Pearl is ranked at a 2.5 on Mohs hardness scale. This means that pearls are quite susceptible to scratches or abrasion and need to be looked after with the utmost care and consideration. Pearls may lose their lustre after years of wear and that is why it is important to know how to treat and care for them. Pearls do best in a moist environment, because of this it is optimal to store them in a container that is not airtight. Due to their organic nature, pearls have a tendency to yellow if not exposed enough oxygen, to maintain their decadent hue- store them properly and wear them often, but with care. 
 
Chips, Scratches & Cracks
To avoid any scratches or abrasion, pearls are best stored flat, in a softly lined case and isolated from other gemstones. Store your earrings or rings in a case with dividers to ensure the metal elements of these pieces do not come in contact with pearls and close the metal clasp on a string of pearls to ensure it does not come into contact with the pearls.  Because of their soft nature, and the anatomy of a pearl- scratches can not be polished out. It is for this reason that one should avoid exposing pearls to any acidic substances, lotions, perfumes, or hairsprays that will weaken the surface of a pearl and leave it more susceptible to damage. 

Cleaning 

If you are attempting to clean a string of pearls, it is best not to submerge the necklace as this will weaken the silk thread. Instead, use a cloth dampened in a gentle detergent and lukewarm water to wipe any off any accumulated grime or dirt. It is important to note that perspiration, as well as cosmetic products such as lotions or perfumes are also susceptible to weakening the thread. 

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If you are attempting to clean a pearl ring, or earrings- you will want to use a similar method. Do not expose your pearls to extremely hot or cold water as they are sensitive to extreme temperatures and you may damage the surface of the pearl if you do so. It is also important to note that wiping your pearls with a soft cotton cloth or a piece of chamois leather will help your pearls to maintain their wondrous lustre after wearing them. 

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