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How to Care for Mother of Pearl Jewelry

by Tricia Goss

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Mother of pearl jewelry is made from beautiful shells

Mother of pearl jewelry takes the best part of the pearl, the nacre that covers the outside, and turns it into gorgeous gemstone jewelry. Mother of pearl jewelry is created from the inner lining of many types of mollusk shells, including abalone, freshwater pearl mussels and pearl oysters. Mollusks create this lustrous jewelry material in much the same manner that they create pearls. Mother of pearl is a popular jewelry element due to its lovely, iridescent appearance. Though mother of pearl is an affordable option among gemstones, proper jewelry care is still important in order to protect your gemstone jewelry investment. Use our tips to care for mother of pearl jewelry and keep your gemstone jewelry glistening.

Caring for Mother of Pearl Jewelry:

  1. Wear your mother of pearl jewelry often. One of the best jewelry care tips for mother of pearl jewelry is simple and fun. Wearing your mother of pearl gemstones frequently will keep the jewelry looking fabulous. The natural oils in your skin will help protect and maintain the luster of the material and keep the gems from drying out over time.

  2. Avoid exposing mother of pearl to chemicals. Harsh chemicals, such as those found in perfumes, citrus juice and some types of soap, can be harmful to mother of pearl jewelry. Avoid contact with these substances by removing the jewelry before washing dishes or preparing foods. If you are wearing a mother of pearl necklace, apply perfume to your wrists instead of your neck. Avoid exposing mother of pearl to acidic or alkaline substances such as baking soda, alcohol and vinegar.

  3. Clean mother of pearl jewelry carefully. It is best not to clean mother of pearl jewelry with harsh cleaners. You can wipe dust, grime or fingerprints away with a damp microfiber cloth or special jewelry cleaning cloth. A soft cloth will clean light dirt from mother of pearl jewelry without scratching the beautiful and fragile surface.

  4. Store mother of pearl mindfully. Avoid tossing your mother of pearl pendant or ring into your jewelry box with hard gemstones and rough chains. Storing your mother of pearl jewelry in a soft cotton or silk pouch will keep it from getting scratched or chipped. If you have a jewelry armoire with separate compartments, designate a spot for your mother of pearl piece. Mother of pearl jewelry should also be stored out of direct sunlight. If you live in an arid region, consider storing your mother of pearl jewelry in a humid environment, such as in your bathroom or near a humidifier, to prevent the shell from drying out.

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