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As a natural organic material, pearls are porous and soft. On the Mohs hardness scale, they have a similar hardness as fingernails.
Because of the delicate nature of pearls, they most often are made into necklaces or earrings. A pearl ring may be subjected to more wear and tear resulting in an increased risk that the pearl could break or the outer coating, called nacre, could wear down over time. If this happens, this coating cannot be restored. The pearl would have to be replaced in order to restore its luster.
Pearls are alkaline by nature and can easily be damaged and absorb chemicals and liquids, many of which have acidic composition. They are most often strung with silk cord which is also delicate and can also stretch, fray or discolour over time. We have seen many pearl strands permanently stained and damaged beyond repair due to perfume, make-up, and hairspray being repeatedly sprayed or applied while someone is wearing their stand of pearls.
This old adage is the best advice we can dispense to protect your pearls:
"Pearls should be the last thing you put on and the first thing to come off."
Pearls should only be gently cleaned with a very soft cloth or professional products. As they were born in water, pearls benefit from moisture, but, in the event deeper cleaning is required, the best advice is to take them to your jeweller or use fresh distilled water and a small amount of the gentlest of natural soaps which are rated as safe for pearls on the label. This work should be performed on a towel placed at the bottom of the container to protect your pearls. They must be dried completely before wearing or storing.
Inspect your cord regularly. Loose pearls and stretching indicate that the silk cord has weakened and it is time to re-string. Discolouration, fraying, and stiffness are also all signs that it is time to restring your pearls.
Pearls are sensitive to sunlight and heat so they should be kept in a jewellery box or cabinet which is not airtight. It is also recommended to keep an open container of water in the cabinet with the pearls for long term storage. When storing pearl strands, always do up the clasp to avoid scratching them and use a fabric pouch, never a ziplock bag which may dry them out. Pearls should be stored with care on the flat. Do not hang pearls in order to avoid stretching the cord. Do not leave them loose against other jewellery which may also potentially damage them.
Rodan Jewellers is here to help you clean, restring, and care for your beautiful pearl, providing you with many years of enjoyment!
The best ultimate advice we can give is to wear and enjoy your pearls!. Fresh air helps them stay moist and lustrous. Put on your pearls and show them off to the world!