How to Clean Silver and Pearl Necklace

Blair asked: How do I clean a silver and pearl necklace. I have a sterling silver chain necklace with pearls every 1 ½. How can I clean the dulling of the silver without harming the pearls? Cleaning it by hand is difficult to get to the links that are close to the pearls.

Silver requires a delicate touch, but cleaning techniques appropriate for silver can be too much for pearls. Cleaning a piece of jewelry with both silver and pearls can pose a bit of a challenge, especially with intricate silver pieces featuring “nooks and crannies” that are difficult to clean by hand. Although some silver dips are marketed as being safe for pearls, pearls are porous, and therefore, submersion is not recommended. The ideal solution is to take the necklace to a jeweler. If you choose to do it yourself, you won’t get the same results, but you should see an improvement.

You Will Need:

  • Silver polishing cloth
  • Soft cloth
  • Makeup brush
  • Warm water
  • Mild shampoo
  • Small bowl or cup

Steps to Clean the Necklace:

  1. Use a silver polishing cloth to clean the silver part of the necklace. It will be difficult to get in any nooks or between links, so you may need to take it to a jeweler.
  2. Once the silver is clean, you can clean the pearls. Make a solution of warm water with a few drops of mild shampoo.
  3. Lay the necklace on a soft cloth.
  4. Dip the makeup brush in the water solution, then use it to clean the pearls.
  5. Wipe the pearls with a clean damp cloth.
  6. Lay flat to dry.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Consider leaving the tarnish in the deep set areas of the silver. This is often considered part of the charm of silver, as it adds an element of depth to the piece.


  1. Gwen says:

    Thanks for the write-up and I completely agree with your tip on hard to reach tarnish. Nothing looks uglier to me than that bright, even, hard shine of the tarnish-free finishes on silver you find in a lot of stores today. I have a crystal, pearl, and sterling silver necklace and I’m quite happy with the “imperfect” home cleaning results.

  2. Anita says:

    Gwen: I would like to find out where the metal replating companies have all gone?

  3. Bibiana says:

    I had worn my garnets and on returning home, removed the necklace and closed the clutch. The barrel-nut clutch of my garnet necklace has gotten jammed due to sweat. Please advise how I could open it so I could wear my precious garnets once again.

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