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7 Main Rules For Pearl Care

The New York Times once wrote about a woman of a rare profession – pearl stringer Renata Terjeki. For 15 years, Renata has been stringing, including restoring and redesigning iconic pearl jewelry. She works in a small, windowless workshop in the basement of Bentley & Skinner in London’s busy Piccadilly Circus. Clients include auction houses Bonhams and Sotheby’s, as well as jewelry empires Moussaieff and Bentley & Skinner. Renata gave practical advice on how to wear and store pearls.

1. Store pearls in bags and separate from other jewelry. Pearls can scratch on metal jewelry. If you store your pearls in a jewelry box, put them in something soft.

2. Keep your pearls dry. Wet threads wear out and eventually break. On one occasion, Renata re-strung a multi-row Colombian emerald necklace with pearls worth about $250,000 three times in a year. “It turned out that they were sitting in a jacuzzi,” says Terjeki.

3. Use a glass microfiber cloth to clean pearls, do not use soap and water. The effectiveness of cleaning depends on how dirty your pearls are. If home cleaning doesn’t work, have your jewelry professionally cleaned.

4. Use baby wipes to clean the imitation pearls. They will remove the dirt. If there are any marks left, use a microfiber eyeglass cloth to wipe them off. Be aware that water can remove the top layer of imitation pearls.

5. Wear pearls last. Perfume and body lotion can affect the luster of pearls; make sure you apply them before putting on your pearls.

6. If you wear pearls often, check its condition with a jeweler once every six months or a year.

7. If you inherited pearls, have them checked by professionals. Jewelry can cost more or less than you think. On one occasion Terjeki was asked to mend a pearl necklace whose owner believed it was worth £50,000. But it turned out that these are natural, not cultured, pearls and it costs 250,000 pounds.