How to Choose a Pearl Engagement Ring and Care for Pearls

The lustrous beauty of pearls is a joy to behold.  Their iridescent quality work wonderfully against all types of skin and because of their light reflecting qualities are renown for their ability to help give your face or hands a youthful glow.  The wearing of pearl rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces is therefore extremely popular for women of all ages – particularly those who wish to look just a little bit younger.  

How to Choose a Pearl Ring

Choose pearls that complement the color of your skin to gain maximum benefit from their light reflecting iridescent qualities.  Although white is the popular choice for pearl jewelry, these beautiful gems can also be found in creamy tones, pretty pastels as well as the dramatic deep green, purple, chocolate, silver and black pearls.  

Luster is the most important factor to look for when buying a pearl engagement ring.  The lustre is the amount of light reflection that emanates from the gem and makes it a thing of beauty.  The ideal pearl is of a good size, well rounded and with a clean surface – ie without blemishes or flaws – although some natural imperfections are perfectly acceptable if the overall pearl has iridescence and charm.  

Types of Pearls

Due to improved techniques for creating cultured freshwater pearls, China is now producing large amounts of high quality, well rounded gems at affordable prices.  These come in a wide range of colors and many of the pearls now found in online jewelry stores are these same Chinese freshwater pearls.  Gems to look out for when selecting a beautiful ring are Freshwater Pearls, the Japanese Ayoka and the South Seas Pearls.   

Considerations when Choosing a Pearl Engagement Ring

Pearl engagement rings have become a popular choice for many women as an alternative to a traditional white diamond or a colored gemstone.   Where a large diamond can be somewhat expensive, the cost of a large pearl ring enhanced with diamond accents comes at an affordable price and with plenty of style.  

However, whilst the cost and the beauty of a pearl ring can be attractive, there are also some considerations to make when choosing an engagement ring that you will wear every day.  Pearls are not the most durable compared with many gemstones – although the Freshwater Pearls are the hardest of them all, due to their density of nacre.  

When measured for their relative hardness, the pearl scores low with a Moh’s score of between 2.5 – 4.5.  This is quite soft when compared with the hardest gemstone, the diamond, that has a Moh’s score of 10.  The Moh’s score of hardness is an indicator of how easily a gem is able to be scratched, so the pearl’s low score makes it one of the easiest gems to damage.  Therefore if you wish to have a pearl engagement ring you will need to take extra care.   

How to Care for Pearls

Choosing a ring where the pearl is surrounded by a metal setting or a halo of diamonds, will offer your gem some protection from the accidental bumps and knocks that rings often take as you go about your daily work.   Removing your engagement ring when doing housework or any other physical activity, where it can become damaged, is also essential if you wish it to stay unscratched and lustrous for a very long time.  

Pearl jewelry is also sensitive to household sprays and chemicals, cosmetics, perfume, hairspray, perspiration and even contact with acidic ingredients like lemon juice and vinegar, when you are preparing food.   

Care for pearls should also include keeping your engagement ring away from extremes of heat as this can dry the pearl and cause it to crack.  Conversely, getting your pearl ring too wet can also be a problem too, so washing up or taking a bath or showering while wearing the ring will make it at risk of becoming too soft – and therefore more prone to surface damage.  

Pearls that become discoloured with age can be cleaned by dipping a small clean artist’s paintbrush into mild soapy water and lightly brushing over the surface of the pearl.  Wipe gently with a damp cloth and leave to dry on some kitchen paper.  Regular cleaning by lightly polishing with a soft cloth can also help to keep your pearl engagement ring looking lustrous and new.  

The Best Choice for an Engagement Ring 

If your heart is set on a beautiful pearl engagement ring then look for a Freshwater Pearl that will be just that little bit more durable.  Where possible select a ring where the pearl is less prominently set or where the metal setting provides some degree of protection.   You will of course still need to take a little more extra care than you would with a more robust gemstone

The Beauty and “Mystical Qualities” of a Pearl 

 There is something almost magical about a pearl and it is easy to see why it has been believed by the ancients to be endowed with mystical qualities and connected to the moon.   In some cultures pearls are believed to absorb negative energy from the wearer and calm them from emotional stress – something we can all probably do with!   The pearl is also the birthstone for the month of June.  

For more information about Pearls see our article: Types of Pearls Used for Jewelry.



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