Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cleaning Tips for Pearl Jewelry

I love pearls. No other piece of jewelry seems quite as romantic to me as that which has pearls as part of the design. My favorites of course, are the genuine thing followed by cultured pearls. But vintage and contemporary jewelry designers have used glass pearls and imitation or "faux" pearls in their designs as well.

Storing and cleaning pearls, of any type, can be a challenge. Cultured and genuine pearls have a nacre which the clam coats either the man made addition to it, or a parasite which has invaded the clam in nature. "Faux pearls" have a layer on the outside of a synthetic or glass bead which is meant to simulate the real thing, but is also somewhat fragile too.

Cultured pearls with thick coatings are more durable than those with a thin coating, or faux pearls, but they are still more fragile than most other gemstones. This means that you must be very careful when you store, wear and clean them to keep them in the best condition possible.

Be sure to put your pearls on after you have applied your perfume and makeup. Pearls attract makeup residue easily, so putting them on after you have done your make up lessens this attraction somewhat. The same goes for hand creams and pearl rings. Anything that might stick to the pearls will make it difficult to clean them later. If in doubt, follow the "last on, first off" rule with pearls of any type.

When you are done with the pearls for the day, just wipe them with a soft cloth that is lint free. This will remove any slight make up residue. The cloth can be dry or lightly damp, but if it is moist, be sure to air dry the pearls before storing them.

To clean dirty cultured pearls, you will need a very mild soap, like Ivory Flakes, and warm water. Never used harsh detergents, abrasive solutions, or cleaners that contain ammonia and never use an ultrasonic cleaner. You don't want to do anything which will remove the nacre.

Faux pearls will especially need extra care, since they do not have a natural nacre, but a synthetic one which is applied over glass or plastic beads and this can easily pit or come away. The key here is a very short immersion in the cleaner, so that the coating doesn't have a chance to come away from the bead. I have had good results with a product called Jewelry Joose. It is mild, can be sprayed directly on the dirty pearl or pearls, so you can "spot clean" with it, instead of immersing the whole strand. The cleaner is very easily rinsed off too, which is another benefit. Just lay them on a clean towel to dry. Be careful not to rub.

You should store all pearl jewelry separately from other jewelry so that it does not rub against the delictate pearl finish. You may also find that the cord with which pearls have been strung my stretch over time and so will need restringing. It pays to do this in the case of cultured or genuine pearls, but not for faux pearls, since these are relatively inexpensive to buy.

Enjoy your pearls, wear them often and use care in storing and cleaning and you will have them for years to come. Dont' have pearl jewelry yet? Check the links at the top right of my blog. I have a wide range of pearl jewelry in all three of my stores. I also have more information about the topic of vintage pearl jewelry in my Vintage Jewelry Lane website resource library.

1 comment:

  1. Pearls are a way to get more entrancement in your dressing and in jewelry as well. It also requires care as well. Thank you for all these tips that you have been have done a great work .......... its really working and important for us. so please keep sharing ....