Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1

    Default luster question.

    I know pearls are difficult, picky objects (no perfume, wear it last, no soap.. etc)

    and I try to clean my pearls with a cloth after wearing them but i'm wondering how long this luster will last

    as I 've seen pictures of antique pearls and they seem very blend.

    is it because they were not taken care of properly or is that just normal for the luster to fade?

  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    There are so many things that can affect pearls that I think there is no definitive answer. Even if we do our best to take care of our pearls, they are still exposed to polluted air, for example.

    Also, we have no way of knowing what those antique pearls were like to begin with...maybe they weren't the most lustrous pearls even then!

    Freshwater pearls are given a luster treatment to tighten up the skin and improve luster. I suppose over time they could become less lustrous, however I have not seen that happen in the 12+ years since I began buying FWP.

    I tend to think that good quality pearls will keep looking good for our lifetime, and maybe still look good when handed down to the next generation. Poor quality / thin nacre pearls on the other hand may not last long. So it's worth buying decent quality pearls to begin with.
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 03-19-2019 at 02:40 AM.

  3. #3
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Orlando, Florida, USA


    I have my grandmother's pearls, so they're about 70 years old now. They weren't very high quality and they were worn almost daily by both her and me. They don't look great, but they weren't the best quality to start with. They are acceptable however.

    I also have my birthday akoya strand. Mom bought these when I was born as a present to herself. They are 60 years old (cough, I can't believe I'm that old). The pearls look as good as new, and they have been worn a lot, too. They were high quality and they still look it.

  4. #4
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005


    It is a good question, based on the condition of my pearls, many of which are 15 years old, no noticeable loss of luster at this age. Poor quality Akoyas are the most vulnerable to deteriorating, but now we are able to source better quality Akoya with thicker nacre, thankfully. Most other types of pearls are harvested with good nacre thickness.


  5. #5
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009


    For some reason, my mind went to a previous topic about Tahitians -- the nacre had completely worn off, so yes, old pearls can look less than desirable.!
    "Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by ennui View Post
    For some reason, my mind went to a previous topic about Tahitians -- the nacre had completely worn off, so yes, old pearls can look less than desirable.!


    after reading all the replies and above link...
    i'm not sure how good my pearls are but going to wipe my pearls after use more seriously...…

    yes.. I have been lazy and couldn't be bothered sometimes and just put it back..

    cough cough..

  7. #7
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Lugana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016


    The wear of nacre layer and luster loss depends greatly on individual factors such as skin acid levels. I've seen strands of akoya completely worn down to nucleus in just 3 years while proper care been taken (akoya pearls have thin layer of nacre, so they are very subject to external damage). And I've also seen completely uncared of pearls to be handed in for restringing - the stringer actually had to scrape off the dirt from around the drill holes with a piece of wet wood. But the pearls were absolutely fine under the gunk. And those two strands were from the same farm.

    Apart from the extreme cases like described above, antique pearls can be different matter. In many cases they are stored away improperly for years before being discovered as sellable goods (with other jewels that can damage them or not even with jewels), so the luster can be damaged with micro scratches rather than wear. It degeriates from the shine and that's what you might have seen in the antique pearl photos.

    I personally wouldn't worry about wearing down the luster in any of the modern cultured pearls as long as they are not akoya pearls produced in China or artificially polished pearls (that are real cultured pearls but tumbled in soft material to add luster to pearls that don't have luster - such pearls will deteriorate with use because the artificial outer polish will get used/worn and the pearl under it was never been good to start with). Apart from it - moderate care will be enough to enjoy your pearls for years
    Pearl and opal specialist
    Institute of Gemology of Spain, IGE, Madrid

  8. #8
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012


    I was given a pair of Akoya studs by my grandmother when I turned 21. I wore them daily 24/7. I didn't know any better then, I wore them in the shower, I wore them in the ocean, I slept with them on. I think I wore them like that until I was 37. They still are lustrous! Probably not as lustrous as when they were given to me, I would assume.The only thing that happened was the post would come out of one and I was advised to glue it back on myself by the jeweler, which I did with Elmers glue!( Yikes)But, knowing my grandmother, I am sure she bought quality studs from her jeweler in NYC at the time. So, I agree, buy the best quality you can and don't do what I did. Take care of them by cleaning and storing properly.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Marina del Rey, CA


    Quote Originally Posted by 2thdktr View Post
    which I did with Elmers glue!( Yikes).
    Did this work?

Similar Threads

  1. How is the luster of these SSP?
    By Zowie in forum South Sea Pearls
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 04-12-2018, 01:03 AM
  2. Question about FWP changing color and luster
    By enkeli in forum Freshwater Pearls
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: 10-12-2017, 06:25 PM
  3. Is this luster for real?
    By AWeng in forum Akoya Pearls
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 02-16-2014, 02:42 AM
  4. pearls of luster
    By JLHannah50 in forum Show Us Your Pearls!
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-28-2011, 01:38 AM
  5. Too much luster???
    By operavopera in forum Consumer Q & A
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 09-19-2006, 04:04 PM