Caring for Your Pearls
Treated with care, pearls can last a lifetime or longer. Although they have a low hardness compared to other gems, their dense, compact makeup makes them surprisingly durable. But pearls are perishable. Substances like perfume, vinegar, hairspray, inks, and perspiration are detrimental to pearls, as is chlorine. It is best to remove pearl jewelry before swimming and showering, and to put pearls on after makeup, perfume and hairspray have been applied. Once a pearl's surface is marred, unlike a gemstone, it cannot be polished, sanded or reshaped—unfortunately man has yet to invent a way to restore pearls' natural beauty. For this reason, pearls should be stored in their own pouch (or your Moon River Pearls box) away from other gems so they don't get scratched or marred. To clean pearls, rub them with a soft cloth. If soap is needed, use a non-abrasive cleaner such as hand soap. Let your pearls air dry fully before you wear them again. Never use bleach, abrasive cleaners, or an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. It may be necessary to have pearls restrung if they are worn frequently.
Sterling Silver and Gemstone Jewelry Care
With a little care, sterling silver and gemstone jewelry will stay beautiful for decades. If you enjoy your jewelry as much as we do, you'll want to take a few simple steps to keep it lustrous and scratch-free so it'll always look like new. Follow our easy care tips, or, if you desire, take your jewelry to be professionally cleaned.
To keep your sterling silver beautiful:
- Steer clear of harsh chemicals and cleaners as well as personal care products when wearing sterling silver jewelry. These can dull the silver over time and damage any gemstones.
- Clean your jewelry with sterling silver polish or sterling silver polishing cloths, which you can buy at most jewelry and hardware stores. DO NOT subject gemstones or pearls to sterling silver polish as this can damage them over time.
- Air, moisture and sunlight can dull sterling silver. To keep tarnish at bay, store your jewelry in an airtight, dark, dry environment when you're not wearing it. (Do not store pearls in airtight plastic bags; pearls need to breathe.)
To keep your gemstones beautiful:
Gemstones have varying degrees of hardness, which are ranked using a method called the Mohs hardness scale. The rankings, from one to ten, represent the material's hardness, or ability to scratch another material. A gemstone with a hardness of five can scratch a gemstone with a hardness of three, for example, but not one with a hardness of eight. A diamond is rated a 10 on the Mohs scale. Amber, by comparison, ranks a 2 to 2.5, and is easily scratched. Anything with a rating of less than 7 is easily scratched. (Gold and silver are only 2.5-4.)
Due to their ability to scratch each other, gemstones should not be stored in a tangled web in your jewelry box (the gold and sterling silver they're set in or strung on can scratch as well). Separate each piece in an individual compartment if possible, or wrap in soft cloth to protect it.
When it comes to keeping your jewelry beautiful, prevention is the best method. Above all, keep your gemstone jewelry clean. Dust, dirt, oils and chemicals from household cleaners, hairspray, chlorine from pools and the like can damage your stones. It is best to remove you jewelry before gardening, cooking, baking, cleaning, etc. When you remove your jewelry, wipe it with an untreated soft cloth to remove dirt and oils before storing. Ultrasonic cleaners and jewelry cleaning solutions are not for every stone and can cause damage; check labels before using.
Many colored gemstones can become dull over time if they're exposed to prolonged periods of sunlight. Depending on the stone, it can fade, pale or change color. Store your gemstone jewelry away from direct sunlight.
The following are gemstones that Moon River Pearls uses in its jewelry, followed by their hardness on the Mohs scale, and basic care instructions.
Abalone, 2.5, clean with water and an untreated soft cloth
Agate, 7-9, clean with a soft soapy cloth
Amethyst, 6.5-7, clean with commercial cleaners, soap and water or an untreated soft cloth
Amazonite, 5-6, clean with a soft, soapy cloth
Aquamarine, 7.5-8, clean with commercial cleaners, soap and water or an untreated soft cloth
Aventurine, 7, wipe gently with a moist, untreated cloth
Carnelian, 7, clean with an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, or with warm, soapy water and a soft brush
Citrine, 6.4-7, clean with commercial cleaners, soap and water or an untreated soft cloth
Diamond, 10, clean with ultrasonic or commercial cleaners, soap and water or an untreated soft cloth
Fluorite, 4, clean with warm, soapy water and a soft brush
Jade, 6-7, clean with soap and water or an untreated soft cloth
Jasper, 7, clean with warm, soapy water and a soft brush
Lapis, 5-6, clean with soap and water or an untreated soft cloth
Marcasite, 6-6.5, clean with with an untreated, soft polishing cloth
Mother-of-Pearl, 2.5-4.5, clean with an untreated, damp soft cloth
Onyx, 7, clean with soap and water or an untreated soft cloth
Pearl, 2.5-4.5, clean with an untreated soft cloth (for more, see our Caring for Your Pearls guide)
Peridot, 6.5-7, clean with an untreated soft cloth
Prehnite, 6-6.5, clean with soap and water or an untreated soft cloth
Quartz, 6.5-7, clean with commercial cleaners, soap and water or an untreated soft cloth
Topaz, 8, clean with soap and water or an untreated soft cloth
Tourmaline, 7-7.5, clean with commercial cleaners, soap and water or an untreated soft cloth
Turquoise, 5-6.0, clean with soap and water or an untreated soft cloth
Zircon, 6-6.5, clean with soap and water or an untreated soft cloth