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How to Clean Pearls Without Ruining Them

Posted by Olivia Hart on Oct 5, 2016 10:14:38 AM

It doesn't get much more classic than pearls. These popular keepsakes manage to be dainty and sweet, yet bold at the same time. (Explains why they're a common choice for weddings!)

Cultured pearls are delicate and require proper care. They can't be maintained the same way as other jewelry.

How to Clean Pearls

1. After every wear, wipe your pearls with a soft cloth. This will help prevent any buildup of oils or other substances that may have come in contact with your jewelry throughout the day.

2. Clean with a damp cloth only as needed. If your pearls are visibly stained, you can mix a solution of lukewarm water and mild dish soap, dip a soft cleaning cloth in it and wipe the pearls. Do NOT submerge a pearl necklace in water, as it will weaken the silk thread.

3. Let them dry all the way before storing. Again, this helps preserve the elasticity of the silk strand.

4. Take them to your jeweler once a year. While you want to wear your pearls often to keep them hydrated, all that body oil doesn't do the silk thread any favors. Make sure to have your jeweler check the integrity of your pearl bracelets and necklaces once a year. They can also give them a thorough, safe cleaning.

Never clean pearls with a steam or ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. Both of these methods are likely to damage the outer layer of the pearl.

Pro Tip: "Cultured pearls should be strung with a knot between each bead to prevent loss if the strand breaks." - Jewelers of America

 

Pearl Maintenance Tips

Pearls are commonly passed down to become a treasured family heirloom. Make sure yours last long enough to achieve heirloom status by following these maintenance tips:

1. Last on, first off. Pearls should be the final touch to your outfit. Avoid applying makeup, hairspray, lotion or perfume once your pearls are on.

2. Store them flat. While it's perfectly acceptable for most necklaces to be hung on a cute jewelry rack, your pearl strands should not be. Store pearl necklaces flat to prevent them from stretching.

3. Dedicate a space just for your pearls. Soft pearls are prone to scratches, so store them separately in fabric-lined compartments.

4. Wear your pearls often. Pearls do best in a moist environment, so wearing them frequently keeps them from drying out. Easiest. Advice. Ever. 

Now go put on those pearls!

 

How to Clean & Care for Your Diamond Engagement Ring

 

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