Caring for Your Pearls

Image courtesy of GIA.

Pearls are a staple in the accessory wardrobe of most women. If they’re not, I think they should be. But I’m a jeweler, so I’m biased. But given that many women own at least one piece of pearl jewelry, and because I am a jeweler and pearls are one of my favorites, please allow me a few paragraphs to offer some suggestions on the proper way to care for such beautiful, yet delicate, jewelry.

Rule #1 with pearls is that they should always be the last thing you put on before you leave the house, and the first thing you take off when you get home. Whether it’s a strand of Akoyas, a pair of Tahitian studs, or a mabe pearl ring (that’s pronounced MAH-bay), the pearls need to be protected. Pearls are porous and carbon-based, so they are readily affected by everything around them. Hairspray, perfume, hand lotion, cigarette smoke, and even strongly scented or dyed hand soaps can discolor or deteriorate pearls.

Pearls damaged by hairspray. Image courtesy of www.pearl-guide.com.

Pearls damaged by hairspray. Image courtesy of www.pearl-guide.com.

When you take your pearls off, put them back in their folder or whatever safe place you have for them. It’s also good practice to gently wipe your pearls off with a soft, damp cloth and let them air dry after every other wear. This keeps body oil, sweat, and dead skin from building up on them. If you happened to spill something other than water on your pearl jewelry, you should wipe it down as soon as you can.

Even though they require a little extra care compared to other kinds of jewelry and gems, pearls can last for generations, just like any other gemstone. I’m sure some of you ladies reading inherited your grandmother’s strand of pearls at your graduation or wedding. Their timelessness is evidenced by that very fact. Wear your pearls and enjoy them, but please remember that for pearls, like all fine things of material possession, care is necessary.

Posted in: June Birthstone, Pearls

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