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  1. #1
    purepearls
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    Default Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Pearls

    Quality pearls are durable, but proper care is necessary to keep them beautiful and lustrous. Here are important tips to care for your pearls. If you're anything like me, I like to wear my pearls everywhere so I take special precautions so that they will maintain their allure.

    Gently wipe the pearls with a warm, damp cloth to remove body oils or dirt (which may harm the colors) before putting them away.

    Keep pearls away from chlorine bleach, vinegar, ammonia, hairspray, perfume, and cosmetics, as these substances will damage the pearl surface. Make sure to put pearls on after finished spraying perfume or hairspray and putting on makeup. Also, remove pearls before exercising to keep them away from perspiration. Be very careful with substances as they will eat holes in the pearl nacre.

    Wash pearls periodically with mild soap (NOT detergent) and a soft cloth. When finished washing the pearls, rinse them in clean water and wrap them in a thin, damp cotton towel to dry. If the pearls are especially dirty, wipe the pearl with acetone polish remover. Acetone will not hurt pearls. DO NOT use jewelry cleaners with ammonia or vinegar in them.

    Pearls should be stored away from other objects or jewelry that may scratch the pearls’ surface. Wrap the pearls in linen, soft cloth, or place in a soft pouch. Do NOT store pearls in an airtight package such as a plastic bag because pearls need moisture. If the environment is too dry, the pearls may crack. If placing the pearls in a safety deposit box or in a hot environment, leave a damp cloth nearby.

    Restring pearls once a year if worn often. Be sure to have each pearl knotted separately, preferably with silk, so they do not rub together and wear on the pearl nacre. If pearls are very small, knots between each pearl may be undesirable.

    Amanda Raab
    President
    PurePearls.com

  2. #2
    ljtreat
    Guest

    Default Pearls Have Turned Yellow . . .

    My mom recently gave me her pearls and I am trying to find out more information about them. They have yellowed and someone stated that if I wear them they should change back to their original color? Is this true?

    Any information, advice you could provide, would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Laura :-)

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    Dear Laura,

    Unfortunately this is not the case. They may have yellowed because the nacre is dry and brittle, but more likely it is due to damage the pearls may have sustained over the years. Unfortunately with organic gems like pearls there is no turning back the hands of time.
    What I may suggest is wiping the pearls down repeatedly with a damp cloth to try to moisten the nacre. The color, however, is unlikely to change.

  4. #4
    ljtreat
    Guest

    Default

    That's what I was afraid of . . . thanks for the information and suggestion.

    Laura :-)

  5. #5
    NinRose
    Guest

    Default Yellowed pearls

    I had the same problem with some pearls that my mother had given me years ago. I've been putting them in the sunlight everyday all day and It seems to have brought back most of their pearly color. I read that sunlight was good for them, and for that reason wearing them alot might be good. Give it a try, mine are looking pretty good now.

  6. #6
    moishai
    Guest

    Default Cleaning pearls: Question for Zeide

    Dear all

    I have a question for Zeide:

    I have read on various websites that when caring for and cleaning pearls, one should use a damp soft cloth (dampened with diluted soap solution) and then "rinsed" with another damp soft cloth (dampened with clean chlorine free water only) and then dried with another soft cloth.

    However, I have also seen on some websites advising that if the pearls are really dirty, they should be rinsed under running water. My query is two fold: (a) what is the proper way to clean pearls and (b) can pearls be placed under a tap of running water (since I thought if water were to get into the drill holes then it will ruin the pearls)?

    I would be grateful if you could please let me know.

    Many thanks.

    Moishai.

  7. #7
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Milwaukee
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    HI
    Unlikely. wearing them may mprove the luster. Over the years I've seen 1960"s 1970-"s Japanese Akoya become creamer. For what ever reason the pink color faded. I think they are prettier especially if worn a lot.

    Norm

  8. #8
    smartneil
    Guest

    Post Pearl cleaning

    After you take off your pearls, just wipe them off with a soft cloth which may be dry or damp. This will prevent dirt from accumulating and keep perspiration, which is slightly acidic, from eating away at the pearl nacre. You can even use a drop of olive oil on the cloth to help maintain their luster.

    If pearls have not been kept clean and are very dirty, they can be cleaned by your jeweler or they can be cleaned using special pearl cleaner. Be careful while using other types of jewelry cleaner or soap. Some liquid soap, such as Dawn, can damage pearls. Pay attention to the areas around the drill holes where dirt may tend to collect.

    After washing your pearls, lay them flat in a moist kitchen towel to dry. When the towel is dry, your pearls should be dry.

    About every six months have a jewelry professional verify that the pearls on your jeweler are securely mounted or that the string is still good. Many jewelers will do this free of charge, and they'll be happy to answer your questions about the care of your jewelry.
    Last edited by smartneil; 02-23-2008 at 05:26 AM.

  9. #9
    pattye
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    Default

    Hi Smartneil,

    Useful tips, the one about using a tiny bit of oil on pearls keeps coming up every so often. The thing is, ahem, many of us here are making our own pearl jewelry and won't be takin' anything to the nearest (frequently ignorant about pearls) jeweler. Anyway, hope you find posts of interest here. What is your expertise?

    Pattye
    so many pearls, so little time
    Last edited by pattye; 01-31-2008 at 04:57 PM. Reason: add question

  10. #10
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
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    Olive oil is acidic, isn't it? I would be afraid to use olive oil.

  11. #11
    Pearlgully
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    Default

    Once or twice a year, I dab all my pearls with a drop of olive oil. I read (somewhere) that it puts moisture into the pearls.



    Gail

  12. #12
    pattye
    Guest

    Default

    I think Doug mentioned once (wish I could find the post) that they use a small bit of some kind of oil on Sea of Cortez pearls after they are first washed. I would think, since it is oil, it might help hold the moisture in the pearls, or make the surface shine a bit more, but I am not quite sure how it could put actual moisture in the pearls.

    Pattye
    so many pearls, so little time

  13. #13
    Pearlgully
    Guest

    Default

    [QUOTE=pattye;23864]I am not quite sure how it could put actual moisture in the pearls:


    What I meant was that the olive oil keeps the pearls from drying out.


    Gail

  14. #14
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Default It is not recommended to wash the pearls on a finished strand because any imbeded dir

    Quote Originally Posted by purepearls View Post
    Quality pearls are durable, but proper care is necessary to keep them beautiful and lustrous. Here are important tips to care for your pearls. If you're anything like me, I like to wear my pearls everywhere so I take special precautions so that they will maintain their allure.

    Gently wipe the pearls with a warm, damp cloth to remove body oils or dirt (which may harm the colors) before putting them away.

    Keep pearls away from chlorine bleach, vinegar, ammonia, hairspray, perfume, and cosmetics, as these substances will damage the pearl surface. Make sure to put pearls on after finished spraying perfume or hairspray and putting on makeup. Also, remove pearls before exercising to keep them away from perspiration. Be very careful with substances as they will eat holes in the pearl nacre.

    Wash pearls periodically with mild soap (NOT detergent) and a soft cloth. When finished washing the pearls, rinse them in clean water and wrap them in a thin, damp cotton towel to dry. If the pearls are especially dirty, wipe the pearl with acetone polish remover. Acetone will not hurt pearls. DO NOT use jewelry cleaners with ammonia or vinegar in them.

    Pearls should be stored away from other objects or jewelry that may scratch the pearls’ surface. Wrap the pearls in linen, soft cloth, or place in a soft pouch. Do NOT store pearls in an airtight package such as a plastic bag because pearls need moisture. If the environment is too dry, the pearls may crack. If placing the pearls in a safety deposit box or in a hot environment, leave a damp cloth nearby.

    Restring pearls once a year if worn often. Be sure to have each pearl knotted separately, preferably with silk, so they do not rub together and wear on the pearl nacre. If pearls are very small, knots between each pearl may be undesirable.

    Amanda Raab
    President
    PurePearls.com

    it ;is not a good plan to wash knotted pearls becasue the dirt will impregnate into the knots. Especially if there are any gold beads in the necklace. Washing should only be done at time of restringing.
    pearlman

  15. #15
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    Hi PG Design.
    You mentioned that someone used beeswax on pearls - was it straight from the hive or turned into polish by melting and mixing with turpentine. I'm also a beekeeper so have access to my own beeswax (which I use already to dress the silk before use).
    Thinking generally about oiling pearls. Since pearls respond to being worn because of the oils in human skin would not an oil like lanolin be better since that is another animal oil?