It's no secret that Pearls are back on trend already for a while now, so if you have any vintage pearl necklaces from your grandmother, don't hesitate to take them out for a spin.
And while Pearl necklaces have been around for centuries, there are many people that don't know how to take good care of them.
So let's start by mentioning the most important fact;
real pearls, be that freshwater or saltwater, are very delicate gems that need gentle care and love.
The big NO's:
You cannot wear your pearl necklace in the shower. Nor in the swimming pool.
And although you'd think "ah pearls come from the sea, why would it be bad to put them back in the sea?" let me stop you there and say, you simply can't do that either ;)
The list of things you can't do with pearl necklaces is long and it also includes avoiding any exposure to harsh chemicals, perfumes, body lotions, sweat and so on and so forth.
What is important though, is to understand why you can't do those things :)
As i mentioned before, pearls are a very delicate gem.
Contrary to other gems, they are produced by a living shell mollusk in sea or lake water.
In very simple words, a pearl consists of a harder exterior and yet their interior is very powdery and soft.
Traditional pearl necklaces are made by knotting a silk thread that goes directly through the center of the pearls. The silk thread is gentle enough to the interior of the pearls, ensuring longevity. The knots between the pearls help with keeping them from scratching each other, while it also secures them from flying all over the place in the case that your necklace breaks.
Should you make your necklace wet, the thread would stretch and therefore lose its shape. Moreover, the moisture would start destroying the pearls from inside out, which is definitely something you don't want.
But OK, I've only been focusing on what you shouldn't do. Let's take a moment to explain what you should do too, shall we?
First and foremost, you should enjoy your pearl necklaces by wearing them. However, after wearing them for a full day it'd be nice to wipe them off with a soft cloth. That will remove any excess oils and dust from their surface.
Ideally you should store them flat, not hanging. I know they look beautiful hung, but again the string might stretch and lose its shape. So try to store them flat, away from excess moisture, in a dark and dry place.
Avoid storing them with other jewelry because they might scratch and lose their lustre.
A good option is to put them is soft fabric jewelry pouches and then add those in a jewelry box with compartments, so that you don't stack them on top of many other jewelry pieces.
When the time comes that they need some deeper cleaning, wipe them off carefully with a dry cloth. Then proceed to make a small edge of your cloth dump and wipe carefully only the exterior surface of your pearls to remove any extra debris that might have accumulated over the years.
Please avoid making the cloth too wet and don't scratch the surface while wiping them.
Undoubtedly, that's a long list of dos and don'ts but believe me it's really worth the effort and that way you'll get to enjoy your pearls for life -- and why not, the next generations too!