The luster of pearl jewelry is enchanting. Whether it’s a pearl necklace or a pair of pearl earrings, you can’t help but admire their glow. Whether you’ve purchased your pearl jewelry or received it as a gift, it’s important to take care of it to ensure it lasts a lifetime.
Density of Pearl Jewelry
Diamonds, which have been compacted for eons deep in the earth, are the hardest gemstone on the earth. Pearls, on the other hand, are cultivated within the shells of oysters. These creatures of the water produce the nacre of the pearl, the lustrous coating that gives pearl jewelry its luminosity. Unlike diamonds, pearls are soft, so you want to take the steps necessary to keep these gems looking their best.
Pearl Jewelry Isn’t for Every Occasion
Although a simple gold wedding band will withstand the rigors involved in working with your hands, your pearl ring won’t. The same holds true for your pearl necklace and pearl earrings. So don’t wear your pearl jewelry when you engage in physical labor, work in the yard, or work out at the gym. The dirt and perspiration will shorten the life of your pearls. Similarly, even though the pearls come from the ocean, it doesn’t mean that your pearl jewelry will thrive when you swim in the ocean, surf, or scuba dive. Pearls certainly don’t have to be locked away and work only for special occasions, but you should take care that they aren’t damaged by the elements.
Chemicals Can Be Toxic to Pearl Jewelry
Just as some people are allergic to chemicals, pearl jewelry can be “allergic” to hairsprays, perfumes, and lotions. The chemicals contained in such products – even those touted as “natural” – can shorten the lifespan of your pearls. This isn’t to say that you should style your hair or apply your fragrance if you’re going to wear your pearl jewelry. Rather, keep the “last on, first off” rule in mind. When you’re dressing, your pearl jewelry should be the last item you put on, just before you head out the door. When you return, your pearl jewelry should come off first, before you kick off your shoes and relax for the evening. By following this rule, you’ll limit your pearl jewelry’s exposure to chemicals and prolong the life of your jewelry.
Keeping Pearl Jewelry Clean
Like all jewelry, pearl jewelry becomes dirty over time. You can gently clean your pearl jewelry yourself with a very slightly damp soft clean cloth. It’s important that you don’t use any type of scrubbing device, like a sponge or a toothbrush, and that you don’t use soap or detergent. After cleaning, lay your pearl jewelry on a clean, soft cloth to dry.
You can also have your pearl jewelry professionally cleaned. Many jewelers who specialize in pearl jewelry offer cleaning services for Akoya pearls, Tahitian pearls, and freshwater pearls of every color – such as white, pink, and black pearls.
Re-Stringing Pearl Necklaces
If you have an Akoya pearl necklace, a Tahitian pearl necklace, or a freshwater pearl necklace, and you wear it regularly, it’s advisable to replace the silk string every two or three years. Re-stringing your pearl necklace helps ensure that it won’t break and that you won’t lose one or more pearls.
By all means, enjoy wearing your pearl jewelry. And, with some common sense of care and cleaning, you’ll be able to enjoy it for years to come.