By Amy Brenan, director of Heirlooms Jewellers, 21 South Street, Wareham
PEARLS are a most beautiful gemstone, formed in a most unique way, and which are still immensely popular in classic jewellery design. The pearl is also the birthstone for June and is said to represent purity, humility and innocence.
Pearls are traditionally worn as bridal jewellery but, conversely, are associated with mourning jewellery which dates back to the time of Queen Victoria who established the wearing of pearls while grieving.
The lustre on a pearl is known as the ‘orient’. These shiny layers of pearl grow around the nucleus of the pearl and are porous. Without proper care, they can erode to a chalky white finish. Because of their soft, organic nature, they do require special care and I’ve put together some tips to keep your pearls in top condition.
Wear your pearls frequently as the warmth and moisture from your skin keeps the nacre glowing and prevents the pearl from drying out
Avoid anything acid-based, like perfume, hairspray, handcream and antibac gel as they corrode the surface of the pearl and they lose their lustre
Pearls should be put on last when getting dressed to avoid the above!
Once you have finished wearing your pearls, gently rub any surface grease from them
Always lie a strung row of pearls flat rather than hanging, otherwise the thread will stretch and the pearls will become loose, move and become damaged
NEVER use jewellery cleaner on anything set with pearls
Some seed pearls are cemented into a setting and if water seeps into the setting, it can loosen the cement and cause the pearl to fall out. Water also corrodes the thread and can make pearls crack when they dry. So, even though pearls are grown underwater, they should not under any circumstance get wet!