"Prevention is worth a pound of cure" is an adage that is certainly true when it comes to how to care for pearls. Once damage has been done to your precious gems it is very hard to undo it. For that reason a good routine to preserve them is the best way to care for your pearls. Caring for them on a continual basis is easier than having to repair them because of neglect.
One of the best things to do for your pearls is to wear them. This will save them from going brittle because of being forgotten about. Remember Pearls come from the water so if the place they are kept is too dry then it would be damaging to them. They are never to be heated in any way.
There is also the 'last and first' rule. Pearls should be the 'last' thing you put on before a night out and also the 'first' thing that you take off when you get home. They are very sensitive to chemicals so it is best to put them on after you have used make up, perfume or hair spray. Let any spray dry before putting on the pearls. For this same reason you will want to take them off immediately upon arriving at home.
There are varying ideas on how to clean them when you get home. I just wipe them with a soft, clean semi-damp cloth. Others use a damp or a dry cloth which will work equally well. Never use chlorine or detergent, nor cleaning products that are not designed specifically for pearls. Vinegar or ammonia will likewise ruin them.
It has been said that acetone nail polish remover can clean pearls that are very dirty. Some have used this but many prefer to not use anything other than just a mild soap. A mild soap could be something like a Castile soap. I also recommend that you use chlorine free water if at all possible.
People have immersed their pearls in water and then the string has gotten wet. This has caused dirt to be attracted to the string. The best choice if your string is very dirty is to have the strand restrung. The choices for restringing pearls can be nylon, silk or silk nylon. The preferred choice is silk. If you use your pearls often restringing can be done once a year. If not used as often then every 3 or 4 years is sufficient.
After using your pearls they are best put into a soft bag inside a jewelry box rather that touching other jewels that you have. This will prevent scratching or other harm done to your pearls. It's one of the most important things to remember when thinking of how to care for pearls.
Each owner of pearls will have to make their own decisions regarding how they will treat their pearls. We have given a few guidelines to follow so you will know best how to preserve your precious gems.
Be assured, through careful preservation of your pearls, you will enjoy them for a lifetime.