Pearls are a delicate organic gem – they are not as strong as, say, diamonds, making the risk of damage higher if they’re worn every day. But with proper care and caution, you can keep your pearls safe, even with everyday wear. This means keeping them away from cosmetics and acidic materials and storing them safely. It is best to put them on after a shower, and after applying ANY and all products like perfume, lotion, makeup, hair products, and the like. Never go into a pool with pearls. No sunscreen products. Never ever use chemicals or ultrasonic cleaners! Be careful when BBQ and cooking with the high temps and grease.
- Proper care is simple and will preserve the life and luster of your pearls. After every wear, wipe your pearls with a soft cloth. …
- Clean with a damp cloth only as needed. … If they get heavily soiled give them to a jeweler or pearl expert for cleaning.
- Let them dry all the way before storing
- Take them to your jeweler once every year or two for inspection …
- Last on, first off
- Store them flat – do not hang
- Dedicate a space just for your pearls
- Pearls are not meant to stay in your jewelry box – wear them often!
If your pearls get wet, that can easily stretch the silk, attract dirt, and worse like breaking. Pearls can lose their luster from overcleaning! Your natural body oils enhance the luster! Just be careful. Be aware that pearls over time can change color, particularly white ones……they can turn yellow with age, and without proper care, this can be accelerated.
Natural (or wild) pearls, formed without human intervention, are very rare. Many hundreds of pearl oysters or mussels must be gathered and opened, and thus killed, to find even one wild pearl; for many centuries, this was the only way pearls were obtained, and why pearls fetched such extraordinary prices in the past. Cultured pearls are formed in pearl farms, using human intervention most commonly. Two types of mollusks. bivalves or clams. bivalves – the pearl oyster – lives in the sea, while the other – a very different group of bivalves – lives in freshwater; these are the river mussels such as the freshwater pearl mussel.
Let’s look at pearl grading qualities:
Size: bigger more valuable – Especially for multi pearl/stone jewelry.
Shape: Round is the most difficult shape to culture, making it the rarest cultured pearl shape and—if all other factors are equal—also generally the most valuable. There are exceptions, though. Well-formed pear, oval, or baroque (irregularly shaped) cultured pearls are also prized by pearl lovers.
Color: Natural and cultured pearls occur in a broad range of hues. There are warm hues like yellow, orange, and pink, and cool hues like blue, green, and violet. Pearls have a wide range of tone from light to dark. Pearl colors tend to be muted, with a soft, subtle quality. Pearl color can have three components. Bodycolor is the pearl’s dominant overall color. Overtone is one or more translucent colors that lie over a pearl’s bodycolor. And orient is a shimmer of iridescent rainbow colors on or just below a pearl’s surface. All pearls display bodycolor, but only some show overtone, orient, or both.
Luster: Of the seven pearl value factors, luster might be the most important. Luster is what gives a natural or cultured pearl its unique beauty.
- Excellent – Reflections appear bright and sharp
- Very Good – Reflections appear bright and near sharp
- Good – Reflections are bright but not sharp, and slightly hazy around the edges
- Fair – Reflections are weak and blurred
- Poor – Reflections are dim and diffused
Within a pearl type, when other value factors are equal, the higher the luster, the more valuable the pearl.
- Surface quality: Like colored stones, most pearls never achieve perfection. Some might show abrasions that look like a series of scratches on the surface, or a flattened section that doesn’t affect its basic shape or an irregular ridge that looks like a crease or wrinkle. If surface characteristics are numerous or severe, they can affect the durability of the pearl and severely depress its value. Surface characteristics have less effect on the pearl’s beauty and value if they are few in number, or if they are minor enough to be hidden by a drill-hole or mounting.
- Nacre quality: Luster and nacre quality are closely related. If the nucleus is visible under the nacre, or if the pearl has a dull, chalky appearance, you can assume that the nacre is thin. This affects the luster as well as the durability of the pearl.
- Matching: Jewelry designers sometimes deliberately mix colors, shapes, and sizes for unique effects, but for most pearl strands, earrings, or other multiple-pearl jewelry, the pearls should match in all the quality factors.
In closing – I hope you have enjoyed today’s presentation. As a certified pearl specialist, it is my responsibility to know and appreciate all of the grading factors of quality. Typically, I use AAA quality which is very high quality in my designs. There are 4 levels, AAAA is the highest quality and very expensive indeed.
Thanks for tuning in – See you next time!