Pearls are Delicate and Beautiful Works of Nature.
Formed Organically in Bivalve Mollusks (Oysters), Pearls are created one single Nacre layer at a time.
It’s a slow process that can take 6 Months or even up to Years to accomplish.
But when the process is done, the outcome is spectacular!
Pearls are one of the few Gems that actually glows with Rainbow Iridescence and Prismatic Light. They are stunning by any means! And the thicker the Nacre is (determined by how long the growing time is), the more Beautiful, Durable, Rare and Costly the Pearl gets…
Until you Chip it!
Pearls Chip because even though they are small and dense, they are also very soft. Being only a 2.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, practically anything you put a Pearl in contact with (like your Fingernail) could Scratch it. It’s that Soft!
The Hardness of Pearls is something Jewelers have to watch out for as well. When Jewelers drill holes into Pearls to set them into Rings (on Posts), or thread them through Necklaces, they have to drill right through that outer shell of the Nacre. A lot of times this can Chip or Crack the Pearl’s delicate surface. (Which also means, that when you’re buying Pearls from a Jewelry Store, check them over around the drill holes and look for any signs of Chipping or Peeling that may have already begun.)
Don’t Hit your Pearls
Everyone has to be careful with Pearls! What ever you do, don’t hit your Pearls, toss them on the counter, or let them fall to the floor. Any amount of traumatic stress or blow could Chip or Break your lovely Pearls!
And you know what? Once you Chip a Pearl…
There is NO WAY to fix it!
You can’t glue shells back onto the Pearl. You can’t smooth them out or buff the Chip out. Some want to fill the Chip with Glue or Fingernail Polish, but that only leaves a globby mess that ruins the look of your Pearls. It’s not worth it!
The only way to Fix a Chipped Pearl is to Replace the Pearl!
And depending on the Quality, Size and Color of your Pearl, that could get pretty expensive. (Not to mention the cost of Restringing the Pearl Strand!)
Something of interest that you may want to know, is that Pearl Manufacturers are Experimenting with Nacre Reconstruction. They are placing Chipped Pearls back into the Oyster and trying to get new Nacre to grow back and fill in the broken areas. Very cool! Who knows… Someday there may be a fix? But until then… The only answer is Replacement!
How can you Protect your Pearls?
What can you do to prevent your Pearls from Chipping? Protection! Protecting your Pearls is the only real solution.
Keep the Pearl Strand clean and tight. Pearl Necklaces should be restrung every couple of years. That way dirt and debris that gets caught on the cord and in the drill holes won’t cause abrasion and chip or weaken the surrounding Nacre.
The Best Advice
Wear your Pearls often. Pearls need oils to thrive. Natural Body Oils from your neck and skin help keep Pearls Lustrous and Bright! It also keeps them from turning Yellow in hue and drying out as well. Because dried out Pearls gets brittle! And then, there is no saving them!
Wear them often. Don’t keep them sealed in air tight bags or safety deposit boxes. Pearls need interaction with oils to keep their Life, Beauty and Shine.
And sadly, the Pearl Nacre isn’t just vulnerable to Chipping or Breaking either! Pearls can actually Dissolve!
Harsh Liquids and Chemicals can eat away at the Nacre and destroy your Pearl. Chemicals like: Ammonia, Hair sprays, Perfumes, Cosmetics, Inks, even Toilet Water! Plus Household Cleaners, Chlorine, Detergents, Abrasives, Vinegar (Salad Dressing), and Ultrasonic Cleaners!
Pearls can last for hundreds of years if you Maintain them and Clean them.
You just have to be careful!
Otherwise you may be replacing those Pearls…
One Pearl at a time!