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How to Take Care of Your Pearls

Updated on December 13, 2017
Cyndi10 profile image

Cynthia - a freelance writer believing in the power of words; writing about business, travel, gardening, family, pets, health & wellness.


Take Care of Your Pearls and Their Beauty Will Last

Pearls are organic gems of many colors which are the result of irritations inside the shells of mollusks, and like all things organic, will breakdown over time. Pearls are extremely easy to care for, with very few rules for extending their beauty and making them last a lifetime. With proper care, you may even be able to hand them down over the generations.

Pearls are a timeless adornment which have been worn for thousands of years by men and women. At one time, in Europe, only the rich could wear pearls. Today, anyone, young or old, can wear pearls for nearly any occasion. Take a look around. You will see pearls with the ubiquitous little black dress, but they look just as fabulous with a pair of vintage styled jeans.

Pearls can be purchased as naturally grown, cultured or faux. They are found mollusks in the sea or in riverbeds. For some lucky diners, they have even turned up on dinner plates on occasion.

One way to tell if a pearl is a product of nature is to gently rub them across your teeth. They should feel gritty because of the many layers of nacre that is deposited over time. Not so with glass. The test is not an infallible, but it is usually reliable. I've tried the comparison test with my own pearls and it and it has worked for me.

It should be noted that the easiest part of taking care of pearls is to wear them often. When not worn the loose their luster. Wearing them keeps them warmed and bright.

Unlike diamonds, emeralds other hard gems that come from the earth, pearls are a soft gem. Because the surface of a pearl is made of layers of organic material called nacre and nacre contains the oils that provide the luster to the pearl, careful storage is required. Long term storage in humidity controlled environments like a safe deposit box, will only dry the oils and the pearls will lose their luster. Extremely hot environments are also damaging to your pearls.

They should never be stored with other gems because the hardness of other gems and metals will scratch and scar them. Instead, store them separately, preferably laying flat in the jewelry box.

When traveling with your pearls, store them alone in a soft jewelry pouch .

If you are wearing your pearls often, as you should, know that they are adversely affected by perspiration, consequently it is best not to wear your natural pearls during exercise and definitely save your very best pearls for the very special occasion.

Although television shows of the fifties with June Cleaver and other television moms, would have you think otherwise, it is not wise to wear your pearls while cleaning. They should not come in contact with acidic liquids such as vinegar or lemon juice. A few other things to avoid include ultrasonic cleaners, steam cleaning, dish or washer detergents, bleaches, powder cleaners, baking soda and ammonia based cleaners. In other words, don’t use any type of abrasives on your pearls, and it’s even a good idea to refrain from wearing them with rough cloths, like wool. The uneven surface of the pearl could be easily chipped and damaged.

When getting dressed, make pearls the last thing you put on. You don't want them to come in contact with perfume or hairspray. Both will damage the outer layers and contribute to rapid the loss of luster.


If your pearls must be cleaned because they are exceptionally dirty (it is usually the string that is dirty), have them professionally cleaned. And never, whether they are real, cultured or faux, soak your pearls. The objective is to avoid getting the string wet. That means wearing your pearls to the pool or the beach is unwise because you run the risk of the string getting wet. If they should happen to get wet take them off immediately. Never wear your pearls wet or hang them to dry. Letting them hang will stretch the string and loosen the strands.

Have your pearls restrung at least once per year if you wear them often. When dressing, it’s a good idea to put your pearls on last, since contact with makeup and hairspray can strip the pearl’s luster.

Versatile pearls can adorn dresses and masks.
Versatile pearls can adorn dresses and masks. | Source

Last, if you want to maintain that beautiful luster of your gem, a drop of olive oil or mineral oil on a clean, soft cloth rubbed gently on the pearl's surface can help maintain its luster. There are also special cleaners, but it is best to consult a professional when considering cleaning them with these special cleaners.

A gem for all ages and for both genders, "pearls have power," writes Ki Hackney and Diana Edkins in their book People and Pearls: The Magic Endures. Pearls evoke drama, pearls evoke innocence and at the same time, pearls are sexy. In short, pearls make a statement. Pearls have no affectations: pearls come as they are, a special delivery from nature needing no polishing, no cutting, and no special circumstances for wearing. They are some of the most beautiful, yet easiest gems to take care of. With just a few simple guidelines to follow, when you take special care of your pearls, you will be rewarded with gems of lasting beauty.

Caring for Your Pearls Is Essential

© 2016 Cynthia B Turner


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    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 17 months ago from Georgia

      I'm glad you found this useful. What I always forget is to have them restrung periodically. I'm probably not alone in finding out the hard way that the string, whether silk or some other material, actually loses tension and can fall apart. Thanks for reading. Take care.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 17 months ago from USA

      This was very helpful. Pearls are some of my favorite jewelry. I didn't know about storing them separately.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 20 months ago from Georgia

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a positive comment. You do know how, as writers, it's so helpful to get feedback and when it's positive - all the better. Take care.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 20 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Pearls are special and so beautiful. You shared an interesting hub on this great jewel.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 20 months ago from Georgia

      Thank you Genna. I hope that the article will help you keep your pearls beautiful for a very long time. Take care. Cyndi

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 20 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I love pearls for the very same reasons you wrote: "Pearls have no affectations: pearls come as they are, a special delivery from nature needing no polishing and no cutting and no special circumstances for wearing. " What a lovely hub. :-) Thank you for these tips.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 20 months ago from Georgia

      Hey Frank, Thanks for stopping in. So, just keep the info handy. Maybe the pearls could be a prop in one of your fab plots. :-) Take care. Cyndi

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 20 months ago from Shelton

      A very good share Cyndi... I don't have any pearls.. but boy if I did.. this would have helped..:) good seeing you publishing here again Frank