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Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Pearls

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  • #91
    My sis had a strand her husband bought for her less than 10 years ago. Probably 8mm and strung alternately with gold spacers. I know they were worn only a few times a year, and when I looked at them for her last year, quite a few showed very thin nacre and blinking. They must have been poor quality to start with.

    Purchasing akoyas of top quality matters, would think those with less "treatment" more likely to have extended longevity. Luckily, we know of excellent sources for these!

    I love my silver blue baroque akoyas.
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

    facebook.com/PatriciaSaabDesigns

    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

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    • #92
      Thank you Caitlin and Pattye, for sharing your experiences.
      So I do not need to worry the good quality Akoyas showing nucleus beads after few years time?

      All your silvers in the album here are fantastic, Pattye!

      Maria

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      • #93
        Oh thank you, Maria---!
        Pattye


        PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

        facebook.com/PatriciaSaabDesigns

        SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

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        • #94
          If you wash your pearls with soap and put the whole necklace in water, its going to make the knots loose.

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          • #95
            I repair a lot of pearls for jewelry store, so I see pearls that got all sorts of really bad treatement.

            strung alternately with gold spacers
            Usually the gold spacers tarnishes the pearls and rubs some of the layers of the akoya pearl next to it. You can sometimes even see that with freshwater pearl, where the gold spacers was rubbing off some of the top layers of the nacre.
            I got a necklace of coin shape black freshwater pearl with gold spacers to restring yesterday and most of the coins we're chipped of where the gold bead was rubbing.
            The next worst thing about gold spacers is that they fray the silk and the necklace breaks much sooner compared to necklaces without gold spacers.

            I find one of the worst things for pearls are perfume: because it kills the luster and makes the whole necklace smell horrible ( specially when I got to re-string those... berk! ).

            Hand cream or lotion: It coats the whole necklace in this hard to clean goo. Since most of our modern hand creams are a composed of petroleum by products and silicones, this makes its even harder to clean. The pearls are just so dull, all sorts of stuff gets glued to the silk and pearls.. and the necklace just stinks really bad, with a strong perfume sent.
            Sorry for describing all that, I just want people to know, so I don't have to clean more necklace like that, lol.
            Last edited by cyens; 02-23-2010, 06:20 PM.

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            • #96
              How about putting a knot on each side of the spacers? Then there is no contact.

              Why do you like to use silk to knot? I find silk picks up all the grubbiness and stuff. Silk stringing is the reason people can't just rinse their pearls off with a product and pat them dry. It really hates water and surfactants.

              Josh of Kamoka Pearls wore his Tahitian on leather (or rubber or something) in the ocean every day. A report might be in order but I think he's still wearing it into the ocean daily, years later. It is not water that is bad for most pearls, it is what the water does to the silk. So silk forces pearls to get dirtier and dirtier until that yearly restring- if one even bothers to get it done. That kind of buildup is to take care of the silk's need over the pearls' needs, which is a no-brainer to me: Don't use silk- especially on daily wear pearls.

              I would appreciate to hear what your thoughts on this are. You seem to be very knowledgeable on cleaning and fixing pearls. What kind of remedies for fixing pearls do you like?

              Please share whatever you you care to share. It is nice to have you here.
              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.

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              • #97
                Hi Cyens, nice to see someone who does a lot of repair work.
                It certainly is a different animal to working on new pearls.
                It's amazing what lies hidden behind the knot and does not surface till
                you start to cut the old thread out.

                Caitlin, from my experience the holes in the gold spacers are quite large
                and they usually disappear under the gold bead/spacers.
                Any thread used be it silk,power pro, nylon/polyester etc they will all show up with black marks.
                https://www.beaderssecret.com
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                • #98
                  Thanks to the experienced stringers who share their knowledge here. A question regarding gold spacers--does the karat of the gold matter in terms of marking? For example would there be a difference between an 18, 20 or 22 k gold spacer and a 9, 10, 14k or a gold filled spacer? Thanks so much for your shared experience

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                  • #99
                    I guess with the high carat gold it will be softer but I don't think the difference is enough to make a difference.

                    If the question is, will a higher carat gold spacer wear down the pearls less then a lower carat? I would say the answer is no.
                    Kevin Canning
                    Pearls Of Joy
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                    • Hi Kevin, and thanks. Certainly wear is one of the issues. The other is whether the higher carat gold would be less likely to leave discoloration on either adjacent knots or on the pearls. I know that sometimes skin becomes discolored where gold jewelry has been worn. I think that is primarily from other metals in the alloy, and it is my understanding that higher carat gold is less likely to do this because of reduced presence of other metals. Just wondered if this same factor would be operative with stringing material or pearls in terms of marks.

                      For example, I strung South Sea Golden pearls on power pro--knotting after the pearl, placing a small high karat spacer, bead, and spacer, then knotted before the next pearl in order to reduce wear on the pearls. I just wonder if the power pro will tend to discolor because it sits next to the 22k spacer.

                      Thanks again, Beth

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                      • Sounds like gold beads are not a good choice for spacers.

                        I don't use gold, but my silver spacers are much harder metal and can be knotted on each side. I only buy hole sizes I can knot on each side, unless I want to cover a knot. I like the pearl/spacer/pearl spacer pattern. but I often use small to tiny, pearls or gemstones in between the bigger pearls.
                        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


                        • Originally posted by Caitlin View Post
                          I find silk picks up all the grubbiness and stuff.
                          That seems odd since silk actually repels dirt. I assume you mean dirt when you say "grubbiness and stuff." That's probably why all those silk rugs, tapestries, and garments which are now in museums have lasted for thousands of years.

                          Originally posted by Caitlin View Post
                          It (silk) really hates water and surfactants.
                          I wonder why the silk industry recommends hand washing silk garments. Odd indeed.
                          Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]

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                          • Ho, ho, ho, knotty. A sense of deju va all over again. We have other recorded instances of this conversation in other threads, though it has been awhile.

                            To recap, my argument is that silk stretches. It stretches from being worn because of the weight of the pearls. If silk is washed and not carefully laid out to dry with no weight on it, the silk stretches, even laid out it may be getting loose knots as cyens says. The silk from old pearls often stinks, just as cyens says. It may have food or liquids embedded in it not to mention perfumes and product smells, all from from direct contact from same. I used silk for decades, but jumped ship to other products such as Bernadette mentions.

                            If one can afford a great SS necklace, one can certainly get it reknotted as the silk ages, but for the majority of civilians, silk is silly. One can wash a pearl necklace strung on anything from griffon to power-pro, including the Japanese thread and the Australian thread. All can be washed with fewer problems than silk, all can even be worn in the shower. The man-made threads do not shrink or stretch, they repel most food and product, AND they can be washed after every use. Some products like Kay Gee beading thread from Australia come in a number of colors. All have great drape, virtually indistinguishable from silk.

                            I don't mind if people disagree with my forward conclusions and I always love a good reason for using silk, but I haven't found one that holds water except "customers want it"

                            I have all natural p. radiatas and Chinese cultured freshwater pearls, except my 1 strand of Tahitians. I do not need to fulfill customer instructions for silk, so I am free to experiment. I find my pearls love to be in water and to be washed with the gentle clarifying shampoos that naturally fall from my head in the shower. Just enough to obtain perfect cleanliness every time. No dirty, stinky thread that stretches when wet.

                            Hugs
                            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 frequently use 22k spacers in between pearls. They've never scratched or marked any of my pearls. Unfortunately, they are so expensive now.

                              In my experience, lower karat gold such as 14k or 10k, does discolor thread and leaves color marks on pearls because the metal tarnishes.

                              I remember discussing this a while back and I suggested that if you're concerned about a spacer scratching a pearl, rub the spacer against a pearl you don't mind sacrificing and see what happens......


                              Gail
                              Last edited by Pearlgully; 02-25-2010, 01:21 AM.

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                              • Originally posted by Pearlgully View Post
                                rub the spacer against a pearl you don't mind sacrificing and see what happens......


                                Gail
                                Great idea!

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