5 Things You Should Never Do With (or to) Your Pearls: And a few reasons why.
1) Never Knot Your Pearls.
There are two ways to knot pearls: One is good, one is very bad. The first (good) type of knotting consists of small knots tied between each bead (i.e., pearl) in a strand. This typically lengthens a string of beads, reduces friction between the individual beads, and helps a strand of beads to ‘fall’ in a smooth curve around the wearer’s neck. (This type of knotting also ensures that if a necklace breaks, only one, or two, beads risk being lost.)
The second (bad) type of knotting consists of a large knot tied at the half-way point of a long necklace in order to (temporarily) shorten it. This is a common method of adapting an opera-length pearl necklace to day-wear.
Unfortunately, making a knot out of your pearl necklace unintentionally scratches the nacre of the pearls (thereby lessening the lustre of the individual pearls and the beauty of the whole strand). This also puts additional stress on the pearls, increasing the likelihood that the strand will break, or an individual pearl will crack.
2) Never wear your pearls to the hairdresser’s.
Pearls are sensitive objects and exposure to air-born chemicals, oils, or paints, can dull the lustre of pearls. Try to avoid spraying any type of hair-product, body lotion, or perfume in the vicinity of your pearls. Because pearls are organic products they can be stained by coloring agents, oils, or makeup. In order to keep your pearls glowing, try to put your pearl earrings on after you do your hair. Never allow your pearls to come in contact with pancake make-up.
3) Never wear your pearls while doing the dishes.
Pearls are sensitive organic objects and can be dulled or damaged by soaps, detergents, grease, and various cleaning fluids.
4) Never use jewelry cleaners to clean your pearls.
Most jewelry cleaners –liquid dips, pastes, and silver cloths– are designed to clean minerals and metals and may damage an organic material such as a pearl.
If you have a pearl necklace with a metal clasp that requires cleaning, use a dry cloth to polish the clasp. If the clasp requires further cleaning, consider removing the clasp from the necklace and cleaning it seperately. If you have a pearl that is set in a piece of jewelry that needs to be cleaned, have it cleaned by someone who has experience cleaning pearls.
5) Never wear your pearls in a smoke filled room.
Any smoky or greasy atmosphere can affect pearls. Tobacco smoke can be particularly insidious. Pearls can absorb nicotine and develop a dull yellowish patina. Layers of nicotine residue can make the surface of a pearl sticky and cause fine dust to adhere to the surface, further dulling the lustre.