Fact or fiction: pearls like to be worn?
This is a very interesting belief and one that I am faced with a lot. After giving talks on pearls many women will say, “Wear your pearls because they become more beautiful after being worn!” To which other women will nod or shout out in agreement. I, meanwhile, stand there crooked-faced and murmuring, “Yeah…but..” I don’t know if I agree that pearls like to be worn. Is the belief that pearl become more beautiful after being worn entirely true? It kind of sounds like a worn out marketing campaign. Do you remember the right hand ring campaign? DeBeers said, “Women of the world, raise your right hand!” Women wearing diamonds on their right hand was a way to say, “I can buy my own diamond! I do not need a man for that! I am successful in my own right!” At least, that is how I interpret it.
So, if pearls are meant to be worn, is that akin to saying, “Wear your pearls! Make your pearls more beautiful?” Is this some cry from pearl suppliers to, “Buy more pearls!!”
Let’s be honest, I think all women should wear pearls. Maybe this is based on the fact that I own a pearl jewelry company. Of course, I wouldn’t own a pearl jewelry company if I didn’t love pearls so much. So the circle continues… I do think it is a crying shame to keep pearls locked away. But, if pearls like to be worn, there is also more to the story.
So, why do people say pearls like to be worn? It is because pearls like moisture. Pearls are soft, organic gems and they love the fact that our skin is so warm and soft. Think of the inside of a mollusk shell where the pearl was formed: soft and moist. Pearls thrive in moist environments and placing pearls in a moisture deprived environment such as a safety deposit box or a safe is like placing a chokehold on them. Pearls can actually develop microscopic cracks without moisture. These cracks will impact the surface quality of the pearl and will eventually effect the luster and overall look of pearls. So, the moisture is key!
But our skin offers something else besides moisture: dirt, oil and acidity. So, pearls may like to be worn but they also do not like other aspects of our skin which have a detrimental impact to their soft nacre.
Acids eat away at the surface of pearls. Again, it is small and the effects are subtle. But, over time, without proper care, the oils inherent in our skin, the dirt that clings to us and our perfumes and soaps can decay of the pearl surface. The Pearl Girls service team restrings many heirloom pearls so we see, firsthand, the effects of pearls that have been poorly cared for. So, if the owner of these pearls thinks she has made the pearls more beautiful by wearing them, she is wrong.
The full story is that pearls like to be worn but they also like to be cared for and tended to. So, definitely wear your pearls and enjoy them. I wear pearls everyday! But take good care of them and with proper care they will maintain their beauty for years to come.
My post on Pearl Care Tips is a great resource for how to care for your pearls. Read it!