Summer is the perfect time to hit the road, but that doesn’t mean your pearls need to stay at home. Pack those pearl studs (a staple in any wardrobe) and strands for layering. Wrap them carefully in a soft pouch for transit and prepare to dazzle everyone at your destination. Heed these tips before you leave the house.
Pack pearl studs. These are essential for summer style. Tahitians are an alternative to the typical white pearl and add a level of drama through their wide range of peacock-colored hues, from pistachio to pale silver. Pearls are soft, though, ranking just 2.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, according to the Gemological Institute of America, so their tender skin is subject to scratches. House them in a soft pouch for traveling, or wear them. “If I’m not wearing them, I wrap them in a silk scarf and place my pearl jewelry in a protective pouch or even a sunglass case,” explains Missy Rodgers of Assael, a frequent traveler.
Keep pearls away from grooming products. The chemicals in mousse, perfume, sunblock, and hair spray can be harmful to pearls, breaking down their natural nacre and dulling luster over time. Ditto for intense sun for long periods and arid climates. (Some stores use containers of water in their pearl displays to supply moisture to counteract the bright lights.) Heck, even excessive perspiration (no wearing them to your next marathon) can undermine the beauty of pearls if not wiped clean with a soft cloth soon after wearing. When road warrior Rodgers checks into her hotels, she stores pearls away from cosmetics—not in the bathroom where they’re exposed to lotions and beauty potions.
Bring ropes for layering. Exposed skin during summer makes a beautiful backdrop for strands. Since pearls are organic gems born from living creatures, they are especially appropriate for tropical locales. Layers of pearl strands are perfect for perching atop the necklines of tank dresses or cinching the waists of flowing frocks as belts. Just keep an eye on your knots. (Pearl strands feature knots between pearls, so when silk deteriorates, just one pearl slips off and not the entire strand.) Rodgers suggests getting strands restrung once a year. “If you notice your knots are looking dirty or frayed, it’s time for restringing, as the strand could break,” she cautions.