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  1. #1

    Default Second hand pearls drenched in perfume

    I bought a multistrand rice pearl necklace last week at auction for a very nice price, but when I received them they smell as if they have been marinating in perfume! (And not good perfume, my husband says they smell like a great-grandma.)

    The strands are perfect, I do not want to restring! Is there anything safe that I can use to try and get rid of some of the smell? They are so strong I cannot wear them. I tried gently washing a few times and it had zero effect!

  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Without a doubt the thread is retaining the scent. Washing will not remove the scent from the string. They must be restrung. It may also be necessary (after restringing) to air the pearls until any scent remaining in the pearls themselves dissipates.

    It's actually not hard to restring-- many of us do our own restringing. See tutorials on the lowly Beaders Club forum.

    Also, if you didn't use soap when you washed the pearls the first time, I suggest using a mild soap such a Dr. Bronner's unscented, liquid soap and bottled or filtered water (to avoid chlorine and hard water minerals that would interact with the soap to create a scum.)

  3. #3
    Perpetual Pearl Student Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lisa c's Avatar
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    Hi a Winterpearl, all our sympathy. It’s like getting into a car with perfume or cologne impregnated in a shoulder-seatbelt. Gagging Awful.

    PearlDreams is on the money here. I tried to think of other solutions, like a short swizzle in alcohol, but everything I can think of has a bad impact on the thread. And if you try alcohol first and it doesn’t work, and you switch to something else, you weaken the thread even more. Sometimes it’ll dissolve right before your eyes. Just saying.

    Make sure you have a net strainer covering the drain, if you’re going to experiment.
    Last edited by lisa c; 07-24-2020 at 10:11 PM.

  4. #4
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    But would you want the alcohol to be in contact with the pearls? I wouldn't.

    At least a year ago I bought a strand of Majorica imitation pearls that arrived smelling perfumed. Not obnoxious, I can wear them, but I definitely smell the perfume. Washing with soap did not remove the smell.

  5. #5
    Perpetual Pearl Student Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lisa c's Avatar
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    I know, you’d think not, right? Now, I’m not recommending this, I’m just telling a story from my idiot young adulthood. I’d never do this now.

    With my first ever set of pierced earrings, I was scared about getting infections, so I’d nightly squirt peroxide around the hole. When I was finally able to take the earrings out, I left them overnight in isopropyl alcohol. I knew nothing about pearl care and fragility. It’s a miracle I guess, but they stayed fine! I routinely cleaned them in alcohol. Maybe they held up because they were very good pearls? A gift from my best friend and her Mom, in 1972, about 4.5mm? I asked her Mom, “How do you take care of pearls?” She said they’re no special bother if they’re really good, just rinse them off and dry them. She was a dear.

    I almost had a stroke when my sister told me “you know, you’re only supposed to clean them with gentle soap, and rinse them in filtered water...”.

    ( I had them for about 7yrs before I got my ears pierced, and wore them every day for 10 years. They were still beautiful when I lost them rafting in the New River Gorge. We were warned to take all jewelry off, wear no contacts, no glasses. So, I did take my wedding rings off and put them in the car, but forgot my earrings. When I remembered them we were already on the water, and approaching the first rapid. The guide said something like I hope you’re not in love with those earrings...

    I had really tight cutoff jean shorts on, so I tucked them in the tiny front pocket. End of rafting trip - they were gone, ripped right out of my pocket. Devastating.)
    Last edited by lisa c; 07-25-2020 at 01:15 AM. Reason: Had to check mm, 4mm looks way too small

  6. #6
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    That is quite the story, Lisa!

  7. #7
    Perpetual Pearl Student Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lisa c's Avatar
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    I know! I can feel my pearl friends shuddering, can’t you? Such pearl-abuse...yet they were still beautiful. Imagine also, they were 14k, 6prongs. I don’t know if any modern 14k setting could take such a beating and still look great.

    Not only that, but I hijacked the thread, my sincere apologies to all! :-•
    Last edited by lisa c; 07-25-2020 at 09:21 PM.

  8. #8
    Professional Rethreader Senior Guide Member Bernadette's Avatar
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    As Pearl Dreams said, restringing will be the “Go-to approach”.

    However there is also a technique for a type of dry cleaning using pure talc, also known as french chalk (Unscented) and a soft brush ( natural bristle not nylon/synthetic).

    The principle is that the talc absorbs the traces of perfumed oil along with very gently cleaning the surface of the pearls. I’ve used this method over the years with good success.

    Lisa c, thanks for sharing of what not to do LOL

  9. #9
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Sounds good-- and remember to wear a mask. You don't want to inhale powder. Talc can contain asbestos, and in any case you don't want it in your lungs.

  10. #10
    Perpetual Pearl Student Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lisa c's Avatar
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    Well, there you have it! My pleasure, Bernadette!! (Heeheehee). Your counsel is more along the lines of This is the Way to Do It Correctly. Mine is more - if you do insist on experimenting because you can’t resist, then be prepared for.....

    In my early years here I did a lot of experimenting with trying to get dyed pearls un-dyed, with surprises ensuing, mainly about the threads. The pearls were very hardy, but the threads, not so much. One thread dissolved in my hands as I was rinsing it, hence my warning to have a strainer over the drain.

    one day I’ll find the Thread, and post pictures about how sturdy the pearls were. I still have some. Here’s one of the pearls with its turquoise-blue dye removed.
    Name:  8FFBEC7B-4645-4488-B74E-A22E4CC195D5.jpg
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    it’s one of my favorite kind, frosty looking, with color bands. That’s probably why it fell to a dye-lot.
    Last edited by lisa c; 07-25-2020 at 09:45 PM.

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