Another important fact to remember is that heat also spoils the pearls. Therefore, never put your pearls on top of a fireplace, television set or a radiator as the heat will discolor them often turning them brown overnight. For the same reason avoid steam cleaning them.
Don't touch your pearls with your fingers if eating bar snack foods which sometimes have chilli or other spice powders on them. Such spices can damage the surface of pearls. Store strung pearls flat as they won't stretch so quickly as when hung. Don't store pearls in a very dry room, nor in a safe deposit box. A little moisture does good to the pearls so wearing them regularly is important. It is in fact believed that the best place to keep your pearls is on your neck. That is to say keep wearing them. Wearing your pearls gives them the chance to breathe and the body produces natural oils that pearls love. Body warmth and the expression of this fine natural body oil through the skin keeps the pearls looking good. But this is not always true. Whilst some women can improve the look of pearls there are unfortunately a few other women who may have a more acid balanced skin type and such acid skins can sometimes cause pearls to lose their luster. However this process can be slowed down by regularly wiping the pearls after use. The acidic perspiration of the body eats away the nacre. Similarly, the alcohol content of perfume can suck out the moisture from a pearl leaving it brittle. Cleaning jewelers can clean pearls or you can buy a special pearl jewellery cleaning solution.
Important Doís and Doníts
Don't clean pearls using any of the jewellery cleaners especially for gold or silver on the market. Such products usually contain an ammonia base.
Also don't use the ultrasonic cleaning sets as the vibrations can make the pearls rub against each other and cause scuffing.
As the pearls age and the luster reduces, you can maintain them by wiping them with a soft damp cloth that has been dipped in a very gentle natural soap solution, next wipe them with a detergent free damp cloth and then allow them to dry flat on kitchen paper. After the pearls have dried, a cloth with a fine smear of olive oil will help restore some luster.
Pearls should be restrung every year if they are being used regularly, or at least once in two years if they are being worn less frequently. They should only be restrung with pure silk thread or special nylon necklace cord. Other yarns like cotton break and rot more easily.
Every string is best knotted between each pearl. The knot not only helps keep control of your pearls should they break, but also helps stop the pearls rubbing too much against each other.
Some people do not like the look of a knotted string and newer alternatives are spaced pearls on wires held in place by gimps. Such necklaces have a fresh modern look, but must always be stored as flat as possible to prevent the polymer coated wire from getting bent.
A little care will go a long way in making sure your pearls remain lustrous and elegant for a long time.