Personal Care Products Can Damage Pearls
Cosmetics, sun block, perfume and hairspray all contain chemicals that can dramatically dull the luster of a pearl. The natural acids contained in body oils and perspiration can also damage pearls in the same way. It is best to put your pearls on at least 30 minutes after applying any personal care products, and to take your pearls off before getting ready for bed. A good rule of thumb to remember is that pearls should be the last things to put on and the first things to take off.
Simple Steps to Protect Your Pearls
If You Wear Your Pearls Often
Wiping the pearls with a damp, soft cloth after you wear them will ensure that they remain free of harmful build-up of compounds that may damage the nacre of your pearls. Always keep your pearls separated from hard jewelry items such as rings or bracelets to prevent them from being scratched. Pearls are best kept in a soft-cloth pouch or a soft-lined jewelry box. Never store your pearls in an airtight environment such a a zip lock bag. Pearls are organic and do contain trace amounts of water. Storing them in an airtight environment will cause them to become brittle and damage the luster.
They should be strung about once a year to prevent strand breakage. We suggest the use of silk thread. However, nylon thread is an acceptable alternative. The thread should be knotted between each pearl to prevent all the pearls in a strand from falling off should a break occur. Knotting also prevents possible damage from the pearls rubbing against each other.
Both nylon and silk will soak up the oils from one’s skin and may turn dark after a time. Restringing the pearls with new silk or nylon is preferred over attempting to wash the thread, as cleaning may weaken or stretch the knots and some soaps may be abrasive and damage your pearls.