How to Care for your Pearl Jewellery

Article By

Alice Coffey


January 19, 2022

Pearls are an organic based gemstone, so they require some special care to help maintain their beauty and ensure they keep looking their best. The following information will assist in preserving your treasured heirlooms for generations.


Pearls were created in water so they can tolerate occasionally being immersed in sea or fresh water, however we recommend that jewellery items containing pearls are removed prior to swimming or bathing.  The way a pearl is strung or set can be affected by extended time in the water, and this may affect the security of the pearl in the future.  Never immerse your pearl jewellery in hot water, for the same reason as above.

Never expose pearls to chlorinated water, in spas, saunas or pools.


We don’t recommend wearing pearl jewellery while exercising, as the acids and perspiration from your skin can cause discolouration to the pearls surface.


Pearls are porous, so they will readily absorb things that touch their surface.  Chemicals like insect repellent, sunscreen, makeup and perfume will cause the pearls to discolour over time.  Pearls are best worn on clean dry skin.

  • Apply cosmetics, powders, hairsprays and perfumes before you put on your pearl jewellery, to avoid over spray.
  • Avoid applying perfume on your decolletage while wearing pearls – try applying fragrance behind your ears, or in the crook of your elbows if you are wearing a pearl strand or bracelet.
  • Where possible remove pearl rings before using hand wash and hand sanitizers, or try to avoid getting these products on the pearls.
  • Wipe your pearl items with a soft damp cloth after you have worn them before putting them away.
  • If you spill something on your pearl jewellery, wipe the item using a soft cloth moistened in water and then dry with another soft cloth.  If you are concerned about possible damage take them to a jeweller for assessment.


Although it might seem prudent to store your pearls in a very protective environment, pearls respond much better to a general atmosphere with some humidity. They are best to be worn, and regularly! But if you do have to pop them away, follow the simple advice below to keep them in tip top condition.

  • Keep your pearls separate from other jewellery by storing them in a cotton bag or jewellery pouch.
  • Never store your pearls in a way that allows them to rub against diamond or other jewellery, as this can scratch the pearls surface.
  • Avoid placing your pearls in safety deposit boxes or in a safe for too long a period of time, as these environments are too dry. 

Storage in slightly damp linen will help to prevent pearls from drying out in low-humidity atmospheres (including central heating), but do not seal in plastic, which may result in mold or mildew.


We recommend you bring your Giulians pearl strands and pearl jewellery in once a year for a complimentary clean and check-up. This allows us to assess the wear on an item and advise if anything needs to be addressed.

Re-stringing pearl strands is an inexpensive process and is good to do regularly to avoid accidental breakage of the string. For pearl strands from 6mm – 10mm worn regularly, restringing might need to be done every 3 – 5 years and for heavier large south sea strands every 1-2 years. All Giulians south sea strands are individually knotted for added security. This means in the unlikely event of the string breaking, the pearls will not fall off individually.

Akoya (Japanese) pearls are quite small, so knotting them individually makes them look more spread out. It is common practice for these to be strung un-knotted. Akoyas are often knotted individually only at the last 5 pearls either side of the clasp, and strung without knots for the rest of the strand, so it is a good idea to keep an eye out for any signs of wear and tear, as a breakage may result in lost pearls.


To clean your pearls, only ever do so using a slightly damp soft cloth. Do not put your pearls or pearl jewellery in an ultrasonic cleaner or expose them to any jewellery cleaning products or household chemicals, as this can cause damage to the lustre and shine.

If you have pearl jewellery in need of attention, please reach out to us, or pop into our boutique where we will be happy to assist you.

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