How To Clean Pearls and GemstonesAt Home

Pearl Necklace

February 6, 2018, John Kelly.

Following on from the previous post, today we are going to walk you through the best way to clean pearls, gemstones and diamonds safely at home.

How To Clean Pearls

Pearls are beautiful and look wonderful at any age, yet they are prone to fading and damage as much as any other piece of gemstone jewellery. Having said that, they can’t be cleaned in the same way like gems or diamonds. They need special care, and more so, the older they are.

  • We recommend gently wiping your pearls with a soft cloth every time you take them out to wear. That way, you are keeping the build-up of dirt and grease (for example make up and perfume) to a minimum. If you leave your pearls to get very grubby, when you come to cleaning them, you are likely to cause damage to them.
  • Also, avoid being tempted to wash your pearls in Ultra Sonic cleaners which are more suited to modern pieces of jewellery. They can be too harsh meaning your pearls may get scratched or damaged during the process.
Purple gemstone

How To Store Pearls

One of the first things you need to do is ensure your pearls are not stored with any other jewellery. They appear to be tough on the outside, but they can scratch very easily dulling their appearance over time.

  • Pure Pearls, the experts in pearls, suggests that storing them for maximum condition, wrap them in a soft cloth or in a soft pouch gently rolled around the pearls so that they are not touching each other.
  • Always unfasten clips and allow them to lie flat and not curled up as they would be if fastened. Pearls need to breathe, or they will become prone to cracking so never store them in air-tight packaging. They are also prone to changes in heat and room temperature so bear this in mind when storing them in a tightly sealed box.
  • Always store them away from harsh chemicals, even where you can still smell them as even fumes can damage the surface of pearls. If you use cosmetics while wearing your pearls, make sure you wash them with lukewarm soapy water and a soft cloth before you store them away as they can stain easily. That way, they won’t absorb any oils or perfumes either. It’s always best not to soak them in the water as the string can become weak and break but wash them with a damp soft cloth instead.
Pearls in a gold and diamond necklace
  • Restringing your pearls frequently (up to once a year’s if worn often) will make sure they don’t end up all over the floor. You can avoid your pearls knocking into each other by knotting them in between each one. Silk is best for this.) If your pearls are very old, chances are the string will be very frail and not as strong as contemporary pearls.

How To Store Pearls

The key to successful cleaning is in the preparation before you start cleaning them.

  • Never wash your precious stones in a basin without a bowl. This saves anything being lost forever down the drain. Have an old soft toothbrush handy or better still, a small children’s paintbrush to help remove any dirt and grease in the smallest cracks.
  • Before you start, always make sure that the setting or the claw which holds the stone in place is not damaged and that the stone is not at risk of falling out. Always use soapy water with a mild soap, preferably liquid. That way you won’t be leaving any residue behind making the jewellery look dull. The key is to ensure you have plenty of time when cleaning your stones. It should never be a rushed job.
  • For all gems, diamonds and pearls, it is recommended that you take your precious items to a jeweller for professional cleaning once a year to make sure they stay in tip top condition and more importantly, hold their value.
  • Always go for a regular valuation on your pearls, diamonds and gemstone to ensure you have the insured for the correct amount. That way you can enjoy them more knowing they are safe and secure!

What to do next

Read the next article in the series: How To Clean Gold And Silver Jewellery To Keep Its Value

This article has been tagged with:

# Pearls and gemstones # Antique jewellery

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