Friday, April 24, 2015

Pearl - Beautiful Jewelry, Special Care

Various Raw Pearls

Pearl jewelry has a unique beauty due to the way in which the pearl is created. To help keep its brilliance, you can do a few things to store them properly and ensure their value across lifetimes.

First, a dedicated jewelry box or specific drawer or compartment is a great way to safely store your pearls, especially if you keep them in a cloth pouch.  The most important point is to not them come in contact with other pieces of jewelry (including each other!).

Because pearls are an organic stone, they need humidity to keep them from getting too dry and becoming brittle and susceptible to cracking or fractures. This doesn’t mean you need to keep them in a humidor, but if you do store them in a closed box, be sure you wear them or take them out frequently to “air out” in the outside moisture, especially if you live in a very dry climate.

Avoid keeping your pearls by a heat source, in plastic, or among hard jewelry pieces, as they can be easily scratched. And never let them sit in the sunlight for long periods of time or be exposed to other sources of high temperatures. And if you’re inclined do to the laundry or wash dishes, while wearing your pearls, remove them to avoid contact with common household detergents.

In addition to household detergents, don’t let you pearls come in direct contact with your perfume and hairspray:  the alcohol and acids can be damaging to the translucence.  Similarly, perspiration can dull a pearl’s luster. Do not use normal jewelry cloths on your pearls, as they contain chemicals that damage the pearl.
Use cleaning products & cloths that are made specifically for pearls. Be sure to wipe your pearl’s with a dampened cloth after cleaning them, and lay them on a soft cloth to dry, never hang them if on a necklace:  if the string is wet, the weight of the pearl’s will stretch the string (usually made of silk). Likewise, do not swim or bathe in a pearl necklace.  (Want to know a common household item that will quickly dissolve a pearl?  Vinegar, due to its high acid content!)
Speaking of the silk string, it will need to be replaced over time due to stretching.  A professional jeweler can take care of the re-stringing.

Ever wonder what makes a pearl so lustrous? As you probably know, pearls are created in mollusks when an irritant gets inside the shell. The mollusk creates a pearl sac to seal off the irritant as a defense mechanism.  As the mollusk adds layers, these layers reflect light, the tighter the layers the better the diffusion of light.  Natural pearls are very rare and have the tightest layering.  Cultured pearls are grown on farms, either in salt or fresh water lagoons using specific “pearl oysters” and are the most common for jewelry; these can be died in various colors, such as pink.

Below is a great place to keep your pearled jewelry, the large, divided drawers and huge necklace cabinets keep them safely separated.  You can find other examples of safe jewelry storage here.

Pearls will always be a popular piece of jewelry.  With the right storing and cleaning, they can easily be handed down across generations!

standing jewelry armoire
Large Standing Jewelry Armoire

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