How To Buy, Clean and Care for Pearl Jewelry

If you want to invest in a classic piece of jewelry that will never go out of style, consider buying a strand of pearls. This will be the perfect touch for every occasion. Whether you are wearing jeans and a blouse for a casual luncheon out or are putting on a formal dress for a wedding, pearls can be the perfect accessory to complete your look and give you the elegance you desire.

How to Buy Pearls:

  1. When shopping for pearls, consider the factors that affect the value. This includes the luster, the thickness, the shape, the texture, the size and the color. Understand that the luster refers to the glow or brilliance of the finish. High quality pearls have a high shine.
  2. Be aware of the shape of the pearls. Look for very round ones that have a smooth texture or surface that is not marred by imperfections.
  3. Understand that the size of pearls is measured in millimeters. Try on different sizes to see what suits you best.
  4. Also try on different pearl lengths. The most popular styles are in the 17 to 19 inch length range, which is very versatile and goes with many outfits.
  5. Consider buying a graduated strand of pearls with the largest in the center and then getting progressively smaller toward the clasp.
  6. Realize that pearls come in different colors. Some of the most popular options include shades of white, cream, gold and black.
  7. Whether you are buying a pair of earrings or a necklace, make sure that the pearls match each other well, which adds to the value.
  8. Shop around and look at the four types of cultured pearls that exist: Akoya pearls are the most affordable and appeal to a wide range of people with their high quality and luster. Other options include black Tahitian pearls and South Sea Pearls, which come with a golden tint or in white, or freshwater pearls, the least expensive choice.
  9. Understand that pearls come in different grades: AAA and AAA+ quality are the highest quality. For less expensive options, try A or AA.
  10. Just as the range of pearls is large, so is the quality and price range. Look for pearls at fine jewelry stores, online stores and auctions.
  11. Make sure you know your maximum price range and look at the options within this range to get the most for your money.
  12. Don't limit your jewelry searching to one place. Different jewelers carry different selections, so shop around to see what is out there.
  13. Ask about the grade of pearls before you buy and request documentation of the value.
  14. Lay the strand of pearls flat on the velvet case to look for any blemishes before you close the deal.
  15. Make sure that if an outside appraiser doesn't agree with the valuation of the pearls, you can get your money back

How to Clean Pearls:

  1. Don't put on your pearls until after you've put on your makeup, perfume and lotions. This will prevent these products from building up on your jewelry.
  2. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to wipe your pearls after you take them off.
  3. Consider buying a special cleaning solution that is formulated specifically for pearls.
  4. You can also ask a jeweler to professionally clean them for you.
  5. If your pearls have become dull, use a damp cloth to gently pat them clean, then let them dry flat.
  6. To return the luster, wipe the pearls with a little olive oil on a cloth. This should bring the shine back.

How to Care for Pearls:

  1. Realize that pearls are very delicate so handle them with care to ensure they will last so you can hand them down to future generations.
  2. Store them away from any other jewelry, as other gemstones can scratch them.
  3. Select a velvet-lined jewelry box with separate compartments or keep them in a silk pouch.
  4. Check the silk cord that holds the pearls regularly to be sure it is not fraying.
  5. Every year or two, ask a professional jeweler to restring your strand of pearls.
  6. Insist on using pure silk thread or a nylon necklace cord. Both are strong and durable.
  7. Ask to have your pearls individually knotted. This will prevent the pearls from rubbing against each other and will also protect them if the cord were to break.
  8. If you prefer a more modern look, instead of having pearls strung on a rope, ask for them to be strung on a wire instead.


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- The classifications of pearls is wrong. The types are sweet water pearls, Akoia and Tahitian, also known as South Sea. South Sea and Tahitian are the same kind, and there are black Akoias as well as white Tahitians.
- You must never use any product on pearls, they have pores. So, never use olive oil.
- Velvet keeps moisture and silk doesn’t let the air in. Pearls must be kept wrapped in cellophane paper to avoid moisture and yet allow air circulation.
- While storing them, take care with the metal closing clips. They can scratch the pearls.
- Never use any cosmetic before or after putting your pearls on. Moisture creams and perfumes may damage your pearls and make up may stain it, even if they are only a thin layer on your skin.

By Yardena Sheery