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  1. #1

    Exclamation Pearl and smoke smell

    I am desperately hoping someone can help me. We recently had a house fire. No one was hurt. And while I was able to find most of my jewelry it all stinks to high heaven. I am particularly concerned about cleaning the pearl that I have as I know they are more delicate than my other jewelry.
    The pearl jewelry I have consists of 1 set of akoya pearl studs, a set of Tahitian studs and a tahitian pendant, a triple strand of fresh water pearl (the ones that look like really fat rice) with a lapis pendant on the end and a strand of very nice fake pearls (maybe majorica, my mom and I only found out they weren't real when I needed to get them re-strung) the fake pearls also have some burgundy stains on them from the fabric of my jewelry box.
    I don't know if the type of pearl impacts how durable or porous it is and would impact the cleaning method.
    If anyone can help me get rid of the smell it would be much appreciated, I brought them to our local jeweler and I'm just hoping there's more that can be done. All of these items are fairly sentimental so I really don't want to replace them.

    Thanks a million!

  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    If washing them has not removed the smell, airing them out for an extended time may do the trick. Be prepared, it could take a long time.

    Some years ago I found a genuine Coach leather bag at a thrift store -- it cost all of $1.99 but it had a strong smell of cigarettes. I hung it in the basement and after about a year, the smell had dissipated entirely.

  3. #3
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Whatever you do, do NOT use vinegar or other household cleaning solutions. Airing out can help.

    For the pearls, you may have to have them restrung to get the smell out of the knotted thread.

    I would start by buying jewelry cleaning solutions. The kind in the tubs where you dip your jewelry. They have special ones for different types of metals and gems, so you may want to get several different types. There's one for pearls, and one for silver, and one for everything else (gold, etc.) Do not leave things soaking in it. Follow the directions to the letter.

    After you have dipped and rinsed pearls, wrap them in a clean towel and let them sit. When the towel is dry, the pearls are safe to pick up. When the towel is wet, the silk the pearls are strung on could stretch.

    If you have jewelry cleaning cloths, you can rub those on the appropriate metals and gems, but only use pearl cleaning cloths on pearls.
    Last edited by BWeaves; 08-11-2017 at 11:41 AM.

  4. #4
    New Member ohsnapitssuz's Avatar
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    BWeaves thanks for the warning about using jewelry cleaning cloths on pearls being a no-no.

    Question - in this type of situation, would placing a dryer sheet like Bounce, in with the pearls hurt them?
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  5. #5
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    I have no idea about the dryer sheet. I'd be more inclined to air them out rather than enclose them in a bag with something that has chemicals in it. Better safe than sorry.

    A gentle wash in a sink of clear water, with a washcloth at the bottom so you don't scratch the pearls, might help. A little gentle soap and a clear rinse, and then the towel wrap, would be the first thing I'd try.

  6. #6
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry this happened to you. I would agree with BWeaves, restringing as soon as possible and giving pearls a good washing in mild soap, such as Dr. Bronners or a pearl wash of some sort (see the thread on cleaning pearls). No to Bounce.

    If they were my pearls, I would put them on a temporary wire for washing, keeping them in their original order, letting them air out well before restringing. Hopefully, the odor will lessen and you will feel encouraged you are on the right track.

    Keshi pearls often have a strong odor when drilled as there is moist organic matter inside. Eventually the smell goes away. It may take weeks.
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  7. #7
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert JerseyPearl's Avatar
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    "Keshi pearls often have a strong odor when drilled as there is moist organic matter inside. Eventually the smell goes away. It may take weeks."
    I drilled through a stinker today! A gorgeous pearl, but oh my....I rinsed in water and all was good, but wow, that thing was smelly. Even my heavy duty respirator didn't completely mask the smell!
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    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert amti's Avatar
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    I was also going to suggest removing the string first before giving them a bath in water... maybe soak for a few days in distilled water with a clean thread. I personally would not soak long in anything other than water, but that's just me. Change out the water when it smells or changes color and move the pearls around the thread so the insides will get cleaned. I think once you remove the thread, most of the smell should go away. I hope it works!

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