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18k Gold Vermeil & Pearls

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How to take care of your pearl jewellery

Let’s face it, pearls are stunning - and we want to keep them that way.
But when you’re enjoying your pearl jewellery on a daily basis, it’s not always your main priority to ensure they’re looking their best and not losing that special shine. To maintain this brilliance, however, there are a few steps you can take to avoid damaging your pearls, without spending too much time cleaning them.
Pearls are different from the other pieces of jewellery in your collection and, although you should try to look after all your pieces carefully, pearls just need that little bit of extra care and attention - just like you.
Below, we’ve created a complete and simple guide on how to take care of your pearl jewellery, whether you’ve owned them for years or are thinking about purchasing from our pearl collections.

Why do pearls need special care?

It’s always important to know the why behind our actions, especially when it comes to caring for your jewellery. With lots of misinformation on social media and so-called ‘experts’, conflicting opinions can potentially lead to your pieces being damaged.

With pearls, this is even more important. As an organic gem, formed inside a living organism, they have a different composition from gemstones. Beginning life in an oyster or mussel, pearls actually occur when a parasite or irritant enters and makes itself at home. The idea that a beautiful pearl is created from this is extraordinary!

In order to protect itself from irritation, the oyster or mussel begins to form a protective layer around it. These fluid layers, much like an onion, create what we know as a pearl. If you want to get really scientific, the proper name for these layers is ‘nacre’ - basically the shell of the pearl.

As you can see, this process is intricate and delicate - the pearl is protected in the oyster or mussel and allowed to build itself up until the vessel no longer feels the irritation. But when the pearl is removed from the oyster or mussel, this is where special care should be taken to ensure the pearl isn’t exposed to bright and harsh light, as well as being stored appropriately so it doesn’t dry out.

At BRUNA, we only source our natural materials , such as our organic pearls, as responsibly as possible - which means we know the importance of providing that special care.

Can pearls lose their lustre?

As with most things over time, age starts to take effect - and this is no different for pearls, especially if they haven’t been given the special care that they deserve. One element that attracts so many of us to pearls is their natural lustre. This is how the pearls interact with light and what we might normally just describe as ‘shiny’. But it’s so much more than that. The lustre, or lustre, of a pearl, is its brilliance and what makes them so unique.

Throughout the years, pearls can lose their lustre, becoming dull. However, with due care and attention, there are plenty of ways to look after and maintain the lustre of your pearls.

Things to remember when wearing pearls

We don’t like to push rules on you, but when it comes to wearing pearls, it’s a great idea to get into some good habits, especially if you’re hoping to wear your pearls regularly (which we hope you will!).

Below, we’ve created a quick-fire list, which will give you the basics when it comes to wearing your pearl jewellery.

The last on, first off rule

With most jewellery, it’s always advisable to ensure you put your pieces on after you’ve got dressed and used any perfumes or other cosmetic products, such as deodorant or make-up. And when it comes to winding down for the day, your jewellery should be the first thing you remove and put away.

From a physical point of view, this means that you’re less likely to damage your pearl jewellery by catching it on any clothing. This is particularly important if you’re wearing a longer set of earrings, such as our St. Ives pair . Taking your pearls off first also means you can store them away safely, without leaving them lying around on hard surfaces.

Cosmetics and perfumes can be very harmful to your pearls, aside from dulling their natural shine. Although it can be tempting to spritz your favourite scent after you’ve finished getting ready, we’d always recommend doing this before you put on both your clothing and your jewellery.

Avoid household chemicals while wearing pearls

All of our pearl jewellery is made with organic, seawater pearls, which is why it’s SO important to avoid any hard household chemicals whilst wearing them.

Pearls can be affected very easily by household cleaners, particularly ones with abrasive qualities. If you’re thinking about doing a spot of housework before removing your jewellery - think again! No dusty surface is worth damaging your pearls for, believe us.

Don’t cook while wearing pearls

Similar to cleaning products, cooking oils and spices can be extremely harmful to your pearl jewellery, especially if you’re wearing something like our Riva ring, made completely from a string of pearls.

Flavours and products like vinegar or lemon juice, with acidic properties, will damage the nacre and leave your pearls exposed. Grease, oil, and general food grime might be able to be wiped off your pearls but will leave lasting marks.

Be mindful of your beauty products while wearing pearls

It’s not just perfume and deodorant that can affect the lustre of your pearls. Oil-based moisturisers (and that expensive eye cream you just bought) can all affect your jewellery. A great rule of thumb is to ensure you apply all these products before putting on your pearls - but also avoid putting any products on areas on your body where your jewellery might sit.

For example, if you’re wearing a pearl bracelet, don’t put your usual spritz of perfume on your wrist. If you’re wearing a pearl choker, it might be a good idea to forgo your neck cream, just this once. If you can’t avoid applying certain products to particular areas, always ensure the products have absorbed into your skin before putting your pearls on. You should always wash your hands before touching your pearl jewellery as well.

Avoid dry heat while wearing pearls

When we refer to ‘dry heat’ we mean hairdryers, curling tongs, or hair straighteners - anything that creates heat. So, ensure you style your hair before you put your pearls on, regardless of the pieces you’re wearing.

Pearls are sensitive to temperature, as they’re formed in water, so it can be really damaging to expose them to heat.

Don’t bathe or swim in pearls

Although pearls were formed in the oceans, this doesn’t mean they want to go back there. When formed, pearls are protected in a mussel or oyster - not directly floating in seawater. If you decide to wear your pearls whilst swimming, the moisture will directly damage the jewellery, by eroding the string that the pearls sit on, to take the lustre off.

Always safely store your pearl jewellery away before going swimming, in both the sea and a chlorine-filled swimming pool. Not only that, but you run the risk of losing it!

Avoid abrasive clothing

We’ve all been there - you’re wearing your favourite woolly jumper, but it’s not quite cool enough to keep it on. You rip it off over your head and an earring or necklace clasp gets caught, flying across the room, out of your life forever.

With pearls, abrasive clothing can be detrimental, even if you’re not as careless as this when removing clothing. Soft fabrics, like silk and cotton, are ideal to wear your pearl pieces on, as they can’t catch or even scratch the pearls.

Check the string or setting every time you wear pearls

Losing jewellery is never a fun experience, particularly if your pieces have sentimental value, such as our bridal range.

Before you even consider wearing your pearl jewellery, you should always check the string and fixings. Anything loose or frayed is an indication of wear and tear but means that your pearls are at risk of falling apart. Having your pearl jewellery restrung is a straightforward process and will help them to last for longer.

Don’t wear pearls to bed

Although pearl jewellery is beautiful, it’s not (and shouldn’t be) something you should consider wearing all the time - certainly every day, but not all day every day.

Wearing pearl jewellery is a massive no-no - not only because it can damage the jewellery, but also because it probably won’t be very comfortable!

Don’t wear pearls while exercising

Sweat is another liquid that you should try to avoid interacting with your pearl jewellery. Exposing pearls to regular perspiration can dull their shine and mean that they’ll require more cleaning than usual.

Exercising with pearl jewellery means you also run the risk of damaging or losing your pieces - and no run or gym class is worth that risk.

Wear your pearls often

Although it might feel like there are a lot of ‘rules’ to follow when it comes to wearing pearl jewellery, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear them often. At BRUNA, our range of pearl jewellery sets are perfect for every day and every occasion.

How to store your pearls

We’ve already spoken a lot about storing your pearls correctly, but let’s touch on that in a little more detail. To really maintain their lustre and keep them looking their best, pearls require a little more consideration than your other pieces when it comes to storage.

Store pearls separately from other jewellery

When it comes to your gold necklaces you might have these all hung up on your jewellery rack, mixed in with some silver too - but with pearl jewellery, it’s essential that they’re stored away from other pieces.

Pearls can be scratched easily, so you should always place them in a velvet bag or storage box.

Store them flat, don’t hang

Having your jewellery on show can be aesthetically pleasing, but with pearl necklaces, it’s essential that they’re stored flat, rather than hanging alongside your other pieces. This is because the string can be weakened and over time damage the necklace.

Avoid storing pearls in plastic containers

Whether it’s plastic bags or boxes, pearls aren’t a fan - and rightly so. It can dry them out and stop the pearls from breathing. The chemicals in plastic can actually damage your jewellery too. Soft velvet pouches or even a cloth is a much better option for your pearl jewellery.

Store your pearls away from excessive heat or cold

We’ve touched on the fact that heat can affect your pearls - but so can the cold. Storing them at a moderate temperature, away from windows and radiators, can ensure they maintain their beauty and their substance.

When travelling, carry your pearls in a soft linen pouch

It can be tempting to be a little lack-lustre (excuse the pun) when it comes to storing pearl jewellery properly when travelling - but a simple solution to this is to carry a soft linen or velvet pouch with you, protecting your pearls from the rest of your luggage.

How to clean pearls

Now you know how to protect your pearl jewellery from damage, we can look at how to clean them, without impacting their shine.

Cleaning mixed jewellery

At BRUNA, our pearl pieces often incorporate beautiful gold too. Although looking after the gold elements of your jewellery is important, the pearls should always indicate what cleaning products to use and how to clean them. Gold is far more durable, so you should always concentrate on the more delicate elements.

Use a soft, damp cloth

Abrasive cloths can potentially scratch your pearls. Soft, damp cloths will allow you to remove any dirt and grime gently, without overloading your pearls with water or chemicals.

Choose pearl-safe cleaners

Traditional jewellery cleaning products are not appropriate for pearls because of their harsh chemicals and abrasive properties. You can buy products specifically designed for pearl jewellery, which will gently remove any dirt and build-up.

Lasting thoughts

Remember, when in doubt, always take your pearl jewellery to a professional jewellery store in order to be cleaned. This can limit the damage you might do to your jewellery yourself - and they’ll potentially do a better job of it!

Prevention is key when it comes to pearl jewellery. Store and look after it well and it will last for a very long time, without losing its natural lustre. Choosing the right pearls to start with is also a good indicator of how well your pearl jewellery will hold up. At BRUNA, we handpick only the best and brightest organic pearls - cultured freshwater and black Tahitian. Each as beautiful and unique as you are.