Jewelry 101 | How to Care for Pearls

Today's Nan Lee Jewelry tip is how to care for pearls. Pearls are an exceptionally sensitive gemstone, so you must take extra precautions in caring for them. Avoid exposing your pearls to any chemical or surface that could scratch the surface or deteriorate the calcium carbonate.

  • Put your pearls on last and take them off first. Pearls are more vulnerable to the chemicals found in cosmetics, hair spray, and perfume. Dress, style your hair, apply your make-up, and spray on your perfume before you put on any pearl jewelry.
  • Perspiration: Gently wipe your pearls with a soft cloth after you remove them for the day. A pearl's luster can be damaged by even the smallest amount of perspiration. 
  • Cleaning: Gently apply a baby shampoo or another mild soap using a soft manicure brush. Harsh cleaners can destroy the pearl, and a harder brush can also cause scratches. Only use mineral water or distilled water to rinse your pearls. Standard tap water contains chlorine and other chemicals that can damage the surface of your pearls.
  • Storage: Store your pearls in a manner that prevents them from getting scratched. Keep them separate from other pieces of jewelry, and avoid excessively dry conditions. Consider storing your pearls in a silk bag, velvet-lined box, or satin-lined pearl folder. Don't store them in plastic bags. Some plastics can emit a chemical that, over time, will cause your pearls to deteriorate.