Pearl Guide, Pt. 1

Janice Stiles

How To Tell If A Pearl Is Real!

There are so many beautiful shiny objects called “pearls” these day, but it's easy to tell the real ones from the fake ones. To do so, gently rub the pearl against the front of your tooth; if it feels gritty, then it’s a real pearl, whether cultured or natural. If it feels smooth, then it’s not a real pearl regardless of the description. Be careful to not use the edge of your tooth, as you could scratch the pearl!


What kind of pearls are there?


There are really just two kinds of pearls- freshwater & saltwater- with both being real pearls. The details of various pearl descriptions tell a bit about the environment they were grown in as well as the color, size, shape, & price. Pearls come from mollusks even though some folks talk about pearls coming from mussels, which are a type of mollusk. Within the freshwater & saltwater, basic growing conditions have many more possibilities!


Check out the Tres Elegante Pearl ClusterDesigns Pearls and Stones Collection!

My love of pearls began at age 11, when my parents gifted me a pearl ring that I cherish to this day. My pearl passion grew deeper when, at 16, my grandmother gave me a set of graduated Mikimoto pearls my father had brought back from the Korean War. This collection, in its diversity of design, celebrates my love of pearls and their inherent versatility.

Click Here to shop the collection!

Care and Storage of Pearls

A reminder...Pearls are organic creations. It’s their special surface that makes them so beautiful so taking good care of them will help them last and look lovely for a long time. Pearls are very soft, a 2.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning they can scratch easily. Keep pearl jewelry away from all types of chemicals, especially chlorine, ammonia, hair spray, lotion, perfume and makeup.

Wearing...As “water creatures” pearls like moisture, but get the most benefit when they absorb it from the air or from your body. They also benefit from the oils in your skin. So, wearing pearls is actually healthy for them! However, avoid rough fabrics and practice the “last on, first off” rule for pearl jewelry. Never swim, shower or wash dishes while wearing pearls.

Cleaning...While moisture is good for pearls, perspiration can be acidic, which is not good. After wearing your pearl jewelry, use a soft dry cloth to wipe them down before putting them away. If your pearl jewelry becomes dirty, use mild, non-perfumed soapy water on a damp cloth to gently remove the dirt. Pearls should not be submerged in water or any liquid as it can eat away at the epoxy in mountings and damage silk threads. Let pearls dry completely before putting them away. Never, ever, use steam, ultrasonic or jewelry cleaners. If in doubt, take them to a reputable jeweler for cleaning.

Storing...It’s best to store pearl jewelry in a fabric-lined compartment in your jewelry box or drawer, or in a soft fabric pouch. This keeps them away from other jewelry pieces that could scratch the soft surface. Pearl necklaces and bracelets should be stored flat, as hanging them will stretch any silk used in construction. Never use closed plastic boxes or bags for storing pearls. All storage locations should be somewhere with some ambient moisture, as hot, dry conditions can cause pearls to crack. Strung pearl jewelry should be checked once a year and re-strung every few years, based on the advice of a reputable jeweler. Keeping pearl jewelry separate is also best when pearls are designed together with metals and other semi-precious or precious stones.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Tres Elegante Pearl Guide!

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