How to Care for Your Pearls

Your pearls are precious in more ways than one and you may be wondering how to properly care for them. Pearls consist of 90% Calcite (CaCO3) and 4% water. The water inside the pearl is what keeps the luster intact, so it’s important to retain the water, but too much water can damage the pearl.

Here is a list of tips on how to care for your pearl jewelry and ensure that they will keep looking beautiful for years:

Maintenance Dos

  1. Clean your pearl jewelry with a soft, damp cloth. The cloth should not be too wet. When you buy pearl jewelry from Timeless Pearl, we include a soft cloth with your jewelry which you can use for cleaning purposes.
  2. Keep your pearl jewelry in a separate pouch or box. A pearl’s surface is not very hard, so it’s easy to be damaged by other pieces of jewelry if you store them together. According to the Mohs hardness scale, pearls, or Calcite, are only on level 3, which is right between a fingernail and a copper penny. Diamonds are on level 10. Wrap pearls with a soft cloth and store separately.
  3. Pearls are living organisms, so they need fresh air to breathe. Take them out of their storage space and wear at least once every season; otherwise, the color of the pearls will quickly start to change over time.
  4. When dressing and undressing, put on your pearl jewelry last and take them off first. This will help them keep their luster. Cosmetics such as skin products, makeup, and perfume may have an erosive effect on pearls. Pearls can absorb these chemicals, so try not to let it get in contact with cosmetics.

Maintenance Don’ts

  1. Don’t use direct water to clean the pearl’s surface. Pearls can absorb the water which is difficult to dry out again, and can therefore cause fermentation inside the pearls. Fermentation will cause the pearls to change color and lose their luster. Clean as described in point 1 above.
  2. Don’t let the pearls lie under direct sunlight for a prolonged period or store them in a too dry place, as this will cause pearls to lose the water inside. Since pearls consist of only 4% water, drying out will cause them to lose their luster.
  3. During storage, don’t hang pearl necklaces but rather store them inside a pouch lying flat. The silk thread may become slack if hung for an extended period. Check the thread every two to three years to see if the thread is still in good condition and change if necessary. The last thing you want is for the thread to break and lose your pearl beads.
  4. Don’t give up on your pearls if they start to turn yellow. Pearls can be immersed in diluted hydrochloric acid, which will cause the outside nacre layers to melt off so the inside luster can come out again. Your necklace will look new again. If you don’t know how to do this, rather leave it to the professionals!

If you look after your pearls properly, they will stay beautiful and lustrous for hundreds of years, and you can pass them on to your daughter or granddaughter.

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