Yellow pearls can be gorgeous as long as it’s their natural color. However, white pearls sometimes tend to turn yellow over time. Does this mean that your beautiful pearl strand will become yellow as the time passes? And, if so, can you do something about it? Is it about how you clean jewelry or something else? To get answers to these questions and find out how to prevent white pearls from becoming yellow pearls, read further. You will discover the best pearl maintenance guide and learn what to do to protect your precious pearls.

Natural yellow pearls vs. white pearls turning yellow

Before talking about what you can do to prevent your pearls from turning yellow, we need to talk about naturally occurring yellow pearls. Of course, white pearls turning yellow is also a natural process, but it happens just as silver tarnishes. It may be natural, but we don’t like to experience it on our jewelry.

Yellow pearls that have always had this color, on the other hand, are sold as either “yellow” or “golden” pearls. This is how you find them in the jewelry shop and, most of the times, they are a variety of South Sea pearls. As opposed to white pearls turning yellow, these originally yellow pearls are shiny and have a beautiful luster. White pearls, on the other hand, when becoming yellow, they lose the luster and their surface becomes dull.

Why do some pearls turn yellow?

Here’s the good news. If your pearl strand has become yellow, you can be sure that it contains natural pearls. Artificial pearls would never turn yellow, so here’s the silver lining so to speak.

The scientific reason behind yellow pearls is that they become dry. Without a little bit of moisture and air circulation, pearls dry out and can become yellowish. If the air around them is hot and dry, the process accelerates. In other words, it is possible that, out of the desire to maintain your pearls, you cause them to become yellow. Storing them in sealed bags and not wearing them too often is almost a certain way to transform your pearls into yellow pearls.

There are two issues with yellow pearls. The first one has a lot to do with their appearance. A dull yellow surface will definitely hurt the aesthetics of your pearl strands. But this is not all. As they become yellow, pearls also become brittle. They are not like other semi precious gemstones, like turquoise or amethyst. Pearls, as well as coral and amber, are organic gemstones. And, like all things organic, they need a little bit of moisture. When they dry out, their organic matter starts to change and they may crack.

Can I restore my yellow pearls to white?

The answer to this question depends on how long they have been yellow. If the discoloration has just started, yes, you can whiten them. But if many years have passed, it will be impossible to restore their original look.

Don’t worry, though. We are here to help you learn how to prevent white pearls from turning yellow, so read further.

Preventing the yellow pearls phenomena

As you may know, pearls are fragile and it’s a very fine line between maintaining and ruining them. For starts, you know that pearls don’t like water too much so when cleaning them, you should only do it with a moist soft cloth. But they also don’t like the lack of moisture.

The best way to maintain your pearls and prevent them from becoming yellow pearls is to wear them often. This means that you should wear your pearl strand or pearl earrings every two or three weeks. When in contact with your skin, pearls absorb the natural oils from your skin, which keeps them moisturized. However, when you take them off, make sure to wipe them gently with a soft cloth. Besides the skin’s natural oil, chemicals from body lotions or perfume will also get in contact with them. This is why it is a good idea to wipe them.

Even though you should wear your pearls as often as possible, don’t wear them while exercising or doing physical work. The human sweat is acid and can easily ruin pearls.

Another thing you should do to prevent white pearls turning into yellow pearls is to store them appropriately. This means that you shouldn’t use an airtight bag or box. Don’t store them in a closed space and try to avoid keeping them in the heat. For pearl strand, a necklace tree is the best idea. For earrings, necklaces, and rings you can use a jewelry box lined with soft cotton, but make sure it allows the air to circulate.

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Ruxandra is a fashion blogger who teaches fashion stumped twenty to thirty somethings how to shop their jewelry boxes for polished new ensembles. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Fashionista, Nylon, and Refinery29.