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Do white pearls change colour over time?

Made in London

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
532
I have a white Akoya & white fresh water necklaces that I have owned for a few years. Over time they have both turned an ivory white. I keep them in velvet pearl pouches in a draw. They have not been worn very often & I always wipe them down with a microfibre cloth before putting them away. I have just bought Hanadama pearl necklace & matching earrings that are white with a rose overtone. They are absolutely stunning & I'm worried that they too will turn ivory with time. Is is common for white pearls to change colour of is there something else going on. Also I never spray perfume or hairspray when I'm wearing my pearls.
 

pearlsngems

Brilliant_Rock
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Joined
Jan 4, 2010
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1,593
It is indeed common for white akoya pearls to change color over time. They change color because pearls are porous and absorb oils from our skins, as well as pollutants from the air. But it's not a rapid change. We should be talking about decades. How long have you had the pearls that changed color?
I understand overly-processed pearls are more subject to deterioration.

All that being said, I have "Biwa" (as they were called then) little white pearls from 1980 that have not changed color at all. In fact, most of my strands are the same color they always were. One very inexpensive strand of FWP has become less white-white than it was originally.

I have not heard specifically about WSS pearls changing color. Maybe it's because they are not processed as much as akoyas and FWP, or maybe because their nacre is so thick.
 

Made in London

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
532
I have had the two necklaces about 3 & 4 years. It makes you wonder if it's worth spending a lot of money on Hanadama pearls if they are going to deteriorate after a few years?
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Aug 14, 2009
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22,079
I’ve read/heard dryness, UV, and heat all being blamed. Kind of makes me want to preemptively rub mineral oil all over them :lol:

Can’t lie, this is the reason I won’t be buying many more pearls - I want to prioritize gemstones whose longevity I have confidence in. I’m thinking South Seas and FW are more resilient than akoya though, since they do have much thicker nacre...
 
Last edited:

Daisys and Diamonds

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
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10,729
Is ivory as a colour really all that bad ???
Its not even cream

I'd still wear them
make up for some lost time

You wanna show them to us @Made in London

i guess this is a good reason to wear pearls on an many occasions as they will be practical, to get our money's worth out of them now

my freshies from the mall jewler (no doubt dubious quality) don't look any different 3 years latter and have never been worn (they are a project)

Mum's pearls were unworn for at least all the time she languished in the demetia care facility and then for almost all 4 years since i got them
admitably im not really sure what her pearls are? - maybe they are just freshies - but they still look gorgouse to me
my sister got grandma's pearls which are smaller and a much longer strand and were never worn by my mother and i never remember seeing grandma in them, (maybe they are Akoya ?) but they still looked fabouse if not exactly virginal white !

I did read a moist cotton ball poped into their storage case helps prevents them drying out but i live in a temperate climate without air con
 

Made in London

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
532
I'm not a fan of ivory or cream coloured pearls sadly. I don't think the colours will show up well in a photo but I'll take some & if it does show an accutate picture, I'll post them. I did hear that pearls like to be worn, but also heard that they don't like sweat or body oils so what exactly is it that they like to be worn for? HRH the Queen's pearls have become very ivory over the years. I think they are a most unatractive colour now but they must be very old.

So basically, it's the pearls drying out that causes colour change? I have just started using a pearl spray to clean mine & I spray it onto a microfibre cleaning cloth & wipe them down after wearing them.I hope regular use will help to protect them.
 

MMtwo

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Messages
2,959
I have heard drying out too. My old strand of Akoya is definitely ivory. I read a few articles that said back in the earlier times, ladies paid people to wear their pearls to keep them in good order. I don't know how true this is though. I am sorry that they have had such a strong color change.
 

MMtwo

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Messages
2,959
I found this article from 1905
Los Angeles Herald

Pearls "Die" When Not Worn

That pearls "die" in obscurity and retain their luster and value when worn frequently, is a fact that has always to be borne in mind by the owners of jewels. The statement that a historical pearl necklace in the Louvre originally worth £20,000 is rapidly depreciating did not in the least surprise the manager of a well-known firm of jewelers. "Pearls," he said, "must be worn frequently to preserve them. If you take a pearl necklace and lock it up you will find that in the course of years the pearls become dull and lose the sheen that makes them so valuable. Heirlooms which have been carefully treasured will sometimes be found to have deteriorated in this way. They lose their glow, and in some instances become almost black. Pearl necklaces never keep so well as when they are constantly on the necks of their owners.

"It has been suggested that personal influences have something to do with the matter, but I think it is more likely that the effect is due to light and air. You can wear pearls practically as long as you like, certainly for fifty years, and they would give no indication of change, and you might lock pearls up and perhaps in twenty years they would show signs of 'dying.' There are, however, ways of resuscitating pearls, but the fact that they 'die' is quite clear."—London Mail.
 

Made in London

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
532
I found this article from 1905
Los Angeles Herald

Pearls "Die" When Not Worn

That pearls "die" in obscurity and retain their luster and value when worn frequently, is a fact that has always to be borne in mind by the owners of jewels. The statement that a historical pearl necklace in the Louvre originally worth £20,000 is rapidly depreciating did not in the least surprise the manager of a well-known firm of jewelers. "Pearls," he said, "must be worn frequently to preserve them. If you take a pearl necklace and lock it up you will find that in the course of years the pearls become dull and lose the sheen that makes them so valuable. Heirlooms which have been carefully treasured will sometimes be found to have deteriorated in this way. They lose their glow, and in some instances become almost black. Pearl necklaces never keep so well as when they are constantly on the necks of their owners.

"It has been suggested that personal influences have something to do with the matter, but I think it is more likely that the effect is due to light and air. You can wear pearls practically as long as you like, certainly for fifty years, and they would give no indication of change, and you might lock pearls up and perhaps in twenty years they would show signs of 'dying.' There are, however, ways of resuscitating pearls, but the fact that they 'die' is quite clear."—London Mail.

That's very interesting.Back in 1905 when this article was written, ladies of fashion wore their pearls daily or at least very frequently. I wonder what ways they had of resuscitating dull, lifeless pearls?
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
10,729
I have decided to wear my pearls every single day just to see if it helps keep the rosy glow that I love so much. I am thinking about buying a Hanadama bracelet too=)2

:appl: :appl: :appl:

This afternoon as i stood at the backdoor looking out at the rain and the washing on the line i spent some time studying some white pillowcases
We just recently opened a new set of white sheets and the new pillowcases just happened to be in the wash with some older ones

The older ones still look perfectly white (not cream, as we also have cream sheets) but hung up beside the new ones they look winter white ....
Anyway i guess mum's pearls are winter white now

Anyway i was just thinking about pearls while i was studying the pillowcases
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
10,729
This thread has not been good for my insomnia
Mum's pearls sat locked in the solicitor's safe for years when she languished away in the demetia care facility
They do look very cream
However...
Even though Im not at all into white in interior design i do rather fondly remember a brochure a pain company put out just for whites and it was a gorgouse brooche
 

Lisa Loves Shiny

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
3,999
I have decided to wear my pearls every single day just to see if it helps keep the rosy glow that I love so much. I am thinking about buying a Hanadama bracelet too=)2

I am glad you are going to enjoy your lovely pearls. If white pearls changed color dramatically over say 5 to 10 years I believe they would not be popular and there would not be a demand for them. But they are popular and people love buying them. :)
 

Made in London

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
532
I am glad you are going to enjoy your lovely pearls. If white pearls changed color dramatically over say 5 to 10 years I believe they would not be popular and there would not be a demand for them. But they are popular and people love buying them. :)

Yes.....I did think that too. I mean some of those Miki Moto pieces are beyond expensive if they were going to discolour in 5-10 years?
 
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