From Queen Cleopatra and Elizabeth I to gem collector Henry Philip Hope and several Hollywood celebrities, the rich, famous and the noble revered pearls and wore them as a thing of beauty and prestige. Their natural luster and nacreous surface make them rare, beautiful and precious. They are associated with the Moon and the planet Venus and believed to be a symbol of wisdom, love, youthfulness and purity. In the modern times, cultured pearls have gained immense popularity as they are easy to cultivate.
Pearls come in a variety of hues, depending on the type of mollusk and the water in which it dwelled. The iridescence on white pearls, the luminous hue of golden pearls and the mystical aurora effect on black pearls, all have a charming appeal of their own. But they need to be cared and maintained to preserve their luminous exterior for years and generations to come. And why not, pearls are the only gems that are obtained from living organisms.
- Keep the lustrous orbs away from:
- Household cleaning products – They are meant for a different purpose and not for cleaning the delicate and precious pearls. Neither can you use abrasive objects such as scouring pads, toothbrushes and others that can easily damage the smooth surface of the gem.
- Commercial jewelry cleaners and tarnish removers – Don’t get fooled by these miracle cleaners as they will only leave a diminished luster on the pearls.
- Steam and steam cleaners – Pearls are obtained from organisms living in the water and cannot afford to stand the harsh bouts of heat from a steam. Keep them aside while cooking or taking a steam bath. Also protect them from coming in direct contact with heat around a fireplace, stove, television set or while you are sunbathing.
- Ultrasonic cleaners – The high-intensity vibrations in the machine can cause irreversible damage to your pearl jewelry.
- Cosmetics, hairsprays and perfumes – Use them to dress yourself up, not the pearls. They contain strong chemicals and these organic spherical beauties can’t withstand them.
- Prolonged dryness – Just like our skin, pearls dehydrate too. It can be caused if you store them in an air-tight security box and forget about them! So wear them frequently, and let them breathe.
- Sharp objects and other gemstones – Though pearls are shock-resistant, they can easily develop scratches if kept with other gemstones and jewelry with sharp ends and edges.
- To maintain the radiance of your pearls, you can:
- Clean them with mild soapy water and wipe them off with a soft tissue.
- Take them to a specialist for thorough cleaning and care, once in a while.
- Wear them in the end while dressing up and remove them immediately when you get home.
- Store them in compartmentalized jewelry cases and carry them in a protective cotton, muslin or velvet pouch while traveling.