Pearls have been valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for centuries, often seen as the symbol of unblemished perfection and innocence, of wisdom acquired through experience. Some view the pearl as a metaphor for purity, generosity, integrity, and loyalty of both the giver and the wearer. Regardless of meaning, pearls are as popular today as they have been throughout history. Here are a few easy to remember DO’S and DON’TS to ensure your pearls stay as brilliant and lustrous as the day they came into your life.
DO REMEMBER THE GOLDEN RULE – The golden rule of pearl care is, “Last thing to put on and the first thing to take off.” Putting your pearls on last ensures that perfume has a chance to dry and other makeups or potentially damaging materials don’t come in contact with the surface of your pearls. By taking your pearls off first it ensures that your pearls don’t get scratched or caught on your other jewelry.
DO WEAR THEM OFTEN – Or, at least wear them semi-often. Pearls were originally created in water and benefit from absorbing the oils that your skin naturally produces throughout the day. So put on your pearls, show them off and show them you care.
DO BE GENTLE TO THEM WHEN THEY’RE NOT WITH YOU – To keep your pearls hydrated, be sure to wrap them in a soft cloth, or place them in a silk or chamois leather pouch. Since pearls are organic and contain trace amounts of water, a dry, airless atmosphere (like a sealed plastic bag) will dry them out, causing their surface to crack and turning them yellow.
DON’T DROWN THEM – Although pearls are “born from water,” don’t submerge them in water – no showers, no dishes, no swimming. The chlorine in water can eat away at the epoxy securing the pearls to their mountings, and soaking the silk your pearls are strung on will cause it to stretch out and break easily.
DON’T SUFFOCATE THEM – Again, don’t store your pearls in an airtight package such as a plastic bag. Pearls need moisture, and if the environment is too dry, they may crack. If you need to place your pearls in a safety deposit box, consider leaving a damp cloth nearby, and try to get them out of there as quickly as you can.
DON’T LET THEM BE BULLIED – The surface of pearls is very delicate. They need to be protected from being bullied or scratched by hard jewelry items such as diamonds, or rings and bracelets. Never, ever test their genuineness by biting them with your teeth. These simple precautions will protect your pearls from damage.
Whether a newly acquired piece or a family heirloom, once your pearls enter your life, be sure to treat them with the care and attention they deserve. They’ll forever appreciate it, rewarding you with their warm glow for decades to come.