Monday, October 1, 2012

Pearl Facts

I wanted to take some time to answer some commonly asked questions about pearls.

1. How can I tell if my pearls are real?

There are a few ways to tell. One way to check is to run the pearl along your teeth. Don't bite down on it, just rub it on the front of your tooth. A genuine pearl will feel gritty. It will feel like a little ball of sand across your teeth. An imitation pearl will be smooth. In this same instance, if you want to check your friend's pearl and don't want to be shoving their jewelry in your mouth, there is another way. Rub the pearls on each other. Two genuine pearls will feel gritty against one another.

2. Can I clean my pearl strands?

Many chemicals, including cosmetics, perfumes and perspiration can damage the nacre on pearls. Cultured pearls should be thoroughly cleaned periodically, especially if they are worn often. To help pearls keep their luster, wipe them with a soft cloth after each wearing. To clean pearl strands, wash with a mild soapy water. Some detergents can dull nacre and cause surface pitting so if using a jewelry cleaner, be sure it is pearl-safe. Rinse pearls and lay flat on a towel to dry. Make sure strand is completely dry before wearing or hanging so as not to stretch the silk string.

3. Are cultured pearls genuine pearls?

Yes. A natural pearl is made when a foreign object gets inside a mollusk and irritates the soft tissue. The mollusk will try to reduce the effect of the irritant by coating it with nacre. The nacre is the lustrous part of the pearl that we value. A cultured pearl is a pearl that is the result of human intervention. The irritant in this case is deposited by humans.

4. Why are pearl strands knotted?

Pearl strands should be restrung every year if they are frequently worn. Because pearls rate poor to good in toughness, the constant rubbing together in an unknotted strand can cause damage to the pearls. Knotting pearls is also a safety effect. If the strand breaks, only one or two pearls will be broken loose.