How to Care for and Maintain Your Pearl Jewelry for Generations to Come

Quality pearls are expensive and getting more expensive with each passing year. To ensure a lifetime of enjoyment and the ability to pass on quality pearls to future generations, their proper care is essential.

Here are some precautions to consider:

✅ After wearing pearls, gently wipe them with a damp soft cloth to remove dust and traces of sweat or grease from the skin. Then use a microfiber cloth to wipe pearls dry before storing them.

✅ When storing pearls, keep them separate from other jewelry that could potentially scratch their surface. If you store all your jewelry in one box, place the pearls in a separate soft case or pouch.

✅ Store pearl necklaces horizontally to prevent the threads from stretching out and creating spaces between the pearls.

✅ Silk is the best material for storing pearls as it allows air and moisture to pass through. Among fabrics, silk is the most suitable for long-term pearl storage.

Silk pouch for storing pearls - Marina Pearls


Avoid storing pearls in airtight packaging like plastic bags, as they require natural moisture to thrive. Dry environments can cause the pearls to lose water, become brittle, and even crack. If you keep pearls in a safe or live in a hot and dry climate, it's recommended to have a nearby jar of water or humidifier to maintain humidity.

Keep pearls away from bleach, acid, vinegar, ammonia, hairspray, perfumes, and cosmetics as these substances can damage the surface of the pearls.

✅ Put on pearl jewelry last, after showering, applying makeup, perfumes, hairsprays, or hair mousses.

Avoid wearing pearls in pools, at the beach, or in gyms, as pearls are sensitive to chlorine, saltwater, sunblock, and sweat. Contrary to popular belief, pearls do not love water as they grow inside a pearl sac, similar to a child in a placental membrane, without direct contact with water. Also, refrain from wearing pearls while washing dishes or bathing.

✅ If wine, juice, or salad dressing accidentally spills on your necklace, remove the pearls and rinse them under running water. Pat them dry with a paper towel and continue enjoying the event. Brief contact with chemicals won't harm the pearls, but it should be addressed promptly.

✅ In the past, necklaces were strung on silk threads, which would get dirty and stretched from frequent wear. It was recommended to re-string pearls every six months to a year and wash them before re-stringing. Nowadays, professionals use strong threads like Serafil© polyester thread or Tenara©, which are less prone to stretching, or getting dirty as easily as natural silk.

✅ However, both the thread and pearls can get dirty, so it's advisable to periodically wash them in a mild soapy solution (not detergent). Leave the pearls in the water for around 10 minutes to allow the dirt to move away, then gently swish them. Rinse with clean water and let them dry on a damp paper towel. When the paper dries, the pearls will also be dry.

✅ If the pearls are especially dirty, wipe them down with acetone (not nail polish remover). Acetone won't damage the pearls. There are also special liquids available for cleaning pearls and other soft gems.

Avoid using jewelry cleaners that contain ammonia or vinegar.

✅ If dirt accumulates near the holes of vintage pearls, pass an ordinary cotton thread through each wet pearl several times, using a new clean thread each time. This method helps to clean old pearls thoroughly, removing dirt that may not have moved away during the washing process with soap or a special solution.

Never clean pearls in ultrasonic cleaners as they can damage the surface layers of nacre, leading to cracks and chips.

Avoid keeping pearls in saltwater as it dries them out instead of nourishing them, contrary to popular belief. Salt absorbs water, and just like eating salty food can make you thirsty by drawing water from your cells, saltwater has a similar effect on pearls.

✅ If you frequently wear pearls, it's useful to restring them periodically. Knots or spacers (tiny silicone donuts) between the pearls are essential as they prevent the pearls from rubbing against each other. However, very small pearls can be threaded without knots, which is also acceptable.

✅ Vintage pearls, especially Akoya pearls, which naturally have a yellowish hue, may become more yellow over time. To slightly bleach such pearls, place them under a bright sunlight for several hours. Repeat this process over several sunny days until you observe a visible change in color. Remember to turn the pearls each day, exposing one side at a time. Sunlight is the safest and most effective bleach solution for pearls.

✅ Pearl Nourishment

Vintage pearls that have been improperly stored can often appear lackluster. Before washing and restringing such pearls, you can dip them in jojoba oil, which is commonly used in cosmetics to nourish sensitive skin. The pearls will absorb the oil, and then you can apply any pharmaceutical mineral oil. This process will restore their luster, add shine, and help "seal" the pores, preventing dirt, sweat, and dust from being absorbed into pearls' surface. Afterward, be sure to rinse the pearls thoroughly. Everything the pearls need has already been absorbed into the porous surface of the mother-of-pearl, and any excess oil will attract dust and dirt. Give the pearls a swirl in a bowl of soapy water to completely remove any oil residual.

We hope you will find these tips useful and will enjoy your beautiful pearls for many years!