Pearls are always fragile. That’s why you can’t just clean your pearl jewelry recklessly. Remember, for one, that not all cleaning methods are going to work for all types of gems. An example would be steam-cleaning or ultrasonic jewelry cleaning which are both bad for pearls. Avoid using toothbrushes or anything abrasive, and don’t use any kind of household chemical or cleanser, including alcohol, ammonia and even baking soda.
Although most guidelines are effective for all kinds of pearls, there are tips for particular types of pearl jewelry.
Since hands are regularly exposed to chemicals and organic substances, it’s usually not a good idea to wear your pearl ring daily. Or at least, keep it from coming in contact with these agents if you want your pearls to last very long.
The rule of thumb is to get your pearl necklace restrung at least once every year or two, depending on how frequently you wear it. This helps make the pearls look clean and new and prevents them from breaking accidentally. Certainly, you should take your pearls to a professional jeweler for this. Silk thread must be used for restringing, each pearl knotted separately. Another useful tip – don’t take a bath or swim wearing your pearl necklace because the water will weaken the silk, eventually causing it to stretch or break.
One of the most basic care tips for pearl earrings is to store them very carefully to avoid losing them. If there are metal parts that are detachable, make sure they are wrapped separately so the pearl don’t get scratched. Also, your skin and hair oils can accumulate on those earrings, so wipe them off after each use. Hairspray is also harsh to these gems, so don’t do your hair unless you’ve removed your earrings (you can always put them back on later). Same thing for makeup.
Whether you have a vintage or modern pearl pin and brooch, they will usually come with very intricate mixed settings that catch and build up dirt. If anything, that makes them a lot harder to clean, especially because the metal parts need tarnish removers or acidic cleaners that will probably destroy the pearls. Best thing to do is to take the jewelry to a pro and leave the cleaning to them.
Like pearl rings, your pearl bracelets must be removed before you wash your hands or handle water, cleansers or anything that isn’t good for the gems. Finally, to avoid damaging the surface, avoid any intense physical activity that requires the use of your hands. Of if you actually must, just take off the jewelry.
Obviously, there’s nothing unique or special about caring for your pearl jewelry. Just a little common sense and discipline and you can enjoy your pearls, hopefully for a lifetime.
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