How to Clean Pearls


Most pearls that we see in jewelry these days are cultured pearls. The unique look of these pearls is created by the nacre, a patina that is created by the clam or oyster. The thickness of this nacre is determined by the length of time the pearl is left in the clam. The thicker the nacre, the more valuable the pearl; protecting this outer layer is of utmost importance. Mild, gentle cleaning will keep your pearls beautiful and lasting for many years.

You Will Need:

  • Mild detergent such as Ivory or Joy
  • Small bowl
  • Warm water
  • Small strainer (if cleaning earrings or rings)
  • Soft cotton cloths

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Close the drain of the sink or insert a strainer into the drain. The last thing you want is to see your precious jewelry slipping down the drain.
  2. Fill the bowl with about 2 cups of warm water.
  3. Add a few drops of mild detergent and mix.
  4. Dip the soft cloth in the solution and gently wipe off each pearl. Do not soak a string of pearls in the solution or it may cause the string to stretch.
  5. Place the pearls on a soft towel or hang and allow to air-dry overnight.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Wait to put on pearls until after you have applied make-up, lotions, perfume and hairspray.
  • Never use ammonia or any harsh chemicals to clean pearls. They will rub off the nacre, leaving you with a plain bead.
  • Wearing your beads often will allow them to absorb the natural oils present on the skin and give them a beautiful luster.
  • Wipe your pearls with a soft lint free cloth each time you take them off.
  • Do not place pearl jewelry in an ultrasonic cleaner.
  • Store pearls separately to avoid scratches.

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