Pearls… Just the word evokes a feeling of class and elegance. Formed over 5-10 years by mollusks, pearls truly are examples of mother nature at her finest. Dating as far back as ancient Greece, pearls were once one of the most valuable gems and were often exchanged as gifts. Symbolically, pearls have represented the moon, chastity, modesty, and offered protection from fire and dragons. Today, pearls serve as the birthstone of June, as well as the third and thirtieth wedding anniversaries.
If you have an heirloom strand of pearls or have been gifted them for a special occasion, your first thought may be- how do I properly care for them? Here are some tips from our in-house pearl expert, Jessica.
- Pearls should be the last thing you put on, and the first thing you take off. This protects them from exposure to chemicals in perfumes, hairspray and cosmetics.
- Always store pearls separately, either in a chamois bag or wrapped in tissue. This prevents surface abrasions to the nacre (NAY-kər), or delicate outer iridescent layer, from harder metals and gemstones.
- To clean your pearls, use a soft cloth or cleaner specifically designed for delicate jewelry. Using a soft cloth will help remove light surface residue, while gently cleaning with mild dish soap and water or cleaner will provide a deeper clean. Reminder – if you submerge your pearl necklace, you must let it air dry flat to ensure that the string does not stretch.
- If you wear your pearls frequently, bring them to Dempsey & Baxter annually to be restrung. Continual wear can weaken and stretch the threads on which the pearls are strung. Heirloom strands should also be treated with such care, as a history of restringing and cleaning is often unknown.
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