Care of Pearls
Pearls are organic gem and require a more specialized care than most other gem materials. They deteriorate in contact with chemicals like household cleaners, perfumes, cosmetics and hair care products of all kinds. A good rule of thumb is that the pearls are THE LAST THING YOU PUT ON when dressing and THE FIRST THING YOU TAKE OFF when you get home. NEVER apply perfume or hair spray when you are wearing pearl jewelry.
The surface of a pearl is soft and can be easily damaged. Pearls set in rings and bracelets are subject to more cuffing and scratching than pearls set in brooches, earrings, necklaces or strands. Storage Pearl strands are stored separately from other jewelry because of the pearl's soft surface which can be easily scratched by other gems. A silk bag, velvet-lined box, pearl folder (a satin-lined leatherette envelope with snaps to hold a strand in place) are good places to store pearls. Your local jeweler is a good source for these items. NEVER store pearls in a plastic bag. Some types of plastics emit a chemical that can cause the surface of the pearls to deteriorate.
Pearls should not be stored in a safe or a safety deposit box for long periods of time. The ultra-dry atmospheric conditions that extend the life of paper documents dries out the pearls causing them to craze i.e. to develop small fractures on the surface. Pearl strands should be stored flat rather than hung to avoid premature stretching.