Tag: Pearls

What to Look for When Buying Pearls

Check to see if the pearl has been artificially coloured

This isn’t, in itself, necessarily a problem. Typically though, purists will look for naturally coloured pearls and they might well command higher prices.

Things that might indicate the pearl has been artificially coloured include:

  • colour seemingly “wearing off” the outer shell;
  • a very dark core (indication of possible irradiation to change colours);
  • a very visible stratification of colour change on the inside of the pearl.

The final two above assume your pearl has a drill hole that you can look into with magnification.

Examine the regularity and symmetry of shape

Tiny irregularities of shape can be seen or felt – and that’s typically a good sign!

If your pearl is perfectly round and perfectly smooth over its surface, then you’re probably looking at an artificial not natural (whether wild or cultured) pearl made from synthetic materials.

However, even if you have a real pearl, remember that significant deformations and irregularities may (or should) reduce the value if they’re particularly evident or severe.

Look at the lustre

Peals may vary in both body colour (their background colour) and their overtones (a surface shimmer of colour). Some may not have an overtone and that is not a problem. A lot will depend upon your own colour preferences.

However, this is very difficult to describe but look for pearls that gently shine. If they’re a dull matt finish it might indicate that there has been some damage (e.g. poor cleaning techniques with acid) that has taken the lustre off.

That can hugely reduce both value and appearance.

Read the advertisement’s wording carefully

Terms used in some pearl advertisements which may mislead (intentionally or otherwise):

Pearls from Japan“. That phrase would be true for pearls farmed in say China, shipped to Japan and then sold-on from there. Look for “farmed in Japan” to be sure – if that’s what you’re looking for;

Certified“. By whom? To what recognised standards? Remember, a label attached to your pearls means nothing if it’s just the seller’s.

Real pearls“. That should exclude synthetics but it’s ambiguous in terms of whether your pearls are natural (i.e. found in the wild – which is VERY rare today and they’re very expensive too) or cultured.

AAAA Grade“. Gradings are not standard across the globe or universally recognised. Trust some of the other tips on this page and your own common sense.

Price

Typically, if all other things are roughly equal, from most to least expensive pearls run:

  • natural/wild (sea);
  • cultured (sea);
  • freshwater;
  • synthetics.

If you see cultured pearls advertised at a price close to a set of essentially plastic ones, then something’s gone wrong and you should be sceptical.

Uniformity

Only applicable to things such as strings, ideally the pearls should all be near identical in size and colour. If they’re all over the place in these respects, you may have a composite set.

Clean Pearls, Opals and Other Fine Jewelry Safely

Cleaning pearls

Pearls are unique because they are a delicate organic material. Pearls have a certain life span. Unlike diamonds, a pearl’s life span can be shortened if not stored or nurtured with proper care.

  • Firstly, never use anything abrasive to clean pearls. Instead damp the pearls with clean water and use a soft clean cloth to wipe them.
  • Once the pearl is wiped, allow them to dry completely before you put them away.
  • Also make sure that you do not use soap on pearls, because it can dissolve the smooth and reflective outside shell of the pearl.
  • Always store pearls in a clean box and never suffocate them in plastic bags.

Cleaning opals

Opals require special care since they are relatively soft, porous and usually fragile. Never use harsh cleaners on opals. You can either use a soft brush or a clean linen cloth to remove the light amounts of grim on your opal. If you feel that your opal has lost its luster and shine do visit an opal specialist nearby.

Cleaning emeralds

Emerald is less hard than diamonds and requires gentle care. You can dip your emerald in warm lukewarm water and dry it with a clean linen cloth. Once the emerald is dry use a soft smooth brush to clean its hard-to-reach areas. At times, emerald may need to be re-oiled after several years, and this procedure should only be done by a professional.

Cleaning diamonds

Diamonds are the hardest substance known, however it’s important you take proper care of the stone, so that they don’t lose their natural sparkle and shine.

  • If you want to clean your beautiful diamonds, dip them in a warm solution of water and mild detergent for a few minutes.
  • Next gently scrub the diamond with a soft toothbrush.
  • After scrubbing you have to rinse the diamond in plain warm water to remove any remaining detergent.
  • Lastly wipe the diamond dry with a clean cloth.
  • Diamonds that have not been fracture filled can be easily cleaned with an ammonia solution and water. Likewise, use a gentle liquid detergent solution for fracture filled diamonds, since ammonia might gradually either cloud or remove the coating that’s been covered on the stone.

Note: Solutions like chlorine; bleach etc. can discolor your diamond. Hence it’s important that you avoid using harsh solutions while cleaning the diamonds. Also, avoid keeping two diamonds together in a box, since they tend to scratch each other.

General jewelry cleaning tips

First and foremost, never wear jewelry while showering, swimming or sleeping since they are easily prone to scratches and blemishes. Always wear your jewelry once you have completed your make up. Make sure you keep everyday substances like body creams, lotions, hair sprays, and perfumes away from your jewelry, since they make the jewelry look more dull and gloomy.

Few tips to keep in mind while cleaning your jewelry:

  • It’s important that you wash jewelry in a clean bowl and not in the sink so that nothing gets lost down the drain.
  • Clean one piece at a time and avoid applying too much pressure on jewelry while cleaning.
  • Use mild soaps and solutions while cleaning any jewelry.
  • If you are using a tooth brush to clean the miniature areas of jewelry, then make sure the bristles of the brush are soft and smooth.
  • Your jewelry prongs and settings also need to be handled with care, since they might get loose while cleaning.
  • Lastly, don’t dump your jewelry all together in a box. Store your jewelry neatly in a clean box or wrap it in a soft cloth.