Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Pearls

Collapse
This is a sticky topic.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Well-loved pearls, then and now!

    Comment


    • 100 years of stringing experience

      Our firm founded in 1939 did only stringing of beads and pearls till we began importing in the 60's. Enough experience blah, blah. There is a definite difference in all types of stringing material just as there is a difference between Japanese silk and Italian silk? you wouldn't put a Yugo engine in a Lamborghini. For a strand of FWCP who cares but a strand of AAA should hang straight on each side, which is sometimes not the case with synthetics or silk pretends. Dealers poo poo the use of quality thread. Would they poo poo the use of soft gold prongs on a 5 ct fancy canary?
      Silk is mandatory in order for nice pearls to look great! The best quality thread should be used and that is silk! A natural strand just sold for 1/4 million would you put that on nylon? With all due respect to Jeremy and his heralded success the synthetics and substitutes work well but don't knot as well as the gem deserves.


      Originally posted by jshepherd View Post
      I would personally suggest finding someone in your local area that can string pearls well. Knotting pearls well takes practice, and if you only have a few strands that need upkeep, you would be better off with a professional stringer. Treat the strand like the cleaning of your fur coat (faux fur coat - sorry, the Angelino coming out in me), about once a year. Unless you have a keen interest in beading, the $10-$30 you will spend on the reknotting will outweigh the cumbersome task of learning to string.
      Silk is not as important as many think. In fact, the large majority of stringers "double knotting on silk thread" are either using nylon or a silk nylon blend. I do not really believe one is better than the other - one just sounds better. Almost anything coming out of Asia (both Japan and China) is not strung on pure silk.
      pearlman@mlange.org

      Comment


      • Norm,

        I truly appreciate that you represent a traditional view of pearl knotting with silk thread as the material to use. The Japanese Tire brand silk thread you have mentioned comes in many lovely colors. (I bought the color chart and 7 cards of thread.) I would say it is the highest quality silk available here in the US, but it is also quite expensive.

        Stretching is a big concern when using silk, especially with pearl sizes of 9mm and up so popular now. In fact, many of the pearl ropes and necklaces being purchased now are comprised of 10-11mm pearls and larger, sometimes 36 inches and longer. Are you seeing the popularity of these sizes and lengths in your business? A necklace of freshwater pearls in 11-14mm is not a rarity anymore, so a stronger break strength is achieved by using synthetic instead of silk.

        Most of us don't drill our own pearls, so we are stuck with having to adjust the thread weight to the size hole that is already there.

        I don't recall any examples shown here so far of synthetic thread wearing away a drill hole. Certainly I will be looking closely at my ropes and necklaces over the years and checking for wear when I restring. By following appropriate care practices and stringing on synthetic thread, I hope to get at minimum 3-5 years frequent wear before restringing is needed.

        I feel synthetic thread offers an appropriate alternative choice for pearl knotting: with strength, silkiness, resilience, stretch resistance, fluid drape and a fine, attractive knot. Many years of working with fabric, threads and yarns have given me confidence to explore knotting thread options.
        Last edited by pattye; 10-23-2013, 05:23 AM.
        Pattye


        PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

        facebook.com/PatriciaSaabDesigns

        SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

        Comment


        • Originally posted by jshepherd View Post
          I would personally suggest finding someone in your local area that can string pearls well. Knotting pearls well takes practice, and if you only have a few strands that need upkeep, you would be better off with a professional stringer. Treat the strand like the cleaning of your fur coat (faux fur coat - sorry, the Angelino coming out in me), about once a year. Unless you have a keen interest in beading, the $10-$30 you will spend on the reknotting will outweigh the cumbersome task of learning to string.
          Silk is not as important as many think. In fact, the large majority of stringers "double knotting on silk thread" are either using nylon or a silk nylon blend. I do not really believe one is better than the other - one just sounds better. Almost anything coming out of Asia (both Japan and China) is not strung on pure silk.
          I totally agree with Jeremy's post.

          Dear Pearl-man, I agree with you to a point, Quality is paramount, but Silk of itself doesn't define or guarantee it - and some of the "Synthetic threads" of today are a lot different to yester-year.

          Like You, I have been stringing professionally for many decades - I wont give the year as is a Ladies prerogative :-)

          Also like you I was taught on the Japanese Tire Brand silk thread, and then through circumstance was introduced to a blended synthetic thread from Kaygee which tested extremely well - eventually becoming a "Go-To" staple. I now also use Pattye's Secret Beaders Thread in colours for a good 7 years (Bless Her)

          Both These threads drape Beautifully and are in no way detrimental to the pearls. Those who know me in the trade here in Australia are quite aware how particular I am regarding thread and Gimp (Gimp is another story of its own). I would not hesitate to thread a premium strand on these threads - and indeed have done on strands valued around up to ~150K

          As a footnote to the silk - After years of using "Alternates" I went back to Silk for a strand of South Seas on the customers special request and had my first return in a very long time with a strand that stretched.

          There are Good Bad and Middling synthetics, just as there are Good Bad and Indifferent Silks (e.g. Filament Silk Versus Spun) Natural products suffer(?) their own variations in quality by the very nature of being natural.

          Another Variable, and a very important one, is the skill and technique of the threader. Should they have a grip like a monkey and over tension the thread and knots, or head the other way with insufficient or uneven tension, the result will be a bad drape and lifespan of the job, whatever the material.

          Good Silk has some (many) good qualities - but also has some inherent deficiencies.
          A Good Synthetic can be indistinguishable - in regards to the qualities relevant for pearl threading - and at same time avoid the deficiencies of the natural product.

          In summary - Quality Thread AND Technique are Both needed for a "good" rethreading job.
          https://www.beaderssecret.com
          https://www.etsy.com/shop/BeadersSecret

          Comment


          • Excellent explanation, Bernadette! But "grip like a monkey" caused a bit of coffee shortage

            Comment


            • Thank you so much, Bernadette, for adding your detailed comments as an experienced professional stringer and rethreader. It's extremely helpful for all of us working on our knotting skills who care about turning out a first class knotted necklace. I hope you saw the lovely compliment and referral for restringing Nerida gave you on another section of the forum.
              Pattye


              PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

              facebook.com/PatriciaSaabDesigns

              SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

              Comment


              • synthetic silk

                [
                I remembered to look up the synthetic we do use it is " pearl silk" from Rio.....
                Maybe ere is something better you can recommend. Who knows, I'm feeling better from my cold.
                Norm
                most of our Midwestern customers are still quite traditional. we don't sell many lengths over 24".

                QUOTE=pattye;113143]Norm,

                I truly appreciate that you represent a traditional view of pearl knotting with silk thread as the material to use. The Japanese Tire brand silk thread you have mentioned comes in many lovely colors. (I bought the color chart and 7 cards of thread.) I would say it is the highest quality silk available here in the US, but it is also quite expensive.

                Stretching is a big concern when using silk, especially with pearl sizes of 9mm and up so popular now. In fact, many of the pearl ropes and necklaces being purchased now are comprised of 10-11mm pearls and larger, sometimes 36 inches and longer. Are you seeing the popularity of these sizes and lengths in your business? A necklace of freshwater pearls in 11-14mm is not a rarity anymore, so a stronger break strength is achieved by using synthetic instead of silk.

                Most of us don't drill our own pearls, so we are stuck with having to adjust the thread weight to the size hole that is already there.

                I don't recall any examples shown here so far of synthetic thread wearing away a drill hole. Certainly I will be looking closely at my ropes and necklaces over the years and checking for wear when I restring. By following appropriate care practices and stringing on synthetic thread, I hope to get at minimum 3-5 years frequent wear before restringing is needed.

                I feel synthetic thread offers an appropriate alternative choice for pearl knotting: with strength, silkiness, resilience, stretch resistance, fluid drape and a fine, attractive knot. Many years of working with fabric, threads and yarns have given me confidence to explore knotting thread options.[/QUOTE]
                pearlman@mlange.org

                Comment


                • Norm
                  HI! We are all trying Pattye's "Beaders Secret" Thread! It is getting great reviews and comes in an unbelievable array of colors! Go to her Etsy store through the link on her posts.

                  We at P-G having been known for our experiments with every kind of thread, synthetic and silk, linen and hemp. I always have been one for the natural alternative. Until it comes to a good beading or knotting job, when I just had to leave my preference for "natural" everything aside for knotting.

                  And synthetic is overtaking the silk just since I began posting here. Beader's Secret is about the best so far, as power pro doesn't come in colors except white and moss green and that is too funky for a lot of people.
                  Caitlin

                  How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

                  My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

                  Comment


                  • thread

                    [hi

                    I certainly will try it. I gotta a hunch it's similar to what we get from Rio Grande. I thank you so much for taking the time to send me a note.
                    We don't string anything that needs color. 80% white, 15% black. lemme see what's left 4.5%. color and we
                    use the color silk as an honor to the dead worms who made it hundred years ago.

                    QUOTE=Caitlin;113314]Norm
                    HI! We are all trying Pattye's "Beaders Secret" Thread! It is getting great reviews and comes in an unbelievable array of colors! Go to her Etsy store through the link on her posts.

                    We at P-G having been known for our experiments with every kind of thread, synthetic and silk, linen and hemp. I always have been one for the natural alternative. Until it comes to a good beading or knotting job, when I just had to leave my preference for "natural" everything aside for knotting.

                    And synthetic is overtaking the silk just since I began posting here. Beader's Secret is about the best so far, as power pro doesn't come in colors except white and moss green and that is too funky for a lot of people.[/QUOTE]
                    pearlman@mlange.org

                    Comment


                    • Hi Norm,
                      The Beader's Secret does not seem to twist/tangle as much as the "pearl silk" from Rio Grande. Especially nice for knotting ropes.

                      Comment


                      • Yes. Don't judge all synthetic thread from the stuff at Rio Grande. I didn't like it and I don't like Griffon much either. I don't like doubling Beader's Secret as it is so slippery. BUT. The colors go on forever and many of us love that because we use different colored pearls a lot.
                        Caitlin

                        How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

                        My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

                        Comment


                        • I have been soaking pearls in water and baby wash for a couple minutes but I have forgotten about them a few times (chasing after a 5 year old). Sometimes the pearls don't look so great after soaking them in water, almost like the lose luster. Is it better just to wipe them off with damp cloth and then rinse them? I was using regular bottled water but is distiller water better? I am not having good results with cleaning them at all.

                          As far as storing them goes. Is putting them in bathroom for a few days a bad idea? Trying to get them more moisture. It's so cold here and just wondering if the heat running all the time is damaging them.

                          Comment


                          • In your situation, if you forget them while they soak, you might indeed be better off wiping them off with a damp cloth. Or, set a kitchen timer when you go wash your pearls. It will remind you to return to them.

                            I only use distilled water because we have hard water.

                            Comment


                            • Thanks PD! I couldn't find the soap with the C name that was suggested so I was hoping the baby soap was ok. The timer is a great idea, how long do you soak yours for? The few naturals I have fair very well but the cultured ones, not so good.

                              Comment


                              • Baby soap is very gentle - great idea.

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X