How to Clean & Care for Your Pearl Jewelry

November 09, 2016

How to Care for Your Freshwater Pearl Jewelry

Pearl jewelry pairs beautifully with everything from casual to formal attire. In the words of our elegant former U.S. First Lady Jackie Kennedy..."Pearls are always appropriate." Pearls are considered to be a symbol of purity, integrity, loyalty, innocence, beauty, love, humility, generosity, and new beginnings. Whew...that's quite a list!Pearl Bracelet with Cross

How should I store my pearl jewelry?

  • On the Mohs scale of hardness, pearls are soft, delicate gems in comparison to the Mohs ranking of other gems. Special care should be taken to store your pearls in a soft jewelry pouch away from heat and other jewelry items that may scratch their surface.
  • Strands of pearls should be stored on a flat surface, rather than hung, to help maintain the integrity of the strand.
  • Note that you should never store your pearls in any type of plastic container or bag as plastic can emit a chemical that will cause the surface of the pearl to deteriorate over time.
  • Pearls are organic gems and need oxygen and a bit of moisture to retain their beauty. Pearls may begin to crack if stored in a dry environment for an extended period of time. Similar to sterling silver, pearls will improve in luster and glow when worn regularly rather than being stored away for special occasions.

God Gave Me You Necklace Pewter and Pearl

How do I clean pearl jewelry?

  • You can easily clean pearls by gently running a dry or damp lint free jewelry cloth over them.
  • Pearl nacre, or coating, is formed from layers of calcium carbonate and is extremely sensitive to acids. Acid in perspiration can gradually damage pearls over time by eating away at the pearl nacre, causing the pearl to lose its luster.
  • Do not use chemical, abrasive, ultrasonic, or steam cleaners on pearls. Likewise, avoid contact with perfumes, hairspray, or lotions as the chemicals in these products can harm the surface of your pearls. Pearls are porous enough to absorb and be damaged by the chemicals these products contain.
  • Remember to put on your pearls after you've applied any makeup, perfume, hairspray, or lotion. It is best to consider your pearl jewelry as the last finishing touch when getting dressed for the day.
    Freshwater Pearl & CZ Cross Necklace

How are pearls formed?

  • Natural Pearls form when an irritant works its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating, called 'nacre', is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed.
  • Pearls are unique among gemstones as they are not formed in the depths of the Earth, but rather, pearls are the only gems that are organically created in water. Pearls require no special cutting or polishing to maximize their beauty.
  • Most of the pearls used in our jewelry designs are freshwater pearls that have been naturally formed and harvested from mussels.

How do I know if pearls are real or synthetic?

  • A simple trick to test if pearls are real is to gently rub them on your teeth. Natural and cultured pearls should feel ever-so-slightly gritty and rough. If they feel slick and smooth, they may be lovely, but they're not genuine.
  • Freshwater pearls are generally a less uniform in shape than cultured or synthetic pearls, but of course, that's part of their unique charm.

Freshwater Pearl and Cross Bracelet

Are oysters and mussels harmed by pearl production?

We're happy to report to you that pearl farming is a sustainable practice as the harvesting process does not harm the mussel. Pearl farmers are typically very careful to protect their mollusks. Oysters & mussels tend to produce higher quality pearls as they age, so pearl farmers take care not to harm the 'flock'. In fact, pearls are typically removed in extremely clean conditions using surgical-type equipment to ensure the safety of the mollusk. Oysters & mussels do not have nervous systems that operate like that of humans, so they do not feel the irritation of the grain of sand that is inserted to begin the pearl production process.

Freshwater Pearl First Communion Bracelet with Medal

If you'd like to add a special piece of pearl jewelry to your collection or perhaps present pearls as a gift, we invite you to view our collection of fine pewter and freshwater pearl jewelry handcrafted by jewelry artisans here at home in the U.S.A.

The Vintage Pearl Pewter Shine Pendant Necklace

"The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it." Matthew 13:45

Leave a comment

Back to the top