Pearls are a most beautiful gemstone, formed in a most unique way, and which are still immensely popular in classic jewellery design. explain that: “Natural Pearls form when an irritant – usually a parasite and not the proverbial grain of sand – works its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating, called ‘nacre’, is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed.”

Because of their soft, organic nature, they do require special care and we’ve put together some tips for you to keep your pearls in top condition.

The lustre on a pearl is known as the ‘orient’ and comes from the nacre, as mentioned above. These shiny layers of pearl grow around the nucleus of the pearl and are porous.  Without proper care, they can erode to a chalky white finish.


  • Wear your pearls frequently as the warmth and moisture from your skin keeps the nacre glowing and prevents the pearl from drying out
  • Avoid anything acid-based, like perfume, hairspray, handcream and antibac gel as they corrode the surface of the pearl and they lose their lustre
  • Pearls should be put on last when getting dressed to avoid the above!
  • Once you have finished wearing your pearls, gently rub any surface grease from them
  • Always lie a strung row of pearls flat rather than hanging, otherwise the thread will stretch and the pearls will become loose, move and become damaged
  • NEVER use jewellery cleaner on anything set with pearls
  • Some seed pearls are cemented into a setting and if water seeps into the setting, it can loosen the cement and cause the pearl to fall out. Water also corrodes the thread and can make pearls crack when they dry. So, even though pearls are grown underwater, they should not under any circumstance get wet!

At Heirlooms, we carry out all types of pearl maintenance from lengthening and shortening pearls, sourcing rare pearls such as Tahitian and South Sea, restringing, new clasps and sourcing replacement stones including some antique examples to enable a pearl to match an antique piece. We also have number of pearls for sale on the website.

Here are some of the exquisite pieces we have:


This Edwardian brooch is made from 15ct yellow gold.

The round-cut peridot to the centre is a brilliant vibrant green and is surrounded by 6 small seed pearls creating a flower design with a further two pearls to either end.

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This early 20th century cultured pearl and diamond ring is modelled as the traditional twist design known as the Moi et Toi’ or ‘me and you’ ring.

The round, old-European-cut diamond measures c. 0.36cts. The cultured pearl is a rich cream – peach tone and measures

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This statement necklace is of the highest quality and looks stunning on.

Featuring three rows of graduated lengths, the pearls graduate from 8-9mm along the necklace.

Each row is united together at the back with a 7 stone amethyst cluster clasp all set in 9ct yellow gold. The clasp has an easy push tongue fitment making it super easy to take the necklace on and off and is stamped ‘9ct’. Each white pearl shows good pink-green iridescence and very few surface flaws.

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