An Expert’s Guide to Pearl Care

One of the greatest hazards to your pearl jewelry is the Internet. Folks with little to no knowledge of the chemical makeup of pearls are posting “homemade recipes” for cleaning pastes that are bound to do more harm than good. We occasionally talk to customers who are horrified to hear that their use of these recipes actually damages the pearls considerably. To ensure that you know how to care for pearls the right way, Peter Suchy Jewelers have put together a basic care guide.

Stay Away from Homemade Tinctures

Pearls are animal products. As such, they experience great harm from ammonia, which is an ingredient in countless cleaners. In the most objectionable pearl-cleaning recipes, you frequently see it mentioned. Another problem is any exposure to acids. When you see recipes calling for fresh lemon juice, run! Boiling, too, is problematic.

Regular Inspections are Necessary

Your necklace pearls should be lined up on a silk string. The problem associated with this material is its eventual deterioration. The ideal setup involves a high-quality silk string that displays a knot in between each pearl. Invest in a loupe to visually inspect the necklace and ensure that the silk string is not fraying.

Clean with the Right Instruments

An old toothbrush is one of the worst tools you can use on your pearl jewelry. It is on par with the scrubbing side of your kitchen sponge. A better choice is a soft brush. Next, you need a soft cloth. Apply a mix of mild soap and warm water to the cloth and wipe down the pearls. Take good care that none of the moisture enters the drill holes.
If it has been a while in between cleanings, check the pearls with the loupe to ensure that any debris is indeed gone. When you still see some, use the soft brush for further removal. Next, dry the pearls with another soft cloth. If you succeeded at using a minimum amount of water, this should be an easy task.

Beware the Quick Wipe

You notice that your pearls have some dust on them just as you take them out for wear. Should you just wipe them down real quick with the soft brush? No! Loyal readers of this blog know from a recent discussion of the Mohs Hardness Scale that pearls rank well below quartz, which is contained in standard household dust. Simply removing the dust from the pearls with the dry brush has the potential to result in scratches.
At Peter Suchy Jewelers we are experts in all types of vintage, estate and antique jewelry. We hope you’ll stop by our showroom located at 1137 High Ridge Road in Stamford Connecticut.
Or, hop on over to our top-rated BigCommerce Store where you’ll find all the vintage pearl jewelry you see here. If you find a listing has ended, please email us at as we may still have the item in stock.
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