Fine cultured pearls should last for years or even decades, but only when they’re properly taken care of. It’s probably a good idea to heed these tips:
First of all, pearls should be kept away from perfumes, cosmetics, perspiration, and dirt. Don’t spray perfume on your neck when wearing them. Instead, opt for behind your ears and wrists, as Tiffany & Co. advises. Acid and akali substances are also harmful to pearls, including chemicals found in perfumes, skincare products, hair products and even perspiration because of their salt content. However, your own body oils are actually beneficial for the pearls because it keeps them from drying out, so long as it’s not heavy perspiration. This also applies to colored pearls.
Tiffany & Co. advises pearl owners to follow the old adage “pearls should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off”.
If your pearls get soiled, clean them by gently wiping them with a slightly damp cloth. Do not use a chemical-based cleaner on them.
Do not store your pearls with other pieces of jewelry, because they can be easily scratched. Separate the pearls from other items by keeping them in a soft bag or a soft cloth wrap.
Tiffany & Co.’s lovely cultured pearls (shown here) are strung on pure silk with knots between each cultured pearl. The silk will stretch over time, weaken and become soiled. If you wear your cultured pearls regularly, Tiffany’s advises having the pearls professionally cleaned and restrung annually to prevent it from breaking.