Pearls are one of nature’s softest gems, which demands that they receive gentler care than their metal and diamond cousins. In fact, treating them as we do metal and diamonds would likely damage them beyond repair. We at National Pawn & Jewelry would hate to see that happen, so here are few tips to keep your pearls in good condition.
Chemicals and household items—chlorine, vinegar, ink, hairspray, makeup, perfume, lemon juice—that might just dirty gemstones are the natural enemy of pearls. Even sweat can cause pearls to deteriorate and discolor over time. One good rule of thumb while dressing: pearls go on last, and come off first.
After you take off pearl jewelry, wipe the pearls with a damp or dry soft cloth (maybe with a drop of olive oil), and wrap them in tissue or chamois to protect them from scratches, especially from other hard metal jewelry. Don’t store them anywhere that’s subject to excessively hot or dry air, which can turn them brown or make them crack.
Periodically, your pearls will need to be cleaned, but never use ammonia, steam, detergent, bleach, baking soda, or even dishwashing liquid. Only use a commercial product safe for pearls, or water with a mild, non-detergent soap. Wipe them gently afterward, and give special care to drill holes where dirt collects. String pearls should always be laid flat to dry (and, if worn frequently, they should be restrung annually).
Wearing pearls regularly helps maintain their luster because they react well to body temperature. Much of the pearl jewelry we get at our pawn shop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is estate jewelry that has lasted for years because of proper care. Now yours can, too.