Pearls are the only semi-precious gem component that comes from a living being. They are extremely delicate and need special care in maintaining their beauty.
If you wear cosmetics, perfume or hair spray, apply them before putting on your pearl jewelry.
When taking off your pearls, wipe them with a dry, lint-free cloth. The calcium carbonate in pearls dissolves in human sweat and this will diminish the pearls' lustre.
Be sure they don't get exposed to direct sunlight for a long period of time, especially ultraviolet rays; the protein in pearls becomes yellow under sunlight.
When your pearls need cleaning, use warm soapy water (never an ultrasonic cleaner), taking care not to get water into the drill hole as the pearl may discolour.
Dry your pearls flat on an absorbent, soft (and preferably lint-free) towel.
Store them away from contact with metals or harder stones that might damage them. Also, don't store them in plastic, as it will seal out air, thereby accelerating deterioration.
Don't just leave them in a drawer - wear them at least once a month, your warm body temperature and natural oils from the skin enhance the lustre. Enjoy your pearls for what they are, true organic gems
As there are many different types of stones in my creations I'll give the basic and best type of cleaning. Many are very hard and can withstand harsh cleaning methods but you are always better off being gentle. Most of the cleaning information for pearls applies so I won't repeat it, just give you other hints here.
Use a mild polish to clean all metal elements. A non-gel formula toothpaste on a soft, lint-free cloth works best (and leaves your jewelry minty fresh).
A bath in warm, soapy water and a gentle scrubbing with a old or child size toothbrush will remove dirt and other grunge from most pieces. The trick here is to make sure that the bristles are soft. Just be sure to dry with a lint-free cloth. None of my creations have water-soluble glues used on them, but I will not guarantee this cleaning method for other designers work.
If gems are looking smudged or dull rub with a lint-free cloth. You may use bees wax or a mild vegetable oil as well, as some gems are treated with them to enhance their beauty.
Take care to not expose gems to extremes in temperature as this may cause them to break, or in the case of some, even shatter.
Take care to not bang gems against hard objects, as again, this may cause them to break.
DO NOT EVER, unless you know exactly what the gem's properties are, clean in an ultra-sonic cleaner or use liquid jewelry cleaners. These will totally destroy some gems (IE turquoise and opals) and may etch others.
Fire Mountain Gems is an excellent resource for care of your gemstones and I've including this link for you convenience. Cleaning Chart