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Cleaning & Protecting Your Precious Pearls

Pearls are a wonderful feat of nature. Formed from the irritants that could so easily destroy them, instead they shine more brightly because of them. However, this very special quality also makes pearls soft and delicate, so they need more specialized care than most other gemstones. Although very durable if properly cared for, it is easy to scratch pearls and skin's natural oils can cause them to deteriorate with regular use. For this reason, careful routine cleaning is highly recommended. The good news is that it’s easy to clean them yourself at home so your pearls will stay as pure as the day they were created.

  1. Wipe pearl jewelry gently after use before storing with a very soft cloth. After wearing pearl jewelry, gently wipe with a jewelry rag or a soft cotton fabric to remove any remnants of chemicals such as hairspray or perfume that could damage the stones. You can use a few drops of water to dampen the cloth.

  2. For very dirty strands, only use mild soapy water. When cleaning your pearls, make sure to use a mild soap, like castile soap, without fragrance or color additives that can potentially stain the silk. Standard jewelry cleaning solutions contain harsh chemicals that can erode the pearl's surface, causing great damage. If you are unsure whether your cleaning fluid is safe for pearls, ask your local jeweler. Likewise, use a soft cloth rather than an abrasive tool like a toothbrush. Check that all areas of the pearl have been cleaned. Wipe away soapy residue with a clean dampened cloth.

  3. Lay flat to dry on a towel. Check any holes and crevices to ensure your pearls are completely dry. It’s important that pearl jewelry is never hung up to dry as this could cause the fittings to warp or snap.

  4. Clean any additional gemstones or metals separately, in a way that is best suited for them. Be careful when using cleaning fluid designed for other materials so that it does not come into contact with your pearls. If you have a sterling silver clasp, you can use a bit of toothpaste. Be careful not to get any cleaning solution used to come into contact with the pearls by using a Q Tip or cotton bud. Thoroughly clean away any solution used.

  5. Store in a soft pouch like silk, satin or velvet away from an excessively dry environment. Once your jewelry is dry and clean, keep it protected from abrasive materials that could scratch the surface of your pearls. Never use plastic pouches for storage to avoid drying out and potentially cracking your pearls.


  • Common factors for pearl deterioration are perfume, cream, hairspray and make-up. Allow these to dry thoroughly before putting on your pearls.

  • The silk thread commonly used to string pearls can loosen or stretch, causing sudden breakage. It is recommended you have the pearls restrung every five years, even if they are not worn often.

  • Avoid ultrasonic cleaners, ammonia cleaners, vinegars or any abrasives to clean your pearls.

  • Protect your pearls from chlorine bleach, ink, nail polish removers, perfume, hairspray.

  • Remove your pearls before showering, strenuous work or exercise.

If you follow these simple steps, your pearls will shine on for years to come, just like you!

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