Category: How-To

Broken Jewelry

Eight Proven Ways to Wreck Your Jewelry for Good.

Maybe you’ve just never liked that necklace you inherited from crazy great Aunt Mabel, or perhaps you’re an evil super villain on a mission to destroy beauty everywhere. Either way, here are eight ways to ruin your jewelry once and for all.

Wait a minute, what did I just read?!?!

Ok, so maybe you’re not a super villain and maybe you actually really loved Aunt Mabel’s necklace, but you’re just not that great about caring for your jewelry and now it’s broken, and you’re not really sure what to do about it. That’s ok! Most broken jewelry can be repaired, and the good news is that it’s usually less expensive than having to purchase a brand new piece!

Scratched and scuffed metals can be polished, dull stones can be re-faceted, broken prongs can be repaired, and broken, knotted chains are really no big deal. We see them all the time here and we can almost guarantee that the most embarrassing thing you’ve done to ruin your jewelry probably won’t come close to the stories we’ve heard over sixty years of service in the jewelry industry.

If you’re still dead set on total jewelry annihilation, here are some great tips to get you started!

[dropcap2]1.[/dropcap2] Sleep in it.

Your jewelry will be screaming for mercy after being smushed, twisted, and wrapped around the bedsheets for nights on end.

[dropcap2]2.[/dropcap2] Wear it in the swimming pool.

The acidic chlorine will take care of it quickly. Go swimming every day and get the satisfaction of watching your jewelry slowly dissolve before your very eyes!

[dropcap2]3.[/dropcap2] Find the nearest howling toddler and let them play dress-up!

Kids are great at breaking things.

[dropcap2]4.[/dropcap2] Travel, and leave your jewelry in a jumble at the bottom of your suitcase. Let the baggage handlers do the rest.

You’ll inevitably end up with some spectacular knots in all of your chains.

[dropcap2]5.[/dropcap2] Never, ever, ever clean it.

Body oils, perfumes, hairspray, makeup, lotions, and the chemicals you come in contact with on a daily basis will gradually corrode the surface of your jewelry, eventually destroying its good looks. Not to mention all that gunk building up behind the stones makes them WAY less sparkly!

[dropcap2]6.[/dropcap2] Wear it while gardening, mountain climbing, windsurfing, filming your latest action movie, and fixing your car. 

After giving it a few good whacks against a hard surface (make sure to reeeeeallly scratch it back and forth to achieve full effect!), don’t have the prongs checked. With any luck, some of your stones will fall out!

[dropcap2]7.[/dropcap2] Store it in direct sunlight. In fact, just store it on the surface of the sun.

Sunlight is one of the worst culprits when it comes to metal tarnish and fading in colored stones. Direct sunlight will have it looking terrible in a jiffy.

[dropcap2]8.[/dropcap2] Wear it in the shower!

Even if the buildup of shampoo and soap scum doesn’t screw it up, you’ll probably still lose it down the drain. Problem solved!

Changed your mind? Bring your broken jewelry in to Pearls International Jewelers today!

 

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Tahitian Pearls

Choosing the Perfect Pearl – Your Guide to Making an Informed Decision.

While much of the process of choosing pearls is subjective, and depends on the wearer’s taste, there are a few questions to ask that will ensure that the pearls you choose will be of the highest quality. Just like diamonds have their “4C’s”, pearls have common properties that should be considered as you shop.

 Color

A pearl’s color is more a matter of personal taste than one of quality, but naturally colored pearls will typically weather trends and fads better than those that have been artificially dyed. Beware especially bright or garish pearls, as these are almost certainly the result of manmade color processes and the dye can be prone to fading or even wearing off onto skin or clothing. Strong colors may sometimes indicate a lower-quality pearl, as the dye may have been used to disguise unsightly color variations in the surface of the pearl.

Pearl Colors

Orient and Overtone

There are very small differences between orient and overtone. The orient of a pearl is the beautiful iridescent shimmer of color that spreads across its surface. Often, this causes a ‘rainbow’ effect on the surface of the pearl. This color is not the same as the color of the pearl itself, but the iridescence that may seem to dance and move across the pearl as you turn it. In contrast, the overtone of a pearl is the secondary impression of color from a pearl as it is viewed against a white background. For example, a black pearl may seem to have a subtle blush of green. This color, unlike the orient, does not shimmer, but may differ depending on which side of the pearl is viewed, due to the refraction of light within the pearl.

Examples of Overtone on a White Pearl

Overtone on White Pearl

Examples of Overtone on a Black Pearl

Overtone on Black Pearl

Black Pearls Displaying Excellent Orient

Black Pearls with Excellent Orient

Size

The larger the pearl, the longer it had to remain in the oyster’s shell, and as a result, these are usually more costly. Very large pearls are a rarity, due to the cost of producing them. Consider that the oysters must be kept healthy and safe from predators, parasites, and destruction of their natural habitat for several years while the pearl is allowed to form. Additionally, the extra time in the shell increases the likelihood of blemishes forming on the pearl as small imperfections in the nacre are magnified as they are coated. Flawless pearls of a large size will command very high prices.

Pearl Size

Surface

Surface indicates the perfection of the exterior of the pearl itself. Higher quality surfaces have very few marks, bumps, ripples, or blemishes, indicating that the oyster was very well cared-for during the cultivation process. Pearls that show little to no variation in their surfaces will typically cost more than those with a few marks here and there.

Pearl Surface

Regularity

Regularity refers to the shape of a pearl. The more spherical the pearl, the more regular it is said to be. No pearl is perfectly round, but some come close to being spherical. The best pearls are typically smooth and even. Do not pay for a pearl that is absolutely spherical and has no defining marks unless it is certified, as these are probably synthetic, and therefore of low value.

Pearl Regularity

Luster

A pearl’s luster, or shine, is determined by the layers of ‘nacre,’ the substance pearls are made of, that coats its central nucleus. Usually, more nacre results in higher luster. The surface curvature of a pearl can also have an effect on the luster, as light passes through the delicate outer layers and refracts off of the aragonite crystals in the pearl, giving the pearl its signature glow. This causes the highly desirable translucent appearance that very fine pearls display.

Pearl Luster

Authenticity

A genuine pearl will typically show minor variations in shape, color, and surface. Truly perfect pearls are rarely real, but may be simply convincing fakes. One way to test their authenticity (although this test can be fooled) is to gently rub the pearl on the edge of your tooth. Genuine pearls will feel very slightly gritty, due to their crystalline structure, while faux pearls and glass pearls will feel smooth and silky. The exception to this rule is composite, or “shell” pearls, which are created by grinding low-quality pearls into a powder and then reconstituting them using epoxy or acrylic. Due to their nacre content, these will feel gritty to the teeth, but since they are usually perfectly round, they are easy to spot and avoid.

Real vs Shell Pearl

Other fake pearl types to look out for:

  • Plastic: Ultra-shiny, easy to chip the paint. Very lightweight. Usually unknotted. Smooth to the tooth.
  • Glass: Higher quality, usually knotted in between and heavy. Look for paint flaking near the drill-holes. Smooth to the tooth.
  • Mallorca: A specific variety of glass pearl, very high quality and usually difficult to identify. The paint is very similar in luster to real pearls, but if on a strand, will be perfectly uniform. Smooth to the tooth.

Check out our post on Real vs. Faux pearls for more info on Authenticity!

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How Can I Tell if My Pearls are Real? Ten Quick Tips.

Pearls International only carries genuine cultured freshwater and saltwater pearls, but with so many convincing fakes on the market, how can you tell if the pearls you got somewhere else are the genuine article?

Today recently broke a story about dishonest salesmen in destination spots like Cozumel who duped their customers into purchasing jewelry that wasn’t real. We wanted to take a moment to help educate our customers and readers about how you can avoid scams like this on your vacation and protect yourself from people who don’t have your best interests in mind.

First, always ask for recommendations at your hotel or with a local resident you trust. Most people aren’t going to shop at a jeweler who is hidden down some dark alleyway, but it’s always a good idea to be smart about where you spend your money.

Satisfaction Guarantee SealSecond, ask about their return policy. If you get home to discover that an item you thought was gold instead turned out to be gold plate, at least you’ll know how to get your money back. Pearls International offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee with easy returns and exchanges. If you ever purchase the wrong size or color with us, we’ll happily and enthusiastically make it right.

So what if you’ve already made a purchase, and you’re wondering whether you got your money’s worth? Or maybe you’ve inherited some jewelry and you’re thinking of selling it, but don’t want to risk taking it to a pawn shop or a gold-buyer without knowing what it’s worth?


It’s always a good idea to have a jeweler you trust take a look at a new piece to validate its authenticity. At Pearls International, we’ll even give you a free jeweler’s loupe that you can use to look at the metal hallmarks in your jewelry, and they’re also very useful for doing annual checks on prongs to prevent your stones from getting lost!

If you don’t have time to bring your jewelry to an expert, there are several things you can do at home to find out if your pearls are real.

Are my pearls real? Ten things to look for:

Tip: It’s best to start with a clean strand so you can identify small details that might be missed due to a buildup of oils or perfumes on the surface of your pearls. If you need to find out how to clean your pearls, check out this tutorial or use our specially created pearl-safe cleaner.

Pearl Juice
Normal gold and silver cleaners are acidic and can damage your pearls. Use a pearl-friendly cleaner like our Pearl Juice to avoid damaging your pearls. It is best to start with a clean strand when determining if your pearls are the real deal.

[dropcap2]1[/dropcap2]Real pearls are heavier than fake pearls. Imagine you are holding a strand of little pebbles. Would your strand be about the same weight? If not, you might be holding some pearl impostors. The nacre that makes up the layers of a real pearl is very dense, so it will weigh quite a bit more than plastic or resin, two common materials used in many fake pearls. Beware! Some materials such as glass and composite, or ‘shell’ pearls (pearls made from crushed and reconstituted shell) may fool this test.

[dropcap2]2[/dropcap2]If your pearls are heavy, but you still suspect they may be false, chipped or cracking paint is a sure sign that your pearls are fakes. To find it, look carefully between two pearls at a drill hole. If you notice any paint is missing, or if the material from inside the pearl formed a ‘burr’ when the pearl was drilled, your pearls are probably fake. Real pearls will have a drill hole that is quite smooth and doesn’t show any chipping (unless it has been mishandled). If in doubt, ask an expert.

Chipped Pearl Paint

[dropcap2]3[/dropcap2]Real pearls on a strand will never be perfectly matched. Since no two pearls are identical in nature, look for minor variation in color and shape that indicate your pearls are authentic. You may need to look very closely, as high quality strands will be well matched. However, the differences will be there! 

[dropcap2]4[/dropcap2] Size matters. Are your pearls enormous and perfectly spherical? If you paid a comically tiny price for your comically huge pearls, it’s very likely that they are fake. In nature, the longer a pearl remains within an oyster’s shell, the more likely it is to develop imperfections like dents and divots. As a result, pearls of a very large size can be extremely valuable. If your pearls fit this description, it’s likely you have a strand of shell pearls.

[dropcap2]5[/dropcap2] Knots are important! Real pearls will be individually knotted on a silk or microfiber strand. These knots are crucial to the longevity of your pearls. In addition to preventing each pearl from rubbing against its neighbor, the knots also protect against the loss of more than a couple of pearls, should your strand get caught on something and break. Many high-quality fakes will be knotted (such as Mallorca Pearls), but they are easy to identify when you know what to look for.


Tip: If your strand is knotted, take note of the condition of the knots. Are they frayed or discolored? Is there space between the knots and the pearls? If so, you may need to have your strand restrung to prevent breakage. Pearls International offers restringing for $1/knot. Contact us if you’d like to get more information about our jewelry repair services.

Knotted vs. Unknotted Pearls[dropcap2]6[/dropcap2]If your pearls have unusual coloring, they may be fake. While some real pearls are dyed for fashion or to cover up unsightly surface imperfections, good-quality pearls usually stick to colors that appear in nature. Your favorite chartreuse strand might not be the real thing, but feel free to rock that look if it suits you! To learn more about color treatments in pearls, check out this post.

[dropcap2]7[/dropcap2] The temperature of your pearls can give you some hints. Real pearls often feel cool to the touch and will quickly warm to your body’s temperature when worn. Fake pearls will feel much more close to room temperature when you first pick them up.

[dropcap2]8[/dropcap2] Do your pearls look like soldiers in a row? If they are perfectly uniform without any differences or imperfections, it’s very likely that they were manufactured. Real pearls are born in the sea, so they grow up getting rolled around by wind and waves, and as a result, they are never, never perfect. Even ’round’ pearls will show small lumps and bumps and minor imperfections in the nacre. In the pearls of utmost quality, these may not be visible without a loupe, but they are still there. Don’t worry — these are signs that your pearl came from nature!

Pearl Shape

[dropcap2]9[/dropcap2]Genuine pearls appear more ‘glowy’ than ‘shiny’. Look at your pearls under natural light. Real pearls are made from layer upon layer of a material called ‘nacre’. These layers are translucent, and reflect light in such a way that a real pearl appears to have an inner glow that is almost impossible to recreate with artificial methods. If your pearls appear harsh or have an unusual brassy or metallic appearance, they may be fake.

Graduated white akoya pearl necklace
Genuine Akoya Pearls from Pearls International – this exquisite strand shows you a real life example of the ‘glowy’ quality mentioned above. Faux pearls can appear more metallic.

[dropcap2]10[/dropcap2]Last but not least, one of the best methods for determining if your pearls are genuine is the ‘tooth test’. Real pearls have microscopic crystalline structures, not unlike fingerprints. Every pearl has its own structure, but fake pearls do not have this unique characteristic. As a result, if you hold one pearl between your thumb and index finger, then gently rub the pearl on one of your teeth (this only works with real teeth, not veneers or dental implants), you will feel a slight ‘gritty’ texture, as if you are rubbing sand on your tooth. Fake pearls will feel perfectly smooth. Note: Shell pearls, due to the powdered nacre they contain, may feel gritty. Ask your jeweler to identify them for you.

Now you know!

We hope these tips helped you determine if your pearls are real or fake. Still not sure? Drop by and we can take a look for you, or you can send your pearls to us at the address below. Be sure to include your name, phone number and a return address with your package!

Pearls International
3114 So. Atlantic Avenue
Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118


This is the newest way to shop!

Pearls International Digital Showcase Screen Capture
Pearls International Digital Showcase Screen Capture

 

Pearls International is proud to introduce our new Digital Showcase!

We have created many gorgeous custom works for our customers in the past, and now we have found a way to make it easier…and more FUN!

Our new Digital Showcase offers thousands of options for you to choose from when it comes to creating your own special piece of jewelry. You can select from unique rings, engagement sets, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that are perfectly suited to your style. We are now even able to offer you loose diamonds and gemstones!

Have your own stone? That’s great – choose your dream setting, metal type, and accent stones and we will set your stone for you!

Are you a do-it-yourself kind of person? Our Showcase also offers findings, metals, and jeweler’s tools at great prices!

And if your creative juices just aren’t flowing, our Showcase offers fine, completed pieces that can’t be found in stores.

So how does this thing work? Here’s an example of how to create a customized engagement ring – we took the same setting and made two very different pieces of jewelry! (Click the images below to make them larger.)

How to Use the Showcase
We selected this gorgeous halo engagement setting. Here are some of the options the Showcase gave us!
Showcase Ring B
For our first ring, we decided to go with yellow gold. This one has a round diamond with emeralds, peridot, and more diamonds as the accent stones.
Showcase Ring A
For our second example, we chose white gold, a square cut diamond, and sapphire, tanzanite, diamonds, and aquamarine as our accent stones. Wow!

Stop in to either of our locations and have a Pearl Girl walk you through the Showcase. The possibilities are endless!

Passport and Pearls

Jewelry Travel Tips: Keep your jewelry safe this summer!

Road trip season is upon us again, and for many of us jewelry lovers, that means a jumble of tangled chains and broken earrings in the bottom of a suitcase. What’s more, we always seem to bring too much jewelry, which puts our stash at risk of loss, damage, or theft. So what’s a jewelry-loving girl to do?

[dropcap2]1.[/dropcap2]First, it’s important to know which pieces are appropriate to take with you. Just as you wouldn’t want to lug your entire wardrobe on a backpacking trip across Europe, you don’t want to take every piece of jewelry in your collection when you go on vacation. Stick with simple, classic pieces that complement a variety of outfits, and limit yourself to just one or two “statement” pieces to wear for special nights out. It’s also a good idea to leave anything flashy or expensive at home, as these pieces can make you a target for thieves and pickpockets. A simple pair of stud earrings and a classic everyday pendant makes an excellent foundation when it comes to travel accessories.

[dropcap2]2.[/dropcap2]Organize, organize, organize! This means no chucking your beautiful pearls in with your soggy beach towel and dirty undies. A travel jewelry case is never a bad idea, although it can take up valuable real estate in your luggage. If you need to keep things tidy on a smaller scale, try using a travel-sized pill case to keep earrings together (or stick stud earrings through the holes in a button!). A hard-shell sunglass case is another excellent storage solution. Storing your jewelry in small plastic bags can avoid snags, and one easy way to prevent chains from tangling is to thread one end through a bendy straw, then attach the clasp!

Threading a necklace through a straw prevents tangles

[dropcap2]4.[/dropcap2]Plan to add to your collection during your journey. Vacations are an excellent time to pick up a memory or two, and jewelry is a wonderful keepsake to help you remember all of the wonderful times you spent while you were off exploring the world. When you select a new piece, be sure to shop at a locally-owned jeweler, and try to pick a piece that reminds you of your destination! 

[dropcap2]4.[/dropcap2]Insure your jewelry before traveling, and take photos of each piece for your records. This way, if any of your jewelry should be lost, you’ll have photos to give to your insurance company, as well as a way to recreate a favorite piece, should you choose to do so. Be smart–keep your jewelry with you, don’t leave it in your hotel room, and don’t advertise that you’re traveling with expensive pieces.

We hope these tips help you enjoy your jewelry all journey long! Bon Voyage!

Were you unfortunate enough to travel before reading these tips? Pearls International offers jewelry untangling services. Contact the Pearl Girls for more information!

Cut Wedding Band

How do I remove a stuck ring? Warm weather tips!

Pearls International is based in sunny Daytona Beach Shores, Florida, where the winters are warm and the summers are warmer! We get a lot of customers in who have purchased jewelry in cooler parts of the country, and are horrified to discover that when they arrive in Florida, their fingers swell from the heat and their rings won’t come off!

While we do offer ring cutting services, it’s always best to avoid damaging the piece (and your finger!) if possible. Try out these handy tips before cutting your ring, but remember, safety first! If your finger is losing circulation or turning funny colors, it’s time to go to the emergency room.

[dropcap2]1.[/dropcap2]Hold your arm over your head for a few moments while gently massaging your finger. This will allow gravity to pull the excess fluid in your finger back toward your heart, which may help loosen your ring.

[dropcap2]2.[/dropcap2]Run your hand under cool water to reduce swelling (be careful not to make the water too cold, you don’t want to give yourself frostbite!). We suggest placing a soft cloth over the drain just in case your ring slips off unexpectedly.

[dropcap2]3.[/dropcap2]Use a bit of soap on the ring to make your finger more slippery. Try to get some of the soap underneath the ring and then use a twisting motion while pulling in order to remove the ring.

[dropcap2]4.[/dropcap2]If you have some handy, silicone anti-chafing spray (the kind used by athletes, we use this in the store) makes an excellent ring removal tool. Simply spray it on and slip your ring off your finger. You’ll need to use some soap and water to clean your ring off  afterward, but it’s safe for gems and metals.

[dropcap2]5.[/dropcap2]When all else fails, use our secret weapon: dental floss! Wrap a good length of floss around your finger, starting at your first knuckle and moving toward the ring. You’ll want your finger to look like a dental floss mummy. You’ll need to work quickly, as you will be limiting circulation to your finger. When you have wrapped your finger all the way, use a blunt tool like a paperclip or hairpin to tuck the end of the floss underneath your ring. Using the dental floss as leverage, scoot the ring down onto the wrapped part of your finger (which should be smaller from being wrapped). Pull the end of the floss toward the tip of your finger, and your ring should come right off!

Floss Trick

These tips work most of the time, and Pearls International is available for those rare occasions you might need to have your ring removed using other methods. Just remember, your fingers are more important than your jewelry. If you experience any loss of sensation or if your finger is not getting any circulation, please seek medical attention immediately. It’s also a good idea not to wear your ring again until after you’ve had it properly sized or the swelling in your fingers has gone down. Contact us for information about ring sizing and other repairs!

More tips coming soon!

$10 freshwater pearl necklace on your choice of ribbon color.

It’s Recycling Time!

(This post is part of our blog series that deals with Pearls International’s take on social and environmental responsibility. For more information on how Pearls International gives back, please click here.)

Pearls International is happy to introduce our new recycling program. This summer we are making an effort to be more environmentally-friendly. We now have two big recycling bins located at the back of our store and we’re ready to start this mission! Recycling cans, plastic, cardboard, paper, and other eco-friendly materials is a great way to help the earth become more beautiful, and beautiful is definitely something we appreciate around here!

Like many people, recycling often gets pushed to the bottom of our “to-do” list, but we felt the urge to make a change for the better. By creating this new recycling program, we hope our customers follow in our footsteps and find their own ways to be kind to the planet.

                                                                                   Recycle logo

Recycling is easy! Just call your local waste-management facility to get started, then set aside a separate bin for recyclables and you’re good to go! Our new recycling program is the first step to making Pearls International more green. We hope you take the initiative to do the same.

Pearls International strives to embrace greener business practices. To read more about how we hope to give back to our planet, please click here

Santa's Secrets

SANTA SPILLS HIS SECRETS! Pearls International sits down with the Merry Old Elf Himself.

PI: Thanks for being with us today. Haven’t seen you in a while. You probably don’t remember, but I sat on your lap at a mall once when I was seven.

Mr. Claus: I’m happy to be here. Hope you weren’t too disappointed by that lump of coal. Good thing your behavior has improved since then.

PI: Ahem. We’re excited to get to ask you a bit about your process. Would you consider what you do more of an art or a science?

Mr. Claus: A little of both, really. With most people it’s pretty cut and dried. They want a pony. Tickets to the Superbowl. Maybe a nice set of potholders. But then there are those few who get very difficult. They’re the ones who just go and buy what they want, instead of waiting for someone to gift it to them. With them, it’s more of an art form. You have to find something that really makes them stop and say “Wow!”

PI: Are you usually able to find just the right thing?

Mr. Claus: For a while there, it was touch and go. I had a few near misses, but I think I’ve finally got the right recipe.

PI: Care to share it with us mortals?

Mr. Claus:  Well, it’s generally very important to get just the right combination of unique and sparkly. If you get those proportions correct, things usually work out just fine. If you’re just a little bit off, though, you’re headed for disaster.

PI: What do you suggest as the best way to avoid a worst-case scenario?

Mr. Claus: As you know, I’ve stopped by your store a few times over the past couple of years. I’ve always managed to find something that will work. The best part is that I still have some cash leftover to buy presents for everybody else when I’m done. I’m always pleasantly surprised that I can get so much stuff for under $100.

PI: I thought the elves did most of the toy making. When did you start buying gifts?

Mr. Claus: The elves have been a bit preoccupied with Facebook lately, their work was a little lackluster. It seemed reasonable in this economy to support small businesses and buy American-made goods.

PI: Thanks. We appreciate that. What’s your best go-to gift from Pearls International?

Mr. Claus: I always shop the sales — the $10 earring sale you’re doing this week is great. I’d have to say I’ve had the most luck with some of your pendants, and an earring and necklace combo is always a pinch hit. I also like to give kids the Wish Pearl Gift Kit. It’s inexpensive and educational. It’s nice that you’re doing free gift wrap until Christmas, it saves me a lot of time.

PI: Great, I know what to get for my niece now. Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us! 

Mr. Claus: You’re very welcome. Now, if you don’t mind, I need to get back. If the reindeer don’t get walked, they tend to bite.

Celebration Champagne

Top 5 Tips to Make Your Holiday Shopping Easy-Peasy!

At Pearls International we hope to make your holiday shopping this season unforgettable! Whether you are planning a proposal or seeking that perfect gift to make her eyes light up, here are a few tips to make things just a little bit easier.

[dropcap2]1.[/dropcap2]Holiday hustle and bustle or crowded shopping malls not your thing? Shop online and avoid the stress!

Make your way over to www.PearlsInternational.com and take care of all your holiday shopping from the comfort of your own home! Browse our website and find unique items that will make her feel like a rare gem and look exquisite. Keep an eye out for special promotions such as “Free Shipping” or “Free Gift Wrap” and with our 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can’t really go wrong

[dropcap2]2.[/dropcap2]Make a list!

Write down everyone you plan to buy for, even if its something little. Beside each name, write how much you’d like to spend for each gift. This is an easy way to make sure you haven’t forgotten someone and also manage your holiday budget.

[dropcap2]3.[/dropcap2]Be sure to know her ring size!

Ring size? Yes fellas, this number is VERY important when purchasing a ring, ESPECIALLY if you’re proposing! She will not want to wait, we promise! If you aren’t naturally sneaky, we encourage you to ask her best friend, mother or sister. Of course, you could always try out the handy-dandy Pearls International Printable Ring Sizer!

[dropcap2]4.[/dropcap2]Stick to your budget.

There’s no need to skip paying the power bill this month. Pearls International makes it easy to stay within budget (and even have a little left over to treat yourself!) with our Fabulous Finds under $50!

[dropcap2]5.[/dropcap2]When in doubt, get them what they really want.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Why not get a gift card and set a date to go shopping together to pick out exactly what she wants!?

Rinse Well

The Biggest Mistake Pearl People Make

Pearls and acid DO NOT get along.

(WARNING: Science Alert!) Nacre, the luminous substance that pearls are made of, contains some organic proteins and also calcium carbonate, which dissolves when it comes into contact with acid. Even mild acids can take their toll over time, and when you’re dealing with a gem that is traditionally passed down through generations of wearers, keeping your pearls safe from acid exposure becomes an important consideration.

Ok, so why does this little science fact apply to you, dear reader?

Well, first off, let us tell you a little bit about some of the sad and damaged pearls that customers bring us to repair. These poor pearls have often lost their gorgeous luster and have areas that appear cloudy and dull. Occasionally, these damaged areas can be repaired through an intensive polishing process, but all too frequently, the damage done through contact with acid is permanent.

How does this acid damage happen?

As far as we can tell, most these pearls are victims of the various acids that can be found in personal grooming products–perfumes, lotions, hairspray, and makeup. All of these products contain mild acids that, over time, can weaken the structure of the pearl’s nacre and eventually dissolve its beautiful shine.


Another way that pearls become damaged is through exposure to chlorine from swimming pools and even tap water. The chlorine used to purify water is actually sodium hypochlorite, the same stuff you find in household bleach. This particular type of chlorine is highly oxidizing, and has a tendency to destroy a pearl’s luster on contact.

The third and somewhat unexpected cause of acid damage is from contact with food and beverages. If you tend to dribble your lemonade while drinking, you could be putting your pearls at risk.

Here at Pearls International, we decided to do an experiment. We wanted to see what would happen if we pulled a Cleopatra and dunked a pearl in vinegar. Since chlorine is also a culprit of acid damage, we decided to expand our experiment to include chlorine as well. Check out our series Pearls International Destroys Pearls in the Name of Science to see photos of the results!

So how do you prevent your pearls ending up as tiny squishy nuggets of once-beautiful gem? It’s actually very easy to keep pearls looking beautiful!

First, wait to put your pearls on until after you have applied any cosmetics, lotions, or perfume. Let those products dry for a while before decorating yourself with your lovely pearl jewelry. Remember to remove your pearls before swimming or showering, and for heaven’s sake, please don’t dribble your lemonade on your nice pearl necklace!

For more information on what NOT to do, check out Eight Proven Ways to Wreck Your Jewelry for Good.

Even if you are stupendously careful with preventing your pearls from coming into contact with cosmetics, chlorine, and food, your own body oils are slightly acidic and can damage the surface of pearls over time. To prevent this damage from occurring, periodically remove those oils and keep your pearls clean by dipping them in ordinary household ammonia (a pearl-approved non-acidic cleaner).


00051 Ammonia Clear 64oz

Here’s how to do it:

At Pearls International, we use the dip-and-swirl method. Fill a bowl or glass with a cup or so of ammonia, drop your pearl jewelry in, and gently swirl for about thirty seconds, alternating direction occasionally to ensure that all the nooks and crannies are sufficiently cleansed of acidic oils. Don’t leave silver or gold plated jewelry in this ammonia for too long, because it can damage the finish. Sterling silver and real gold will be just fine.

When you are finished with the dip-and-swirl, rinse your jewelry under clean running water until it no longer feels ‘slimy.’

Tip: We put a clean washcloth over the drain while we rinse. It allows the water to run through, but prevents chips and cracks if you accidentally drop your slippery pearls into the hard sink. It has also saved an earring or two from a watery grave at the bottom of a drain!

When all of the ammonia, dirt, and oils have been rinsed away, carefully pat your pearls dry with a clean cloth. If your pearls are knotted on a silk cord, lay them out in a straight line to dry for at least 24 hours before wearing. This will prevent them from developing kinks and ensure that they lay beautifully against your skin.

 

Can’t stand the smell of ammonia? Check out our gardenia-scented jewelry cleaner, which is safe for all metals, including your plated jewelry. We also use and recommend Klean Karats polishing cloths, which are champions at shining up your tarnished jewelry.

Pearl Juice

Alternatively, you could always bring your pearls to Pearls International, where our experts will clean them for you, free of charge! We hope this little tidbit will help you enjoy your beautiful, shiny pearls for years to come.