Your pearls are a valuable investment. Though their compact crystalline structure makes them durable, their exterior is delicate and soft. Proper care is necessary in order to maintain their beauty and luster for future generations to come.
Because pearls can be easily scratched or damaged, keep your pearls separated from other items or jewelry. They are best kept in a soft cloth, a soft pouch, or a soft, lined jewelry box. Do not keep your pearls in an airtight or excessively dry environment. They need moisture in order to prevent cracking. If they need to be kept in a safety deposit box or a vault, keep a damp (not wet) cloth nearby. Re-dampen as needed, but be careful not to have too much moisture. This can cause mildew.
Avoiding Harmful Products
Personal care products such as cosmetics, perfume and hair spray, can dull the pearl’s luster and should be applied before putting your pearls on. Other harmful products, such as vinegar, ammonia, chlorine bleach, and even inks will also damage the pearl surface. Make sure to remove your pearls before any strenuous exercise or work. Perspiration is another harmful substance that contains natural acids that can eat away at your pearl’s surface. These are all harmful substances that can spot or disintegrate the pearl’s beautiful nacre.
After each use, gently wipe your pearls with a warm, damp cloth before putting them away. Make sure not to use anything abrasive to wipe off the pearl surface. Periodically, gently wash your pearls in warm, soapy water using a mild soap (not a detergent) to remove any harmful buildup. After washing, gently rinse your pearls in clean water and then, wrap them in a thin, damp (not wet) cotton towel. Once the towel is dry, your pearls will be dry, too. Make sure not to hang your pearls to dry, since this can stretch the silk thread. If your pearls are particularly dirty, you can also wipe them with acetone polish remover. Unlike ammonia and vinegar, acetone will not damage your pearls.
If your pearls are worn frequently, you should have them restrung annually. They should be restrung with silk thread and knotted in between each pearl to prevent them from rubbing against each other and possibly scattering, if the thread should break. The exception is with smaller pearls, since the knots could be aesthetically displeasing.