Susan Miller

·Master of Fine Arts in Jewelry Design, Pratt Institute, 2012

·Bachelor of Arts in Gemology, University of California, Los Angeles, May 2005

·Editor-in-Chief, White Victoria (2018 - present)

·Write and research feature articles and profiles for print and online publication

·Contributing Writer, Modern Jeweler and Ornament

·Write and publish freelance articles for IGS and WSJ Magazine

·Jewelry Appraiser (2012 - 2020)

When it comes to jewelry, pearls are among the most beautiful and widely beloved pieces that one can own.

Whether it’s a pair of pearl earrings or an exquisite pearl necklace, these natural gemstones’ gorgeous luster, and timelessness are unparalleled

— not to mention high value! 

However, caring for pearls correctly is essential to maintain their beauty and prevent them from becoming damaged over time.

While diamonds are undeniably timeless, pearls can remain radiant and vibrant for generations when given adequate upkeep.

pearl care

As a jewelry expert,

I’m here to give you a comprehensive guide on cleaning your pearls so that you can keep them looking their best for years to come.

So read on to discover the best methods for cleaning pearls and preserving their delicate luster!

Why Do Pearls Require Special Care?

Pearls are composed of calcium carbonate, known as aragonite, which makes them especially delicate and sensitive to environmental changes.

They quickly absorb dirt, oils, and residue, causing them to become yellow or dull.

Pearls can also become brittle if exposed to chemicals in many soaps and detergents.

pearl care

Additionally, pearls are organic gems, so unlike diamonds or other gemstones, they can be adversely affected by things like water or temperature. 

Let’s explore these factors in detail:

Bright Sunlight

It is believed that Mother-of-pearl contains only 2% water.

When it is lacking, the upper layer of pearls becomes covered with small cracks (which are not always visible), loses its attractive luster, and slowly delaminates. 

Therefore, it is better to leave pearl jewelry at home in the summer and dry weather to prevent this from happening with your jewelry.

High Temperature

High temperature (more than 30 degrees Celsius) indoors or outdoors also contributes to the fact that all the moisture from the material of the mother-of-pearl beauty evaporates. 

So remember:

you should not store pearl jewelry in dry and too-warm rooms. Besides, jewelry boxes should be removed away from batteries or heating devices.

High (More Than 80%) or Low (Less Than 20%) Humidity

pearl care

The beads become cloudy in relatively high or low-humidity places and lose water.

Therefore, the artisans urge the installation of the simplest hygrometer (a device for determining the humidity of the air in the room) in the room where the jewelry is stored and monitor how the atmosphere in the room changes. 

If the air is too dry, you should put a glass of water near the jewelry box:

The moisture will evaporate and maintain the necessary microclimate. And if the humidity is too high, the room should be ventilated frequently.


Debris particles that settle on jewelry cause pearls to discolor, and rubbing against “micro dust” can contribute to the spread of microcracks.

Therefore, the jewelry should be kept in a closed box or zipped pouch.

Skin Oils

pearl care

Pearl jewelry should not be kept in the same box as metal jewelry: contact with metal can cause the discoloration of pearls.

Pearls should also be kept away from your skin, as sebum and sweat are very harmful to them (they can cause yellowing of the jewelry).

Pearls require special care because of their organic nature and delicate composition.

However, taking the time to clean your pearls correctly will preserve their beauty for years to come.

How To Clean Your Pearls Safely?

pearl care

Cleaning your pearls is simple and swift. However, it requires meticulous attention to prevent harm to the nacre.

Cleaning any dust and dirt preserves the natural luster of these precious stones - making this an ideal time to ensure that your necklace, bracelet, or earrings are in excellent condition!

Here are a few tips to make sure you clean your pearls correctly without causing any damage:

What You Will Need

If you are cleaning pearls at home, you will need a few items:

A soft, damp cloth 

Fresh and lukewarm water (not salty) 

Mild soap or gentle shampoo (pH-neutral)

pearl care

Don’t be tempted to use other washing liquids, detergents, or dishwasher soap on your pearls, as this can cause irreparable damage.

In addition, these chemicals may affect the nacre’s luster and even color.

Only opt for a jewelry cleaner if it explicitly states that it is suitable for pearls!

How To Clean Your Pearls

Follow these steps to clean your pearls properly:

Step 1 - Inspect Your Pearls Thoroughly

pearl care

Allocate a few minutes to review the state of your jewelry.

Commonly, these pieces are strung together on a silk thread with knots between each gemstone, meaning that in the unlikely event that it breaks apart, you won’t lose any pearls!

Make sure to give your jewels some attention and confirm they’re safe with this quick assessment.

Ensure your necklace’s silk is not stretched or damaged between the pearls.

Next, inspect the clasp to ensure it opens and closes easily, which can be cleaned with warm soapy water if necessary. 

Step 2 - Wipe Your Pearls with a Soft Cloth

pearl care

Once you’ve inspected your pearls, take a soft cloth and moisten it in freshwater (tap water is fine).

Next, wipe the pearls gently with a damp cloth to remove any dust particles, dirt, or oils that may have accumulated since the last time you wore them.

Use mild soap or shampoo instead of water if your pearls are particularly grubby.

Step 3 - Rinse with Freshwater and Dry with a Soft Cloth

pearl care

To erase all the traces of soap, rinse the pearls in freshwater using your damp cloth.

After rinsing, use a clean, dry cloth to absorb as much moisture as possible.

The soap must be eliminated completely, or your pearls may lose their vibrant shine.

Step 4 - Let the Pearls Dry and Store Them in a Safe Place

pearl care

Once your pearls have been cleaned, dry them on a towel or soft cloth.

Ensure they are not exposed to direct sunlight or heat, as these conditions can damage the nacre.

When your pearls are completely dry, store them in a closed box or zipped pouch, away from other jewelry and out of direct sunlight.

It will keep them safe and their beauty intact! 

To protect your pearls from scratches, always close the clasp securely.


allowing the pearls to air-dry will help maintain their elasticity and keep them looking vibrant for years to come!

How To Care For Your Pearls?

pearl care

Along with cleaning your pearls correctly, you should also take some steps to ensure they remain in excellent condition. 

Here are a few tips to help you care for your pearls:

Store Them Correctly

The best way to store your pearls is in a soft pouch or cloth. Store them away from other jewelry if you want to keep them safe from scratches.

As was already mentioned, you should also keep your pearls out of direct sunlight and heat as these factors can damage the nacre of your gems. 

Avoid Contact With Harsh Chemicals

pearl care

Perfumes, lotions, hairsprays, and other cosmetics can all cause damage to your pearls.

So make sure to apply makeup, creams, and other products before you put on your jewelry.

And never use harsh chemicals, detergents, or abrasives on your pearls!

Handle Your Pearls Gently

When handling your pearls, make sure to do it with care.

For example, hold them by the clasp, not the string, to ensure your pearls are not scratched or broken.

Also, avoid wearing your pearls when carrying out physical activities.

It will prevent any of the gems from chipping or scratching each other. 

Wear Them Regularly

pearl care

If you want to keep your pearls looking beautiful, wear them regularly. The natural oils in our skin help prevent the surface of pearls from drying out, so the more you wear them, the better. 

Have Your Pearls Professionally Checked

pearl care

It is recommended to have your pearls checked by a jeweler or jewelry specialist every few years. It will ensure that your pearls are in good condition and alert you to any potential damage or other issues. 

Polish Your Pearls

If you notice that the surface of your pearls is starting to look dull, it’s a good idea to have them professionally polished. It will restore their original shine and make them look as good as new! 

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your pearls remain beautiful and in pristine condition. Take care of them correctly, and they will last you a lifetime! 

Bottom Line

pearl care

Pearl jewelry is timeless and elegant, but like all jewelry pieces, it needs to be properly cared for. Caring for pearls takes effort and dedication, but it’s worth it. You can keep your pearls looking beautiful for many years with the right methods! 

So make sure to clean them correctly, store them properly, handle them gently and have them checked by a professional every few years. That way, you can keep your pearls shining like new! 

With the right cleaning and care methods, pearls can last for many years and become a beautiful heirloom that you can pass down to future generations!