“Caring for Pearls” Tip Sheet
Pearl jewelry has never been more popular. From strands of sophisticated creamy white South Seas to rings containing colorful Chinese freshwaters, pearl jewelry needs special attention to keep it looking its absolute best.
“Because of their special qualities, pearls must be handled with great care,” says Richard Swetz, Chairman of the Independent Jewelers Organization. “These tips, written with input from our 850-plus Master IJO Retail Jeweler members, will help every pearl lover give their jewelry the very best of care.”
Here are some simple pearl care tips that, if followed, will allow you to enjoy your pearl jewelry for years to come:
• Pearls should always be strung on silk with special knots between each pearl to hold them gently apart from one another. Over time, silk stretches and you’ll notice that your pearls may have more space between them than they once did.
• Bring pearl strands to your local jeweler at least once a year to be restrung: Most jewelers charge a minimal fee for a single 18” long strand, so the investment is well worth the effort. A stretched-out strand is more vulnerable to breaking. Be extremely careful about sticking to the one-year rule!
• Handle your pearls with care: Cultured pearls feature a coating of nacre on the outside of a bead that is used to enucleate the mollusk in which it grows. The nacre, millimeters thick, coats only the outside. Less expensive pearls usually have thinner nacre coating than better quality ones. No matter what the price, however, you should protect your pearls by storing them separately from other jewelry, preferably in a soft cloth case. Don’t let your pearl stands catch on a metal pin and be careful not to drop them. A pearl’s natural, nacre coating can scratch or break.
• Keep pearls clean: Especially where strands are concerned, your pearls will stay cleaner longer if you put them on with clean hands. Don’t handle pearls after applying foundation or lotions and limit their contact with perfume. Don’t apply body lotion while wearing a pearl ring.
• Wipe your pearls with a soft, lint-free cloth as soon as you take them off. The cloth can be dry or dampened, although if the latter, make certain the pearls are dry before putting them away.
• Never put your pearls in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner: Many of the detergents sold specifically for these units contain harsh detergents or ammonia. Your pearls need the gentlest treatment so hand-wiping is the preferable method for cleaning. If your strand’s silk cord becomes soiled, consider having your pearls restrung.
The Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO), established in 1972, is the largest jewelry buying group in the world, with over 1,150 manufacturers, designers, and jewelry retailers who also benefit from education, training and peer support. The purple and white logo displayed at Master IJO Jewelers assures consumers they will receive quality jewelry from a full service and knowledgeable expert in their community whom they can trust and that meets IJO’s strict standards. To find a Master IJO Jeweler in your area, visit www.masterjeweler.com or call (866) 400-1080. Please contact Barbara Moss at (201) 843-5600 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an interview or for high resolution images.
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