; hence worn-down pearls look dull and lifeless!
Others prefer not to knot pearls individually because it adds extra weight and bulk to a pearl necklace or bracelet. It may also make them lay differently on your neck.
So, it is a personal choice whether or not you want to knot each individual pearl, although there are some benefits associated with knotted pearls.
KNOTS SAVE YOUR PEARLS FROM FALLING OFF
In addition, if your natural pearls have individual knots, you will not have all your beautiful pearls fall off the string if it does break.
Knots prevent your pearls from falling out. If a regular strand of pearls were to break, say if it hooks itself on a button and the string snaps, the pearls will fall off the necklace one by one and roll all over the floor. You'd wind up losing them, injuring them from the fall, tripping on them, and everything would be a complete disaster. You will have a multitude of people on their hands and knees picking up potentially damaged pearls! Not good!
When your pearl strand has knots in it, guess what happens if you break the string? Only one pearl falls to the floor and rolls across the room. The rest of the pearls are still tied to the necklace string and knotted. Fantastic, those individual knots are a lifesaver for expensive pearls!
KNOTS TELL YOU THE CONDITION OF THE NECKLACE
If you look at a string of pearls and notice extra room or space between the pearls and the knots, it's time to replace it because it's stretched, pulled, old, and weak!
It's not a good sign if you can slide the pearls back and forth between each knot. It's an indication that the cord is frail and may break.
fBe cautious of any loose pearls strings! If you're buying a new pearl strand and the pearls are loose... Do not purchase them! If you do, you'll have to have them restrung right away!
THE CORD'S COLOR
You can also use the color of the cord to determine the age and wear of the necklace. It is old and worn if the white cord has darkened or turned black. A filthy cord weakens the necklace's strength and can snap more easily! Not to mention that it will make your pearl strand look dingy, dirty, and nasty!
Caring for pearls requires attention and care. To keep your pearls looking beautiful and lustrous, you need to know how to clean pearls, handle, and store them properly. After wearing them, be sure to wipe them down with a clean cloth, keep them in soft fabric bags or a cloth-line jewelry box away from heat and other jewelry, and regularly restring your pearls. With this advice, you will ensure that your pearls look stunning for years!
We hope you have enjoyed our article "How to Clean Pearls." If you have any questions, feel free to email us.