Care of Pearls

Take proper care of pearls so future generations may also enjoy them.

The pearl is of a lower hardness than any of the precious or semiprecious stones, and almost as soft as malachite, though not so friable or liable to break as is that mineral; nevertheless, it is in many ways one of the most indestructible of natural objects of the low hardness.

Still, proper care of pearls, especially fine pearls, is required; but, if the same attention is accorded them as would be given to a fine piece of lace, velvet, or other fabric, or to a fine jewel, they will last for a number of generations.

If, however, pearls are worn at all times without removal, if they are worn in the bath, if they are thrown on a dressing-table, dropped on the floor, or otherwise ill-treated, if they are worn on dusty automobile rides, in bicycle riding, or during other gymnastic or violent exercise, it is inevitable that their sides will rub together and wear one another away.

If they are worn in the bath or in swimming, the silk string which holds them, should it become soaked, may draw some of the water, accompanied perhaps with dust and perspiration, through the drill hole into the center of the pearl, and this is likely to be absorbed in turn by the various layers of the pearl, in some instances undoubtedly affecting the color, changing it to a yellow or a gray.

It would be well not to wear pearls under the exceptional conditions above mentioned; and, if they are carefully wiped at times, so as to remove any perspiration or dust, their color is not likely to be affected for a long period of time.

Concerning the care of pearls, it is believed by many that wrapping pearls in dyed velvets or in fatty woolen materials, adn locking them up in safe-deposit vaults, may slightly change them.

If there be any foundation for the belief that it is not well to lock pearls in a safe-deposit box, this is probably owing to the fact that the absolute exclusion from the air may cause the drying out of the organic constituent of the pearl.

This may be obviated by putting the pearls in a piece of linen absolutely free from any chemical, at the same time placing with them a bit of blotting-paper or fiber-paper saturated with water; the whole should then be wrapped up in paraffin paper, which will prevent the evaporation of the moisture.

This expert advice about the care of pearls is from Kunz and Stevenson as included their book about pearls.

More care of pearls here.

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