How to Care For and Store Pearls

I hope you read my recent article explaining what the different types of pearls are. (If you didn’t, click here for the full scoop.) Well now that you’ve purchased your lovely new necklace (or ring, or bracelet…), how do you take care of and store it? Well have you ever hear the saying, “Pearls should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off?” Well make that your mantra, and you’ve won half the battle.

Here’s some helpful tips for keeping your pearls in tip-top shape.

When you wear your pearls,

Avoid contact with chemicals. This includes everything from make-up and perfume, to household cleaners. Even our own sweat is bad for them, so if you’re going to work out, then leave the pearls at home.

Avoid getting your pearls wet. Please do not bathe or swim with pearls on. If they do happen to get wet, then let them dry completely before storing them.

When you store your pearls,

Store each piece in an individual bag or pouch. Your items should come with a bag or box, which is usually great, so don’t throw it away. If not, you can certainly purchase a soft velvet, satin, or felt-lined bag. You don’t want to store your pearls together with other jewelry, as they can easily be scratched by metal or other gems. That would not be good!

jewelry pouches
Don’t store in plastic. The chemicals emitted from plastic can harm your pearls.

Don’t store where exposed to heat or direct sunlight. Remember, your pearls are delicate, and the heat and extreme light can cause harm to them.

Store your pearls flat. Hanging a pearl necklace can stretch and weaken the cord it’s strung on. Speaking of which, you should get your pearls re-strung every year or two. I recommend having them knotted between each pearl to protect them from rubbing against each other. It’s also a good idea for safety. Should your strand happen to break, you’ll only be looking for one pearl on the floor, instead of all of them.

Don’t store them long-term in a safe. Pearls are meant to be worn. Storing them in a safe or safety deposit box for long periods of time will cause the pearls to dehydrate and possibly cause surface cracks. Now you don’t want that to happen, do you?!

When cleaning your pearls,

cleaning pearls
Wipe with a soft cloth after each wear. This will get off any unwanted dirt or chemicals. This cloth can be dry or slightly moist with water.

Never use an ultrasonic cleaner. This will just destroy them.

When you have to deep clean them, use a mild soap and water mix with a soft cloth. Never use any harsh detergents, dishwashing soap, a toothbrush, cleanser, etc. When cleaned, allow them to dry flat on a towel. Only when they’re completely dry should you store them. Of course, your other option would be to have them professionally cleaned.

Also, know that pearls look their best when they are lustrous, and over-cleaning them takes the luster away. So wear your pearls with joy and confidence! If  you have any other pearl tips, please leave them in the comments below.