I recently made a necklace for a doctor I work with that included Swarovski crystals and freshwater pearls, and she told me something I didn't know about pearls.
She said that for years, she kept a strand of her mother's pearls in a safe which needed restringing, and when she finally got around to taking them to a jeweler to be restrung, the jeweler told her that the pearls were ruined. Evidently, pearls need air in order to maintain their luster.
I've been stringing for 4 years and whenever I go to the bead shows, the pearls I buy are given to me in plastic ziplocs. I've been leaving them in the ziplocs until I use them - evidently you shouldn't store them in plastic because they can't breathe!
So, if you store your pearls in baggies, you should take them out of the baggies so they can breathe and maintain their luster.
Check out my Etsy Store......
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Never knew that one! The only thing I ever knew about pearls was that you should not wear them in water as it can slowly wear them down/away. I don't know if that is actually true or not.
Are there any pearl experts out there to help us out on this one? I bet Deb could help if she ever surfaces from inputting inventory. Deb - Where are you and how is it coming? Do we need to send the search parties out?
Have a great day!
I have a feeling that Lita could give us some input on this one! Remember the advice she gave that one BD poster on restringing her grandmother's pearls, and those detailed knotting instructions she gave in one of the other discussion threads? Maybe she'll chime in later......
That was nice to know. I be sure to take mine out for a "air" now and then, I still have some pearls my ex's grandmother gave me. Strange she havent asked for them back, its the familys "pride". They are suppose to be about 100 years old and picked by my ex's great grand father. So I guess I owe it to take care of them. In some ways I want to restring it, cause its looking old. But on the other hand the fact its old is a charm too ... Hard choice. (and Im not a genious at strining like you girls)
I didn't know that!
I think its a well-known tip, but don't spray perfumes and/or deodorants onto pearls, and dont spray perfume on your neck if you are going to wear pearls. There was also something about scented body lotions/moisturisers but I cant remember!
Yes, pearls need air and regulary wearing to keep their content of moisture and their luster. Better to keep them in your jewelry box is to wear them in direct contact with your skin. But be careful when you use cosmetics, like Inca mentioned before. Pearls consist mostly of calcium carbonate (CaCO³, the small three should be on the lower side, but couldn't find it on my computer) and water and are damaged by acids, bases and heat. Acids and bases are used in cosmetics. Ever tried what vinegar does to an eggshell? Put an egg in some vinegar (acid) and look what happens. There will be bubbles on the eggshell, showing that the shell is dissolved by the vinegar (or the acid in it). Or remember Kleopatra and her bet with Marcus Antonius. She dissolved her biggest pearl in glass of wine. It's a legend and no one knows if it's true, but could be.
Don't want to sound like a smart alec, but I thought I'd share this, as my grandfather was a jeweler and watch maker.
You don't sound like a smart alec to me. You just know this info from your grandfather. And we are glad that you do! You answered our questions. Thanks!
Now we know that it is true. Mystery solved.
Thank you, Sheila! It's always a good feeling if I can help.
What I thought about: it is really sad, when someone lost a strand of beautiful pearls, just because he/she didn't know how to treat them. Each one is a gift/treasure from Mother Nature and that's how they should be treated.
My grandfather taught me so much about jewelry, precious metals, pearls, quality of jewelry and all that. As he died in 2004, it was a big loss for me. He was always there for me when I was a kid. There are times, when I just can't believe that he is gone. Not forever (I hope so), but for now.
This is a very good reminder, I think I remember reading about it
years ago. I do keep mine in a jewelry box, and the loose ones in an
open air spot until I need them.
I also like the reminder about the cosmetics and inerraction they may cause, good information here.
Some more trivia----
Because of their natural beauty, pearls are associated with the matrix
of life. Proponents say that the pearl helps balance ones bodily
rhythms and hormonal levels with lunar cycles. Some claim that pearls
can be used to help tap inner wisdom and to nurture the growth of love.
always in style.....south sea pearls
We're about halfway done with inventory - I'm still counting and DH Mike is packaging the stuff that has been arriving since Jan 2nd. Keeping that stuff out of last year's inventory is a PAIN! It's like trying to shovel the sidewalk in a blizzard! Search parties are not needed, but it looks like we'll need a moving crew this summer, as we're hoping to move to a bigger store! Hard work and lots of pizza guaranteed! Any volunteers?
Pearls - as Dagmar said, they should be worn often and next to the skin because the oils from your body help them maintain their moisture and luster. This is especially true in drier climates such as the AZ desert. When you are dressing, your pearls should be the last thing on, so that you don't get hairspray, perfume or makeup (have you ever tried cleaning pearls with decades of foundation on them - yuck!) on them.
Hagerty's makes a special pearl cleaner - do not EVER use any other chemicals to clean them, especially the dips for cleaning silver.Do NOT clean them in an ultrasonic cleaner, though an ionic cleaner *might* be acceptable. We haven't experimented with pearls and the ionic, so I can't say for sure.
Thanks for reminding me to get my pearls out and wear them. DH bought me a strand before we got married and I haven't worn them in a long time. They look a little funny with the t-shirts I usually wear!
Back to the bead counting. Gotta get this done so we can get the figures to the BEAN counter! <LOL>
Deb - AZ Bead Depot
Apache Junction, AZ
I'll volunteer to help with inventory! There's nothing I enjoy more than handling lots of beads, even if they're not mine! No pepperoni on my pizza please - just veggies and lots of cheese!
On a more serious note Deb, are you familiar with Haggerty's silver foam in the jar? Not the polish in the bottle. I mix pearls with sterling silver quite often. Do you know if the Haggerty's silver foam is gentle enough to not hurt the pearls? Its used like soap and water, so I'm thinking its a pretty mild cleaner.
If you don't answer in this thread, I will post this question in a new thread and will hope you see it eventually. I know you are a busy lady with your bead store - I'm jealous!!!
Good thing I read this. I didn't know you shouldn't keep pearls in a baggie for long periods. I'll need to open up my bags and let them air out for a bit.
I have never heard that the acids and bases in cosmetics actually damage the pearls, but then again you might have more knowledge than me on the subject since you have a jeweler in your family. But actually there was a time where due to a skin irritation problem I had to use blemish balms, and quite a lot of them for at least a few weeks. At that time I didn't know that cosmetics might be harmful to pearl jewelry and therefore continued weating my necklace all the time. Luckily now I don't have that problem anymore although I still use the balm every now and then just to smoothen the skin. I can't say that my pearl necklace got affected by it, it actually still looks like new. I'm of course not saying that you are wrong, you might be right, but I guess it also depends on the quality of the cosmetic product.
I am certified gem expert. I can tell you that the best way to store your pearls is in a cloth bag, or one of those organza bags. Wipe them from time to time with a moist (meaning with water) washcloth, let them air dry and then put them into a cloth bag.
I have been beading for about 10 years now. I have one of those plastic compartment bead boxes with a tons of different pearls in them. They have been in there for about 10 years and they have never lost their luster. But air flows through the bead boxes.
If you have any gemstone beads, I would not reccomend putting them in plastic bags. Bead boxes are ok. But pearls and gemstones do need to breathe.
If your pearls have lost their luster, you might try using a bit of olive oil, but wipe it off right away. Don't soak them, and never use soap or bath gels on them.
I don't think the pearls need air to breath. It doesn't make sense.