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All cultured freshwater pearls are delicate gems that are made of a natural product called calcium carbonate. This product is drawn from the lake or river by the mussel that the pearl lives inside.

The products that harm pearls the most are the perfumes, hair sprays, cosmetics and make-up that we do not give a second thought to wearing. Along with other household chemicals, if sprayed near pearls these products can build up on the pearl and damage the luster.

The nacre can become marked, dull, pitted and generally lose that marvelous luminous luster that defines a pearl.

    • Put your pearls on after you have applied make-up, perfume and hair sprays.
    • Don’t spray perfume on the neck area where the pearls will actually sit.
    • Avoid touching your pearls when you have just applied hand cream.
    • Remove your pearls before applying cleansers or night creams.
    • Buff them occasionally with a silk cloth to enhance their shine and luster.
    • Put them back in their original container, or a velvet lined box. Never store them in plastic long term. Do not throw them into a container with other jewellery as the surface will become scratched, wires may become bent and clasps scratched.
    • Do not put your pearls anywhere hot as the heat will discolour them - i.e top of the television set, radiator or fire place. Do not steam clean them for the same reason.
    • Do not store your pearls in a safe deposit box. Pearls appreciate a little moisture so wearing them regularly is important. Wearing your pearls gives them the chance to breathe and a clean skin produces natural oils that pearls love. Some women may have a more acid balanced skin type, and this can cause the pearls to loose their luster., likewise the alcohol content of perfume can suck out the moisture from a pearl leaving it brittle. By wiping the pearls after use, you can slow down this process enormously.


Do not clean pearls using any of the jewellery cleaners made for gold or silver jewellery. Also do not use the ultrasonic cleaning sets as the vibrations can cause the pearls rub against each other.

If the pearls are old, and the luster is dulling, wipe them with a soft damp cloth that has been dipped in a very gentle natural soap solution, and then wipe them with a detergent free damp cloth and allow them to dry FLAT on kitchen paper. Once the pearls have dried, a cloth with a fine smear of olive oil wiped over them will help restore some luster.


Good pearls will last longer if they are restrung every six months to every two years, depending upon the frequency they are worn. They should only be restrung with silk thread or special nylon necklace cord. Other yarns like cotton break and deteriorate more easily. The silk is best knotted between each pearl. The knot not only helps keep control of your pearls should the silk break, but also helps stop the pearls rubbing against each other.

The newer modern alternatives to knotted strung pearls, are designs that incorporate pearls spaced on wires and held in place by gimps and glued. These designs appear to float on the neck, but must always be stored as flat as possible to prevent the wire from becoming tangled or miss-shaped.