If you are spending money on pearls, you want them to last as long as possible and look good continuously. That is why it is important to know how to clean your pearls and how to care for them. This knowledge is important to keep them looking great.
Pearls are composed of calcium carbonate and are the world’s only organic gem. In order to maintain their luster, pearls have some very specific cleaning needs. Cultured pearls form when a bead is inserted into a shell. The oyster that the bead is inserted into provides the ‘nacre,’ the beautiful coat that makes pearls so special.
If you compare pearls to diamonds, you have to remember that diamonds may be thousands of years old. However, the coating on a pearl is relatively new, and thus relatively soft. If you were to throw your pearls into your handbag or your pocket, they may end up getting scratched. This means that you need to be gentle when cleaning your pearls.
However, therein lays a contradiction. A pearl may actually look better after it has been worn for a bit than after it has been cleaned. If a pearl is ‘too clean,’ it may lose some of its luster. If you find that your pearls look dull after a good cleaning, just put them on for a while and see if it does not make them look better.
Remember that pearls need special care
Pearls are an organic gemstone. This means that unlike precious metals and other gemstones, you have to treat them a little different. A pearl is far more delicate than most of the other jewelry people have. Pearls are far softer. This makes it easy for you to damage, crack, or scratch your pearls.
Remember that these cleaning suggestions are only applicable to real pearls. You would be able to use a dry cloth to shine up fake pearls just as you would with any hard, synthetic surface.
What to avoid when cleaning
Some people assume that an ultrasonic cleaner is going to help pearls look even better, just as it would with other jewelry. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Throwing your pearls in an ultrasonic cleaner could lead to serious damage to your pearls. You want to make sure that you avoid rubbing your pearls with an abrasive cloth and avoid abrasive cleaners as well. Both of those can start to remove the nacre coating over time. This would eventually leave you with nothing but a plain bead.
In addition, you want to make sure to avoid abrasive substances such as hair spray and perfume with your pearls. You even want to avoid perspiration and natural body oils. The reason behind it is that those substances can cloud the brilliance of the pearls or dull their luster.
Some tips about cosmetics
If you are going to apply cosmetics such as hair spray or perfume, it is a good idea to apply these before you put on your pearls. This is a great way to minimize contact between these substances and your pearls. If you have been wearing your pearls and are taking them off, use a soft damp cloth to remove any traces of body oils or cosmetic products from your pearls. In order to remove any accumulated build-up, you want to wash your pearls with a soft cloth and a mild soap.
Storing your pearls
You want to make sure that you do not store your pearls with your other jewelry. People tend to store their pearls in their jewelry box along with their other possessions. If you have gemstones or metal rub up against the sensitive pearl, it is easy to damage them by scratching. You want to find a special slot in your jewelry box in order to store your pearls, to ensure that your pearls are kept away from everything else. Alternatively, you could keep your pearls in non-abrasive material, a chamois bag for example.
If you have pearl necklaces, you want to make sure to have them restrung sporadically. If you fail to do so the nylon or silk cord may break, this could lead to your pearls sprawling all over the floor and becoming damaged that way. Knotting the strand between each pearl is a good way to ensure that most pearls are safe even if the strand does break. It also prevents the pearls from constantly rubbing up against one another, which may damage the pearls.
The extra care is worth it
It is true that pearls need some special attention, but the beautiful sight and the fact that pearls go with just about anything make the special care worth it. Especially if you find out how beautiful pearls can be, you will want to make every effort to keep them looking their finest.