Summer is upon us! Memorial Day in Washington, DC is a wonderful holiday – fountains bubble back to life, every façade is festooned with American flags, and an energy of optimism flows into the city with the busses of tourists (and fleets of motorcycles). The summer season is now officially started and, as Washingtonians prepare to escape the notorious humidity and heat with a dip in the pool or splash in the ocean, we at Spey are often asked the question: can I wear my pearls while swimming?
Well my dear, you really shouldn’t. Why? Because as an organic gem and one of nature’s most fascinating composite materials, the pearl is rather sensitive and soft. A lower hardness than their rocky diamond and precious stone cousins, pearls are far more susceptible to the aggressive chlorine and chemicals of the most common swimming pools. Even the spritz of perfume or the mist of hairspray can have deleterious effects to the naturally lustrous surface of a pearl (explore more tips for caring for your Spey pearls).
Pearls should never be submerged in water, as the silk string that binds a strand together will draw water into the drilled core of the pearl, depositing unwanted minerals and degrading the tightly-stacked layers of nacre. Water also stretches the silk, elongating your necklace and making it more susceptible to a surprise snap. Given sustained exposure, say repeated dipping in the swimming pool or wearing in the shower, chemicals may penetrate the surface of a pearl and discolor your gems to varying shades of yellow and grey. That’s certainly no way to treat the gem of queens and queen of gems.
What to do if you forget and wear your pearls while swimming
Proper care should always be given your fine Spey jewelry; the pearls will return the kindness with beauty for generations. If you happen to have taken your pearls swimming or into the shower, here are a few suggestions for preserving their rich luster:
- Gently wipe the surface of your pearls with a soft cloth dampened with pure water.
- Lay your pearls flat on a soft surface to dry thoroughly.
- Bring your jewelry to a pearl specialist like Spey for professional cleaning and restringing, as needed.
So this summer, before débuting your most elegant swan dive into a deliciously fresh pool, remember to remove and safely store your pearl jewelry. And if you forget, we at Spey are always here to help restore your pearl jewelry to their most brilliant luster.