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How to protect your pearl jewelry

Pearls are celebrated as one of the birthstones in June and also are perfect for the more eco-minded consumer. They are organic, renewable and environmentally sustaining.

Pearls and are soft, living fossils that can be easily damaged from contact with chemicals, lotions, or other stones, metals or other sharp stuff.

Instead of tossing your pearl earrings or ring into a dish with other jewelry or watches at the end of the day, protect them by storing them separately in pouches made of natural breathing fibers, such as silk or cotton. Never store pearls in plastic containers, as plastic can emit chemicals that can damage the iridescent nacre on the pearl’s surface.

Pearls are vulnerable to damage from chlorine bleach and other everyday chemicals found in lotions, perfumes, hand sanitizers and hairspray. Therefore, always apply hairspray and perfume before putting on pearls and jewelry.

To prevent pearl necklace strings from becoming stretched, weakened, soiled or broken, replace them every two to three years or more often if wearing daily. The string should be knotted between each pearl, helping prevent potentially lost or damaged pearls.

If you take your jewelry on trips, keep your items with you at all times, or use a hotel safe (not the safe in your room). Don’t pack jewelry in your luggage or wear valuables to the pool or beach. To protect pearls from scratches, store them in a soft cloth pouch separate from all other jewelry.

Back at home, don’t keep your most valuable pieces on display in your bedroom. Install a secure bolted home safe with jewelry drawers and the appropriate fire and theft rating for jewelry or keep valuable items in a bank vault.

The risks to collecting pearls are much the same as the risks of collecting any fine jewelry. Collectors should make sure their pearls and jewelry are regularly checked, appraised and insured on a valuable articles policy that provides coverage for fire, flood, theft, breakage, mysterious disappearance and more.

Talk to your insurance agent or broker about the right policy.


"The Popularity of Pearls", Maggie Reynolds on Chubb, 2021

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