Pearls are soft and delicate, but with special attention and care, your
pearls will maintain their luster for centuries. When buying pearls, choose
those with thick nacre to help them withstand wear over time. In a strand, make
sure there is a knot between each pearl to prevent rubbing and to ensure that
only one pearl will drop if the string breaks. Have your jeweler re-string your
pearls every couple of years, especially if you wear them often. The silk thread
used to tie them together breaks down over time.
To avoid scratches, nicks or chipping in the soft nacre, keep pearls separate
from other precious metals or gemstones by storing them in a cloth pouch or
Keep pearls away from household chemicals such as hair spray, cosmetics,
perfume, alcohol, chlorinated water or other harsh chemicals, which can cause
spots and blotches and dull their luster over time. To avoid these effects,
pearls should be the last item put on when dressing and the first item removed
after returning home. Because the body's natural oils keep them lustrous, one of
the best ways to care for pearls is to wear them often.
Pearls contain an organic material called conchiolin. In time, this material
will dry out, and high temperatures will destroy it. Perspiration sometimes
contains acid that may dissolve the aragonite crystals making up the layers of
nacre. Therefore, wash and dry your pearl jewelry gently after you wear it.
Wash cultured pearls in very mild, soapy water and nothing else. Wipe them
with a soft cloth before storing them.