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Did You Know

Pearl Care Daily Care: Keep your pearls in top condition by limiting their exposure to acids and other chemicals. Acids and chemicals are not only perfumes and pesticides, but also sour fruits such as lemon. When you put them on, wear them after you're done with everything. When you're taking everything off, take them off first. As an organic gem composed of calcium carbonate, pearls are more vulnerable to the chemicals found in cosmetics, hair spray, and perfume. Dress, style your hair, apply your make-up, and spray on your perfume before you put on any pearl jewelry. Never wear these pieces when you anticipate working with your hands, and limit them to special occasions. Especially if you know you are going to do a rough job like playing sports, bathing or grooming your pet, take them off immediately. A pearl's luster can be damaged by even the smallest amount of perspiration. Removing your sweat from the pearls after each use helps preserve their luster. You can also dab a drop of water on them and clean them off. Don't scrub too hard, even though it is soft cloth! ​

Cleaning: You should only clean pearls with a soft cloth. Avoid harsh chemicals or brushes that could damage the pearl’s surface. Harsh cleaners can destroy the pearl, and a harder brush can also cause scratches. Soft-bristled toothbrushes work well as they can poke into thin crevices as well. Some good brands are Walgreens Fresh Smile, Smile and Save, and Oral-B Cross Action. Use mineral water or distilled water to clean your pearls. Standard tap water contains chlorine and other chemicals that can damage the surface of your pearls. Avoid long exposure to water, in general, even while cleaning. Avoid long-term exposure to strong light or heat above 140°F (60°C). These elements can dry out your pearls, causing them to crack. ​ Storage: Keep your pearls in a separate compartment, away from other jewelry. Other gems may scratch the surface of the pearls if they come into contact with them. Even other pearl pieces may have metal elements that could scratch the pearls on a separate piece, so store each pearl piece in its own compartment. If possible, use a small velvet drawstring bag and insert the pearl in there. NEVER store your pearls in a plastic bag. The plastic may emit a chemical, that over time, may cause pearls to deteriorate.

Cultured Pearl History: Organic pearls are formed by nature, more or less by chance. On the other hand, cultured pearls are human assisted, formed by inserting a tissue graft from a donor oyster, upon which a pearl sac forms, and the inner side precipitates calcium carbonate, in the form of nacre or "mother-of-pearl". After the nucleus is ready, the next step is obtaining the mantle tissue. The oyster is placed in warm water to relax the animal. Then it is gently pried open and the nucleus is inserted along with a small piece of mantle gland. The oyster is then placed back in the water and allowed over several years to coat the nucleus with nacre. The nucleus is coated in many layers of this nacre, so that when pearls are cut in half, visible layers can be seen. The development of cultured pearls took much of the chance, risk, and guesswork out of the pearl industry, allowing it to become stable and predictable, and fostering its rapid growth over the past 100 years. Today, more than 99% of all pearls sold worldwide are cultured pearls. ​ ​

Ten interesting facts about pearls: ​

1) Pearls are the only gemstone made by living animals.

2) Harvesting pearls (depending on the oyster) from mollusks does not kill the animals, as they can be re-used to make more pearls.

3) Saltwater pearls come from oysters, but freshwater pearls usually come from mussels.

4) Classic pearls take their color from the inside of the shell in which they are growing. They range from white to gold, and from purple to black.

5) Virtually all pearls today are “cultured” or “cultivated”. Harvesting “natural” pearls was compromised by water pollution and tsunamis that made it difficult to leave the oysters safely in the water long enough to grow sizeable pearls.

6) Every pearl is unique. No two are alike, and all have some imperfections.

7) The oldest known pearl jewelry fragment was found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess who died in 520 BC.

8) Cleopatra won a bet that she could provide Marc Antony with a banquet costing more than the assets of a country. She took off a pearl earring, dissolved it in wine and drank it.

9) Pearl farming is know as “Periculture.”

10) In 1916, Jacques Cartier bought his 5th Avenue store by trading two pearl necklaces for the land. ​


Instructions from a customer who did this herself and brought the luster back for her natural pearls and monster shell!

"When the pearls look pretty good, I soak them overnight in mineral oil and then rub them on a fluffy microfiber cloth or piece of denim until they shine, then wash with distilled water and mild castile soap and dry.

If that doesn't work or the pearls are really dull and grungy to begin with I do use vinegar mixed with an equal amount of boiling hot water  (even though everyone says not to). Citric acid works in hot water too. I'm really careful to watch constantly for lots of bubbles to form and start testing for loose mineral deposits. It will ball up and roll off when rubbed with your fingers when sufficiently softened. It usually doesn't take more than a few minutes. Never leave in the solution for a long time. Then I rinse in a saltwater slurry and dry. Then I soak them in mineral oil for an hour or so, polish on microfiber or denim if needed (it's usually not) and finally wash with mild castile soap, rinse in distilled water and dry. It seems like a lot of steps, but it really doesn't take long.

I follow the same process for the shells after scrubbing the backs with soap and a wire brush if still dirty.  After soaking in the weak vinegar or citric acid solution until bubbles form, I use a pedicure pumice stone to scrub the back of the shell and smooth the sharp edges.  And if used gently it will remove remnants of the mussel attachment points inside. With shells I sometimes have to soak them twice to get all of the mineral deposits off. Once it's clean and dry, I give it a light coating of mineral oil too."