Real Pearls are often referred to as “timeless”. However, it is important to take care of your precious pearls to make them long-lasting and prevent them from losing their beauty.
Natural pearls are the rarest of them all and consequently the most precious. The pearls we find today are usually cultured pearls, that is, pearls created by either a mussel or oyster farmer under specific controlled conditions. There are two types of cultured pearls: –
1. Saltwater pearls
2. Freshwater pearls
While the freshwater and saltwater pearls may look similar they come from different sources. Saltwater pearls are grown within pearl oysters that reside in the ocean and freshwater pearls are formed by distinct species of freshwater mussels which typically reside in ponds, lakes or rivers. Culturing freshwater pearls provides farmers with an opportunity to alter its shape and size as well, thereby creating more unique pearls.
How Do Pearls Get Damaged?
Pearls require special care because they are organic gems composed of calcium carbonate. The outer surface of a pearl is very soft and can be damaged by scratches. If you do not care for cultured pearls, you run the risk of yellowing and discoloration of pearls. Pearls should be bright white and not dull.
Here are a few ways how pearls can get damaged:
- Exposure to any kind of chemicals including cosmetics, perfumes and hair products can deteriorate the shine of your pearls.
- Coming into contact with chlorine present in swimming pools or household cleaners and even tap water can make your pearls lose their luster.
- Another unexpected way that pearls get damaged is by being exposed to beverages such as lemonade, soda and so on. Your natural body oils which are acidic can also deface your pearls.
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How to Care for Pearls?
One of the simplest rules you can follow is ‘pearls should be the last thing on and the first thing off‘.
Here are some important tips on how to care for cultured pearls:
- If you are planning to wear your pearl necklace or pearl accessories, then make sure you wait for 15-20 mins after using cosmetics or hair products before you wear them.
- Do not wear any perfume when you wish to wear your pearl necklaces, the oils and chemicals present in your perfume will tamper your pearls.
- After wearing them make sure you clean your pearl jewellery with a damp cloth. The cloth should be soft and just a little wet. This will help you remove any oil or sweat from your pearls.
- Do not wear your pearl rings or bracelets on a regular basis or when you are going to be working with your hands. As pearls fixed on rings and bracelets can get scratched easily by other surfaces.
How to Care for Freshwater Pearls?
Freshwater pearls are very different from saltwater pearls, as they have a wide range of colors. They can occur in the mesmerizing tones of blue, green or pink. Though salt water pearls are available easily in the market, people go for freshwater pearls to get different kinds of colours.
In addition to the above tips, here are a few more on caring for freshwater pearls:
- Freshwater pearls are as delicate as your fingernails and are more susceptible to scratching. It is important to keep them away from harsh surfaces and chemicals at all times.
- Use a dry soft cloth for cleaning freshwater pearls. If a few pearls appear dirtier you can slightly damp your cloth to clean them.
- Do not expose your fresh water pearls to any kind of moisture.
- Remove your pearl jewellery before you apply any kind of lotion or sunblock.
How to Store Pearls?
Now that you have learned how to take care of cultured pearls and how to care for freshwater pearls, it is important to know how to maintain and store pearls. Here are a few ways to store your pearls safely:
- Avoid storing your pearls with other kinds of jewellery or gemstones. The surface of your pearls can get scrubbed off by other hard jewellery pieces.
- Do not store your pearls damp, too much moisture can lead to yellowing of your pearls. It is important to let your pearls dry on a soft cloth before you store it.
- Make sure you store your pearls in a velvet lined box, a silk pouch or a pearl folder, which you can get from your jeweller.
- Do not store your pearls in plastic bags, the chemicals present in plastic can deteriorate plastic.
- Do not store your pearls in a safety deposit box for long periods of time as your pearls can develop fractures due to a complete lack of moisture.
- Store your pearls flat and not in a hanging fashion. Hanging can cause the thread to stretch out prematurely and your necklace or bracelet can break.
- In addition to the above tips, visit your jeweler once in two years so the jeweler can inspect your pearls and restring your pearls with silk or nylon threads.
We hope this guide has helped you understand how to care for your pearls.
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