• Become a Pearl Insider!

    Register as a member today for exclusive access to, member only insider info, incredible contests to exotic locations, and have your questions answered by pearl experts from around the world.

    Join the community today. Just click Register at the top!

Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Pearls

CharmedOne

New member
Pearl Dreams, I have a question if you don't mind. Do you think The Pearl Doctor can clean extremely dirty pearls? I have pearls that I thought were clean because the looked clean, but I used my loupe and OMG. They are still very very dirty. I bought some distilled water because I thought about letting them soak but if you think TPD would work, I'll just wait until I receive mine.

I have heard of people using a soft toothbrush to clean really dirty pearl but I'm a bit afraid to do that. They need to be restrung too, but I am concerned that if I take it apart to clean them, it won't look as nice as the original strand that because they are different colors. I'm not sure I can spread the colors out as nice and they are graduated. I hope what I'm trying to say makes sense. I'm sure the drill holes are filthy too. So what do you think would be best? Thanks so much for any help you can give me.
 

Pearl Dreams

Pearl Enthusiast
I think a toothbrush is too harsh. I use a microfiber cloth, such as one might use to clean one's eyeglasses. It is soft and won't damage the nacre.

I don't know if TPD will do the trick, but I'm interested in finding out your results!

When you clean them, leave them on the current thread to soak. After they are clean, cut them apart one by one, wipe the area around the drill holes clean with a soft cloth, and immediately string them (in order, one by one) onto a thread or a bit of wire, so that they stay in the same order they are in now. Then when you are ready to restring them, they will already be in the correct order.
 

Marianne

Active member
If the strand is really gucky, you could just temp string them (in original order) on Nymo or dental floss (yup, I use plain skinny dental floss). Then you can gently squooish the sudsy water between the beads with your fingers while soaking. Running a piece of cotton thread through the damp pearl a couple of times should pick up any left over dirt. Good luck :)
 

CharmedOne

New member
Marianne, I agree, it is a great idea! I will try that soon. I really thought they were clean and worn them for a bit and was totally grossed out when I saw them under 10X loupe lol. Thanks again to everybody who helped me, I will let you know what happens when I'm finished :)
 

kTron

New member
Interesting topic for sure!

Of course, in that sort of cold you are wearing a warm coat and probably a scarf as well, so the pearls would not be exposed to the cold quite so suddenly. Maybe you could wear the pearls under clothing, next to skin, for added heat and moisture when it's very cold out, then return them to their place over your clothing when you get to your destination?

Olive oil would stain and saturate the silk thread; personally I wouldn't recommend that.

Thanks for your input, Pearl Dreams and Gem Geek! Yes, I do wear my pearls close to my skin, although I do have a Tahitian pearl ring I wear almost every day. I've started to carry a small padded pouch in my purse for my ring so I don't get it lost with the shuffle of mittens coming off and on, etc, and sounds like it may protect it from the cold/wet/general gross of the winter too.
 

ennui

New member
Any guesses as to how long it takes a strand of pearls to dry? I realize that prevailing humidity will be a factor, I'm just wondering if it's a day, three days, a week ... ?
 

lavenderjade

New member
I am looking for some pouches to store my growing collection of pearl earrings in between wear :cool: I have a couple of silk jewellry rolls that I keep my necklaces etc in but the earrings need their own pouch as I don't want them getting damaged. Failing finding pure silk pouches here in the UK, I have seen some natural linen ones, would these be ok for storing pearls?
What do you pearl experts store yours in? :)
 

Pearl Dreams

Pearl Enthusiast
For those necklaces that came boxed, I store them in their boxes.

I also have some silk pouches that I bought years ago, and recently bought some satin pouches at a gem show because they didn't happen to have more of the silk ones.

I've seen some linen that is rough-textured and some that is very fine (like that used for handkerchiefs.) I would prefer a fine textured cloth being against my pearls, if possible.
 

lisa c

Perpetual Pearl Student
The clutches work well;

well, some days not so well, judging by how disheveled my earrings look in the top post.
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    118.6 KB · Views: 0

lisa c

Perpetual Pearl Student
Thanks, PD :). it's great for travel but inconvenient at home; I'm still looking for the perfect storage. Probably a jewelers flat display tray or something like. Someone we know posted storage in flat trays...anyone remember?

and something must be wrong with my phone. I even tried editing my photo, flipping it to compensate for it being upside down here - and it posted the photo as is. So far I'm running 50-50 and that's only chance, so I'm done with photos for today (sulk sulk). I'll try once more
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    61.1 KB · Views: 0
  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    68.4 KB · Views: 0
Last edited:

Pearl Dreams

Pearl Enthusiast
My jewelry box has flat drawers and compartments and I just lay my earrings down separately, not touching each other. It's not like they're going to roll around -- no earthquakes here! The hardest minerals are stored in a different compartment from the softer ones.
 

lavenderjade

New member
Those storage ideas look great! certainly those little boxes are great for travelling.
For storing the pearls long term at home though I thought a natural breathable material like silk or linen would be better. I have some boxes but they take up so much room! The linen ones I looked at are pretty rough. Any US sites I can look at for silk storage pouches?
Any advice welcome and of course photos of your pearls as well cannot be a bad thing!
 
Top