How to Care for Pearls
Fine cultured pearls should last for many years, even generations---but only if they are properly cared for.
Cultured pearls should be kept free of perfumes, cosmetics, perspiration and dirt, advises Tiffany & Co. Acid and akali substances can be harmful to pearls, including chemicals found in perfumes, skincare products, hair products and even perspiration due to the salt content. On the other hand, the body's natural oils (apart from heavy perspiration) are actually beneficial for pearls and keeps them from drying out. The issues are the same for colored pearls. A cultured South Sea, Tahitian and golden pearl necklace with a diamond clasp by Tiffany & Co. is seen above.
Tiffany & Co. advises pearl owners to follow the old adage "pearls should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off". Avoid getting your pearls wet and don't wear them when bathing.
If your pearls are soiled, clean them by gently wiping the pearls with a slightly damp cloth. Do not use a chemical-based cleaner on them, as they can become damaged.
Do not store your pearls with other pieces of jewelry, as they can be easily scratched. Separate the pearls from other items by keeping them in a soft bag or wrap them in a cloth before storing them.
Tiffany & Co. cultured pearls are strung on pure silk with knots between each cultured pearl. Over time, the silk will stretch, weaken and become soiled. If you wear your cultured pearls regularly, Tiffany's advises having the pearls professionally cleaned and restrung annually. This will prevent the strand from breaking.