Cleaning Pearl Jewellery

strands of pearls

Cleaning Pearl Jewellery

Need a little bit of advice on cleaning pearl jewellery? How often should you clean pearl jewellery? What is the best way to clean pearl jewellery? Cleaning a pearl necklace? All this and more answered in our cleaning pearl jewellery guide.

Introduction

Pearls are a little bit different to other gemstones. You need to take a bit of extra attention and care when cleaning pearl jewellery as they are a lot more delicate. With the way pearls are structurally made up, they are susceptible to scratches and scuffs. After all, pearls have a very low rating of 2.5 on the Mohs scale. They are also very vulnerable to harsh chemicals like ammonia found in day to day cleaning products which is why correct care and cleaning methods for pearls is so important.

With pearl jewellery, it is generally recommended to clean it after each wear as the acids in your sweat can actually have a negative effect on pearls. Another thing to point out is that pearls are very sensitive to temperature changes and may get damaged so please bear this mind when cleaning it. See our guides below for cleaning pearls on a strand, or pearls on precious metal jewellery.

Pearls On A Strand

Submerging pearl jewellery that is on a strand in any kind of solution is not a good idea as moisture can get trapped in the drill holes of the pearls. Silk strand, which most pearl jewellery is often created with, can also weaken when wet, so when cleaning pearl jewellery on a strand we recommend:

woman wearing a pearl bracelet
  1. Wet a soft, lint free cloth with room temperature water 
  2. Gently dab the pearls to remove any dirt or residue
  3. Use a soft brush to carefully remove any dirt on the strand or trapped in the knots. 
  4. Using a separate lint free cloth, dab the jewellery dry being sure to pay extra attention to moisture build up in the knots. 
  5. Leave your jewellery on a dry towel to make sure it is properly dried before storing. (please never use a hairdryer or expose this type of jewellery to any kind of drastic temperature change.)

Connoisseurs Jewellery Wipes are perfect for cleaning pearl jewellery. The small lightweight packaging also makes them perfect for travel so you can keep your pearls shimmering while you’re on the go.

Connoisseurs Jewellery Wipes on a white background

Pearls Set On Precious Metals

When cleaning pearl jewellery that is set on precious metals, you can use the method of room temperature water and a very small amount of mild washing up liquid. The two most important things about using this method are to be very careful of the temperature of the water to make sure you don’t expose the pearl to a drastic temperature change and to make sure the washing up liquid is completely free from ammonia and other harsh chemicals.

However in my experience, the safest, fastest and most efficient way of cleaning pearl jewellery on precious metal is to use a very delicate jewellery cleaner. We use Connoisseurs Delicate Jewellery Cleaner which the instructions for are further down in the guide. If you are using a different jewellery cleaner, be sure to carefully read the instructions before using.

Connoisseurs Delicate Jewellery Cleaner
  1. Unscrew the lid and remove the seal. 
  2. Place one piece of jewellery into the dip tray. 
  3. Submerge the jewellery in the solution and let it soak for no longer than 10 seconds. 
  4. Remove the dip tray and rinse the jewellery under room temperature water to remove residue
  5. Use a soft brush to clean any hard to reach areas
  6. Gently dab the jewellery dry using a soft, lint free cloth
  7. Give your jewellery a polish using a polishing cloth to bring out its shine. (Connoisseurs Ultrasoft Gold or Silver Polishing Cloths are ideal as they leave an anti tarnish layer)
Mild Washing Up Liquid & Water

If you do not have access to these products however, you can still use the water and mild detergent method. TAKE CARE to ensure that you use room temperature water as pearls are very sensitive to drastic temperature changes and may get damaged. Also please check that the washing up liquid you use is completely free from ammonia and perfume as these will damage your jewellery. Please NEVER submerge your pearl or in water as it may damage the pearl:

  • Fill a bowl with room temperature water and a small drop of mild washing up liquid. 
  • Lightly wet a soft cloth & carefully wipe your jewellery to get off any dirt or stains. 
  • Dab your jewellery dry gently with a soft, lint free cloth making sure the jewellery is fully dried before storing. 
  • Polish the metal on your jewellery with a polishing cloth. (Connoisseurs Ultrasoft Gold or Silver Polishing Cloths are ideal for this)
Stay Away From:

PLEASE NEVER USE BLEACH OR HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS ON YOUR PEARL JEWELLERY. These types of cleaners are a surefire way to ruin your jewellery in no time and should be avoided at all costs. 

Toothpaste is another novel cleaning method we recommend staying clear of as the chemicals inside can strip away the metals of your jewellery over time and leave it looking dull.

It is not recommended to use any kind of ultra sonic cleaner on your pearl jewellery as the heat and chemicals may have a negative effect on them over time.

Submerging pearls in water may damage the pearl. It is also important to make sure you remove any pearl jewellery when doing any exercise to avoid perspiration and especially when swimming as chlorine can have a negative effect on jewellery.