Cultured pearls are produced when a small foreign object such as a bead is inserted into a mollusk’s shell. The mollusk secretes nacre, a hard, iridescent substance that builds up around the object to prevent irritation. After several years, the layers of nacre create a pearl. Time and wear can cause cultured pearls to turn yellow and dingy. Cultured pearls are quite delicate and require special care and cleaning methods to avoid damage.

Things You'll Need

Fill a bowl with warm water and mix in one or two teaspoons of mild dish or hand soap.

Dip a small brush such as a paint brush or makeup brush into the soapy water. Wipe each pearl with the brush to remove any dirt or debris.

Dampen a soft cloth with a small amount of water and wipe the cultured pearls to remove any soap residue.

Lay the cultured pearls on a soft cloth or towel to dry.