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How to care for your cultured pearls
Some women's skin are more acid than others. If a pearl necklace is regularly worn, as it should be, some of the pearls will constantly be in close contact with the woman's skin on her neck at the shoulder line. Pearl pendants do not always have such constant contact with a woman's skin. The pearls in the necklace will gradually absorb acid from the skin and the acid will slowly eat into the spherical pearl. Over time the pearl will not only lose its luster, but will become barrel-shaped. You can slow this process by wiping the pearls with a soft cloth after wearing them.
Besides being soft, pearls are easily damaged by chemicals like perfume, vinegar and lemon juice. Heat can turn pearls brown or dry them out and make them crack. Dry air can also damage pearls. Most safe deposit vaults have very dry air and can damage pearls.
When taking off a pearl ring, grasp the shank, or metal part, rather than the pearl. This will prevent the pearl from loosening and coming into contact with skin oil on your hand.
Because of their delicate nature, special care must be taken when cleaning.
After you wear pearls, just wipe them off with a soft cloth or chamois, which may be dry or damp. This will prevent dirt from accumulating and keep perspiration, which is slightly acidic, from eating away at the pearl nacre. You can even use a drop of olive oil on the cloth to help maintain their luster.
If pearls have not been kept clean and are very dirty, they can be cleaned by your jeweler or they can be cleans using special pearl cleaner. Be careful using other types of jewelry cleaner or soap. Some liquid soaps, such as Dawn, can damage pearls. Pay attention to the areas around the drill holes where dirt may tend to collect.
After washing your pearls, lay them flat in a moist kitchen towel to dry. When the towel is dry, your pearls should be dry.