How to Care for Pearls: 10 Tips for Maintaining Your Pearl Jewelry
Written by Danielle Healy
September 15, 2020
Pearls are a timeless style, but they won't last forever without proper maintenance. Natural pearls contain a soft organic material called nacre, which means they can't be cleaned and cared for the same way other types of jewelry can. Learn how to care for pearls with our ten tips for maintaining your pearl jewelry:
Easiest advice ever. Pearls require a moist environment; otherwise, they risk drying out and becoming brittle. Wearing your jewelry frequently prevents this as the pearls will absorb moisture from the air and the wearer's skin.
Wait after applying personal care products
Pearls are absorbent, both of the good and bad stuff, meaning you should wait at least 30 minutes after applying personal care products before putting your pearl jewelry on or risk an unsightly stain. This goes for makeup, sunscreen, moisturizer, and even hairspray!
Wipe them down regularly
Even if you've taken all of the proper precautions before putting your pearl jewelry on, natural body oils, sweat, and other environmental pollutants can still cause staining. The best way to combat unsightly build-up is to gently wipe down your pearls with a soft cloth after every wear (or whenever you can remember!).
As cute as it looks, avoid layering your pearls with other metal necklaces or bracelets that might rub and bang against your pearls throughout the day and cause scratches.
There are a couple of important rules when it comes to storing pearl jewelry. Though it's generally acceptable to hang most necklaces or bracelets from a hook organizer, it's best to lay your pearls flat to avoid the strands from stretching out. Also, be wary of storing your pearls too close to other, harder types of jewelry. In the same way you want to avoid layering metal and pearl jewelry because of scratching, you don't want to store them together either.
Clean with a damp cloth when necessary
Though wiping down your pearl jewelry is usually enough to avoid staining, accidents do happen. If you have a spot on your pearls, gently wipe them down with a soft damp cloth (avoid a toothbrush, which is suitable for other metal jewelry types). Be mindful afterward and only wear your jewelry when it has completely dried, or risk the strands becoming stretched or misshapen.
Never store pearls in plastic
Sometimes when you're traveling or in a pinch, it can be tempting to toss a couple of necklaces in a plastic bag until you can find a better alternative. Never do this with pearls! Plastic can emit a chemical that will cause the surface of the pearl to deteriorate. Additionally, pearls contain a trace amount of moisture and can dry out if stored in an airtight space.
Avoid wearing in strenuous situations
By strenuous situations, what we really mean is any time you might sweat a lot. It's not the moisture or the salt that pearls don't like (they're actually quite used to that!), but the acidic pH level that can be corrosive to pearls.
Keep away from intense heat
In the same way that pearls need air to prevent them from drying out, they should also be kept away from direct heat. It's okay to wear your pearl jewelry on a warm day, but avoid placing it on top of an especially hot TV or fireplace mantel.
One of the best things you can do to ensure your jewelry's longevity is to take it to a jeweler for a yearly inspection (or spa service as we like to call it). This way, a professional can regularly check on your pearl strands' integrity and provide a gentle but thorough cleaning.
Though it's great to know how to care for pearls, sometimes life happens, and they get damaged anyway. Don't worry! If your precious pearls snap (a not-so-uncommon occurrence), know that the cost to restring pearls can start as little as $10.00.
Have a snapped string of pearls you're dying to wear again? Get started by adding our pearl restringing service to your order or Drop us a comment below, and we'll help you get squared away.