A little about Pearls
Pearls are some of the most exquisite forms of jewelry
that you can find. You can spot them on some of the most elegant women in history. Everyone wears them. There is an element of elegance to a fine piece of pearl jewelry. Even the people from the ancient civilizations seemed to have a fascination for them. Pearls are produced by oysters. It is the result of a natural defense mechanism used by the oysters when dirt or a sand particle gets into their system. They cover the object with nacre until the object is shaped like a pearl. Such natural pearls are not created often. Not all oysters create pearls. These days you also have cultured pearls where farmers place a small piece of mother of pearl shell inside them.
Selecting good pearls
It is tough to know a good pearl when you see one. It can take years of buying experience to get a real natural pearl. Pearls are selected on the basis of size, shape, luster, thickness of the nacre, colour, and blemish. Today you will find both seawater pearls ad freshwater pearls. You will also find natural pearls and cultured pearls. If you are looking for seawater pearl, it is good to choose one with thick nacre to prevent it from chipping or flaking. Since pearls are natural creations, one must expect slight blemishes. A clean pearl is rare to find and can be very expensive. Pearls with a high luster are those that have a high glow. There is no international standard for grading pearls. Classic white and cream pearls are the safest bet. When you choose your pearl earrings, make sure they assembled well and it complements your necklace.
Natural pearls are sold be carat weight and cultured pearls are sold by their size in millimeters. Prices of pearls are higher when the size exceeds about 7mm. Very few pearls are the perfect shape. However, the rounder they are the more expensive they get. Pearls can also be colored or irradiated to achieve a uniform color, hence the buyer should be aware when looking for a good pearl.
Caring for your pearl jewelry
A good pearl earring always complements your personality. In order for your pearls to last you a lifetime you must take good care of it. Since pearls are natural creations, they contain calcareous crystals, water and protein. Hence they are sensitive to acids and other chemicals and tend to get dry over time. They are also sensitive to heat. Here are a few ways you can keep those pairs of earrings safe and clean:
It is a good idea to clean pearls every night. Rub them with a cotton swab with a few drops of olive oil. This keeps them moist and prevents them from drying. It also maintains their luster. However, wrapping them in a damp cloth would enhance the breaking up. You can dampen them on a regular basis using slightly salted water.
Pearls are not as hard as other precious stones and contact with other hard surfaces damage them. Hence it is recommended that you keep your pearls separate and not with your other jewelry. This is also the reason why you find that pearls are almost always sold in soft silk pouches.
It is easy to clean pearls. Just rub the pearls with a soft damp cloth or cotton swab so that it removes the sweat. Sweat is slightly acidic and may tend to eat up the nacre. Washing your string of pearls can stretch out the thread and make it appear shabby.
You must also be careful while wearing perfume as harsh chemicals damage pearls. Even lotions and hair sprays damage them. So wear them after you have made up completely.
Even touching the pearl with your hand can cause damage to the pearl. The skin oils may react with the pearl. To prevent this hold the metal part of your earring instead of the pearl while removing it. Doing this will also prevent the pearl from loosening.
Sometimes the reverse also works. If you have not worn them in a long time, you will find that they begin to lose their luster. Try wearing them as the body’s natural oils will renew the moisture in the pearls.
When you clean your pearl pay special attention to the areas around the holes. This is the part where dirt accumulates most.
Do not use jewelry-cleaning solutions, as pearls are sensitive to chemicals. However, if the product specifically mentions it is suitable for them.
Steam cleaning harms the pearls. It speeds the drying up. Pearls are not heat resistant.
Never use detergents, soaps, bleaches or other ammonia based cleaners.
Do not use cleaning abrasives to clean your pearls. They scratch the surface of the pearl. If there is stubborn dirt, try using a soft cloth or your fingernails to remove it.
Never brush your pearls. After washing your pearls, dry them by placing them on a moist kitchen towel. Your pearl is dry when the towel is dry.
Visit your jeweler regularly to check of your pearls are securely mounted and to see if the string is still in good condition. You can ask him for tips to take care of your pearls.