How To Clean Pearl Jewellery

Discover how to safely clean pearl jewellery at home using NAJO's guide, featuring safe, effective methods to maintain luster and sparkle.

Pearls, with their subtle radiance and timeless elegance, are more than just jewellery; they are treasures that capture moments and memories. However, maintaining the natural beauty and luster of pearl jewellery requires specific care and attention.

If you’ve ever wondered ‘how to clean pearl jewellery’, this blog post is dedicated to guiding you through the delicate process of cleaning and preserving your pearl jewellery. Whether it’s a cherished heirloom or a modern acquisition, understanding the right cleaning techniques is essential to keeping your pearls in pristine condition.

Understanding Your Pearls & Jewellery

When it comes to pearls and jewellery, a little knowledge goes a long way in ensuring their longevity and beauty. Let’s explore why understanding the different types of pearls and the effects of regular wear is crucial.

Different Types of Pearls and Jewellery Materials

Understanding the types of pearls you own is vital in caring for them correctly. For instance, the delicate lustre of Akoya pearls requires different care compared to the robustness of South Sea pearls. The material of the jewellery setting, be it sterling silver, gold, or platinum, also demands specific attention.

Each metal reacts differently to elements like air and moisture, influencing the care regimen. Moreover, when pearls are combined with other gemstones, the care strategy must accommodate all components to avoid damage. Recognising these nuances helps in applying the right cleaning methods and protective measures, ensuring your jewellery remains timeless.

How Regular Wear Affects Your Jewellery's Appearance

Regular wear can significantly impact your jewellery's appearance. Pearls, in particular, are sensitive to elements like sunlight and moisture, which can subtly alter their colour and sheen. Everyday substances such as cosmetics, perfumes, and even your skin's natural oils can affect both the pearls and their metal settings.

Physical wear and tear, such as scratches or loosening of settings, are also common concerns. Understanding these factors is crucial for implementing preventative measures. By adopting simple habits like applying cosmetics before wearing jewellery and storing pieces properly, you can minimise damage and maintain the beauty and integrity of your pearl jewellery.

Safe Cleaning Techniques For Pearls At Home

Pearls transcend ordinary jewellery, embodying delicate treasures that demand meticulous attention. Grasping the correct cleaning methods is crucial to preserve their inherent grace. Let's delve into the art of safely maintaining the pristine condition of your pearls.

Step-by-step Guide for Cleaning Pearl Jewellery

  • Gently Wipe After Each Wear: Use a soft, damp cloth to gently wipe your pearls after wearing. This removes any residue of skin oils or environmental pollutants.

  • Mild Soap Solution: For a deeper clean, prepare a solution of warm water and a mild, non-detergent soap.

  • Soft Cloth Cleaning: Dip a soft, lint-free cloth in the solution and gently clean each pearl. It's important not to submerge the pearls in water as it can weaken the string.

  • Rinse and Dry: Rinse the cloth with fresh water and wipe the pearls to remove soap residue. Lay them flat on a soft towel to dry completely before storage.

What to Avoid When Cleaning Pearls

  • Harsh Chemicals: Avoid cleaners with ammonia, chlorine, or vinegar, which can damage the pearl's surface.

  • Abrasive Materials: Don’t use toothbrushes or abrasive cloths that can scratch the pearl's delicate surface.

  • Excessive Water Exposure: Avoid soaking pearls in water, as this can weaken the silk thread used in stringing.

  • Direct Heat: Keep pearls away from direct heat sources like hairdryers, as the heat can cause damage.

In summary, cleaning pearls doesn't have to be daunting. With these simple and safe techniques, you can keep your pearls looking lustrous and beautiful, preserving their delicate beauty for years to come.

Best Practices for Storing Pearls

  • Soft Environment: Store pearls in a soft, fabric-lined box or pouch. Pearls are prone to scratching, so they need a gentle environment.

  • Separate Storage: Keep pearls separated from other jewellery items to prevent them from getting scratched by harder gemstones or metal settings.

  • Maintaining Moisture: Unlike other gems, pearls do best in a slightly humid environment to prevent them from drying out. Avoid storing them in overly dry places like safety deposit boxes for long periods.

  • Breathable Containers: Use containers that allow for some air flow, as completely airtight spaces can lead to dehydration of the pearls.

Organising Your Jewellery to Prevent Damage

  • Individual Compartments: Use a jewellery box with individual compartments or separate pouches for each piece to avoid tangling and scratching.

  • Hanging Options: For items like necklaces and bracelets, consider hanging storage to prevent them from getting tangled.

  • Regular Inspection: Periodically check your stored jewellery for any signs of damage or wear and address any issues promptly.

Tips for Travelling with Pearl Jewellery

  • Portable Jewellery Case: Invest in a small, travel-friendly jewellery case with soft lining and compartments.

  • Separate Pearl Pieces: If travelling with pearls, keep them in their own soft pouch or section of your jewellery case.

  • Carry On: Always carry your pearl jewellery with you in your carry-on luggage to prevent loss or damage during travel.

  • Minimal Exposure: When travelling, expose your pearls to as few risks as possible. This means only wearing them when necessary and keeping them securely stored otherwise.

By following these storage and organisation tips, you can significantly extend the life and lustre of your pearl jewellery, ensuring that each piece remains as captivating as it was the day you acquired it.

Professional Care and Maintenance For Cleaning Pearl Jewellery

To ensure the longevity and beauty of your pearl jewellery, recognising when professional care is required is key. It’s advisable to have your pearls professionally cleaned annually, particularly for items you wear frequently. Additionally, if your pearls are exposed to harsh substances like chlorine or cosmetics, a professional cleaning can ensure they are cared for safely and effectively. Stringed pearls, especially, need attention from a jeweller, who can check and re-string them as needed to prevent breakage.

Regarding repairs and restoration, whether it's restringing weakened threads or addressing surface damages, professionals have the expertise to maintain the integrity of your pearls. For pearl jewellery set with clasps or in metal, regular checks can prevent the loss of pearls due to wear and tear. Also, don’t overlook the importance of having valuable pearl pieces appraised for insurance purposes, ensuring that your policy reflects their current value.

Common Mistakes in Pearl Jewellery Care

In caring for pearl jewellery, it's crucial to avoid common mistakes. Over-cleaning with harsh chemicals can do more harm than good, and improper storage can lead to scratches or dehydration. Wearing pearls in situations where they could be damaged, such as during sports or while swimming, is also a risk.

To correct these mistakes, switch to gentle cleaning methods, improve your storage habits by using soft-lined boxes and keeping pearls separate, and be more mindful about when and where you wear your pearls. By being aware of these common pitfalls and how to address them, you can significantly extend life and preserve the beauty of your pearl jewellery.

Navigating the delicate world of pearl jewellery care requires expertise and finesse, qualities exemplified by NAJO, an esteemed Australian brand with over 30 years of heritage. Turn to NAJO for your jewellery needs and browse from the finest selection of pearl earrings, necklaces, rings and pearl bridal jewellery.

With NAJO, you access not just exquisite pieces but also expert advice and professional care, all born from decades of dedicated craftsmanship. Embrace the excellence of a brand deeply rooted in Australian tradition, and ensure your pearls and jewellery continue to sparkle and captivate, today and for generations to come.


What cleans pearls the best?

To ensure the enduring beauty of your pearls, the best cleaning method involves gentle care. After wearing, softly wipe each pearl with a slightly damp, soft cloth to remove skin oils and environmental residues.

For a more thorough clean, occasionally use a solution of lukewarm water and a small amount of mild, non-detergent soap. Apply this solution using a lint-free cloth, gently wiping each pearl. It's crucial to avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners, as these can cause damage.

Once cleaned, allow the pearls to air dry completely by laying them flat on a soft, dry towel. This careful approach ensures your pearls maintain their lustrous beauty, avoiding any damage that soaking or rough handling might cause.

How do you clean tarnished pearl jewellery?

To effectively clean tarnished pearl jewellery, focus on gently treating the metal components without damaging the pearls. Use a soft cloth designed for jewellery polishing or a mild solution of soapy water to carefully clean the metal areas, ensuring you avoid harsh chemicals that can harm the pearls.

For intricate designs or significant tarnish, it's advisable to seek professional cleaning services, as they possess the expertise to handle such delicate pieces, ensuring both the pearls and the metal are properly cared for without risking damage.

What is the best cleaner for pearls on jewellery?

The best cleaner for pearls on jewellery is a very mild, non-detergent soap mixed with lukewarm water. Here's how to use it:

Prepare the Solution: Mix a small amount of mild, non-detergent soap with lukewarm water. Avoid any soap containing harsh chemicals or acids.

Gently Clean: Dip a soft, lint-free cloth into the solution and gently wipe each pearl. Do not submerge the pearls in the solution, as this could weaken the stringing material.

Rinse and Dry: After gently wiping, use a clean, damp cloth to remove any soap residue from the pearls. Then, lay the pearls on a soft, dry towel to air dry.

This method is gentle enough to clean the pearls without damaging their delicate surface. Remember, pearls are sensitive to extreme dryness, humidity, and chemicals, so gentle care is essential.

Can you wash pearl jewellery?

To wash pearl jewellery, mix lukewarm water with a small amount of mild, non-detergent soap. Gently wipe each pearl with a soft, damp cloth, avoiding full immersion in water to protect the stringing material.

Rinse with a clean, damp cloth to remove soap residue, and then allow the pearls to air dry on a soft towel. This method is gentle and effective, ensuring the pearls' lustre and integrity are maintained without harsh chemicals or rough handling.


Jo Tory

Born in Australia, Jo Tory is proud to be one of the country’s pioneering female jewellery founders. She has been our Creative Director since NAJO’s formation, steering the company to be one of Australia’s most successful fine jewellery brands today. Jo also sits on the Jewellers Association of Australia’s Board of Directors, where she actively promotes the highest standards and ethics within the Australian jewellery industry.