Dust, pollution, air, chemicals, and acids all erode or tarnish silver, gold and pearl jewellery. Chlorine in particular. Heat can dry out pearls. Oxygen tarnishes silver. The softer the metal, the more vulnerable. So, best to avoid them all as far as possible. To this end:
- Put on your jewellery AFTER you have put on your make up, hairspray and your perfume (both can erode, tarnish etc). Make it the first item you take off when getting undressed (!) - ideally!
- Never wear in chlorine - pools, hot tubs etc.
TO KEEP CLEAN:
- Clean regularly. This is boring but important. Little and often. We could all do with slowing down anyway, I do enjoy taking a moment to look after my jewellery. Pearls should really be polished gently with a soft, lint free cloth after every use, but I try to do it once a week/month depending on wear. This applies to silver and gold too. A regular polish with a soft, lint free cloth keeps its beauty. For example, everyday perspiration, which is acidic, is good to get off with a cloth to avoid erosion. If very dirty, like inherited pieces, forgotten pieces etc. Best to take to a jeweller to clean.
- Store well. I keep my silver in ziploc bags as this slows tarnishing and I polish my everyday silver items with a proper jewellery silver cloth (john lewis sell them) at least once a week. I then keep my jewellery in my jewellery boxes as this keeps temperature cool and minimises other pollution.
- Separate pearls from other jewelry. Although quite robust (they won't shatter if you step on them) pearls are very soft and don't want to be sitting next to scratchy things - such as silver and gold!
- Moisture. pearls don't want to be kept in zipped bags as they need the moisture in the air. However if you do get them wet it is key to let the thread dry before putting them away as otherwise the string they are strung on will stretch. We supply all our jewellery in soft pouches which are ideal to keep each piece in. If you are really organised you could print out a picture from our website to put on the outside of each bag.....If it's good enough for shoes, it's good enough for jewellery! You can polish pearls with a slightly damp cloth, but make sure you then polish them with a dry one so they don't go away wet.
Re-polishing. You can send your jewellery to be polished professionally. We use an engraver and they can polish jewellery too. Obviously quite expensive it is useful if it is heavily tarnished.
- Use commercial cleaners, ultrasonic cleaner, or strong detergents, toothbrushes, abrasive or scouring pads, on pearls.
- Wear pearls wet, or hang them up as the string will stretch.
- Keep pearls near heaters or strong light - made from 2-4% water if they get dehydrated they can get brittle and crack. Safe deposit boxes can be unusually dry so if you keep your pearls there take them out regularly!
STORAGE SOLUTIONS: For a fun, stylish and practical way to store earrings buy a brightly coloured ice cube tray (ideally with a lid to keep dust off) and pop a pair of earrings in each compartment.