Preserving the Luster: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Your Pearls

Pearls are timeless, evoking images of classic elegance and sophisticated glamour. However, these natural gems require a bit of special attention to maintain their lustrous sheen and impeccable appearance. Whether you've recently acquired your first pearl necklace or you're caring for a treasured family heirloom, understanding the proper ways to care for pearls is essential. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to keep your pearls looking their best for years to come.

Everyday Pearl Maintenance Guidelines

1.Dress to Impress, Pearls Last:

Always apply cosmetics, lotions, hairspray, and perfume before putting on your pearls. These substances can dull the pearls' finish over time, so it's best to add them to your ensemble last.

2.Clean After Wearing:

After each wear, gently wipe your pearls with a soft, slightly damp cloth. This will remove any residues that might have settled on their surface during the day, preserving their natural beauty.

3.Regular Wear is Key:

Pearls thrive on moisture, so wear them regularly. The natural oils from your skin will help maintain their moisture, essential for keeping their shine and avoiding brittleness.

4.Safe Storage:

Store your pearls separately from other jewelry in a soft cloth pouch or a velvet-lined box. Hard metals can scratch their surface, and a soft environment will keep them safe from any potential harm.

Ongoing Pearl Care Strategies

1.Restring Periodically:

It’s wise to restring pearl necklaces and bracelets annually if worn frequently, or every two to three years if worn less often. This keeps the silk or nylon thread tight and clean, preventing premature wear.

2.Moisturize Naturally:

Occasionally, let your pearls sit in a humid environment, like a bathroom during a shower (though not in direct contact with water), to absorb essential moisture. Extreme temperatures and dry conditions can dehydrate pearls, causing them to crack.


If you have multiple pieces of pearl jewelry, rotate their usage. This not only helps reduce wear and tear on any single piece but also exposes all pearls equally to the beneficial oils from your skin.

4.Deep Cleaning:

Every few years, give your pearls a thorough clean. Use a soft cloth dampened with water and a drop of mild, perfume-free soap, such as Ivory or Castile soap. Gently wipe each pearl, then rinse with a clean, damp cloth, and lay flat to dry.

Practices to Eschew

1.Avoid Water Activities:

Never wear pearls while swimming or showering. Chlorinated or salty water can erode the nacre and weaken settings.

2.Keep Chemicals Away:

Harsh household chemicals can damage pearls. Always remove your pearl jewelry before cleaning or doing dishes.

3.Direct Contact with Sprays:

Apply hairspray and perfumes before putting on your pearls to avoid coating them with chemicals that can discolor and degrade the nacre.

4.No Hanging Storage:

Storing your pearls by hanging can stretch the threads over time. Lay them flat in a drawer or a jewelry box instead.

5.Airtight is Not Right:

Never store pearls in airtight containers, as they need moisture to prevent drying and cracking.

6.Avoid Ultrasonic Cleaners:

Never use ultrasonic cleaners on pearls. These devices can shake loose settings and are too harsh for the delicate surface of pearls.

Understanding Pearl Aging

Over time, pearls may naturally age and their color could deepen to a cream hue. This aging process is natural and often considered part of the pearl's character. By following proper care instructions, you can slow this process and enjoy your beautiful pearls, potentially for your lifetime and beyond.

By incorporating these care practices into your routine, you can ensure that your pearls remain a stunning and cherished part of your jewelry collection. Remember, pearls are not just jewels; they are treasures that, when cared for properly, can last across generations.