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  1. #1

    Question Mikimoto Pearl with Broken Bail

    Hi

    I'm hoping to get some input in regards to a Mikimoto pearl I have...

    The gold of the bail has worn out, which means I can no longer wear it. I'm hoping there's some way a jeweller can fix the bail without actually replacing the bail itself, as I don't want the pearl damaged. (I live in Australia, which means it's quite difficult to find a jeweller with enough experience with pearls. Any suggestions there?)

    The part that has worn is the loop that connects right onto the bail -- it has worn right down to a half-moon.

    The pearl is very old, pre '70s, so it's very precious to me. I have tried contacting Mikimoto themselves, but as they don't have any boutiques in Australia at this point in time, there's not much they can do for me (unless, of course, I travel overseas to them).

    Hoping I'm posting in the correct forum, and looking forward to any suggestions.

    Thanks,
    Tija

  2. #2
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    Could you manage a photo? to see the mounting would help us figure out what might be possible.
    thanks

  3. #3

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    Sorry -- here are a couple of photos. Apologies for the not-great-quality...

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  4. #4
    Inactive Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tija View Post
    Sorry -- here are a couple of photos. Apologies for the not-great-quality...
    Hi Tija, welcome to PG.

    Actually, the photography is quite good. You were very fortunate to not lose that pearl.

    So long as the bale isn't too large in diameter, it appears that finding could be soldered without removing the pearl, so long as the pearl and cup is set in a heat sinking compound. An iron would be recommended as opposed to an open flame.

    We have several members in Oz, who might be able to point you in the right direction.

    Hopefully you'll be wearing your vintage Mikimoto again soon!

  5. #5
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    Now all is clear! Even if it can't be repaired with the pearl still in place it looks as though it would not be too difficult to remove the pearl from the finding as the cap isn't too big. At its most basic you just twist and break the pin. Then the pin stump can be drilled out and a new pendant cap fitted. This solution is a bit more brutal but demands a lower skill level in the jeweller (all that is needed is a 0.7 drill bit and a tube of glue, plus the new cap)
    If you are lucky the pin will come out cleanly and then you will wonder how it was you didn't lose the pearl years ago!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lagoon Island Pearls View Post
    Hi Tija, welcome to PG.

    Actually, the photography is quite good. You were very fortunate to not lose that pearl.
    Thanks, and yes -- by chance, it decided to break as I bent down, so I heard it when it fell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lagoon Island Pearls View Post
    So long as the bale isn't too large in diameter, it appears that finding could be soldered without removing the pearl, so long as the pearl and cup is set in a heat sinking compound. An iron would be recommended as opposed to an open flame.

    We have several members in Oz, who might be able to point you in the right direction.

    Hopefully you'll be wearing your vintage Mikimoto again soon!
    The pearl is fairly small -- about 8mm -- and the bail is probably about half that. Is this small enough, do you think?

    I've marked a part of what you said in blue... I'm going to guess this is something to do with the glue that holds the cup to the pearl, but I'm not sure what this actually means, sorry. Do you mind explaining?

    The pearl actually belonged to my mother, so I can't say what method was used to attach the bail.

    Quote Originally Posted by pearlescence View Post
    Now all is clear! Even if it can't be repaired with the pearl still in place it looks as though it would not be too difficult to remove the pearl from the finding as the cap isn't too big. At its most basic you just twist and break the pin. Then the pin stump can be drilled out and a new pendant cap fitted. This solution is a bit more brutal but demands a lower skill level in the jeweller (all that is needed is a 0.7 drill bit and a tube of glue, plus the new cap)
    If you are lucky the pin will come out cleanly and then you will wonder how it was you didn't lose the pearl years ago!
    That sounds scary

    Wouldn't there be a chance the pearl broke?

  7. #7
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    It is unlikely that the pearl would break. The only danger is that the cap would take some of the layer of nacre off with it if it is glued.
    On reflection I am amazed that the nacre on an akoya has outlasted the gold in the pendant loop. It must be a very early Mikimoto with a decent layer of nacre. (or you spend your life bouncing around on a trampoline to wear down the gold)

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    Quote Originally Posted by pearlescence View Post
    It is unlikely that the pearl would break. The only danger is that the cap would take some of the layer of nacre off with it if it is glued.
    On reflection I am amazed that the nacre on an akoya has outlasted the gold in the pendant loop. It must be a very early Mikimoto with a decent layer of nacre. (or you spend your life bouncing around on a trampoline to wear down the gold)
    Well, as I mentioned in my first post, the pearl is pre '70s -- not entirely sure on a specific date.

    As for the gold wearing out... for the life of the pendant I had a habit of running it up and down the chain. Now that I've worn it out, I know not to do that

    Anyway, I think I'd feel a bit safer going with the soldering process if that's a possibility. Either way, though, I need to find a decent jeweller.

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    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome, Tija,

    Perhaps soaking the pearl in attack adhesive remover solution to remove the cap, repairing the cap, and regluing? We have several members in Sydney and Melbourne who might be able to help or refer you to a good jeweler. Are you in that area?

    There is a very old thread here, Ungluing Pearls with a couple of other methods suggested. Personally, I have used the Attack a few times with good results.
    Pattye


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  10. #10

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    I know I'm probably being a pain, it's just that I don't want to damage the pearl... Is there any long-term effect on the pearl when using any of the methods mentioned in that thread -- boiling water, microwaving and using the attack adhesive remover? Does it damage the nacre at all?

    I really want to get this pearl fixed, but I don't want to end up with a damaged pearl.

  11. #11
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Attack is what the pros use to remove a pearl from its glued on bail. It is also what some of us amateurs use to remove a pearl from a setting. Attack will not hurt pearls. Boiling water may or may not soften the glue enough to get the bail off. You also want to get the glue out of the hole.

    Any jeweler with a bench in the shop can soak the pearl off the bail with Attack and repair or change the bail.

    So, take it to a jeweler with access to repair work. It is a simple repair.

    Or buy Attack, a bail and the right glue and do it yourself.
    Caitlin

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

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    I would be very wary of taking a chance that the post might break off in the pearl if you attempt to remove it. With an akoya pearl (especially and old one), you won't be able to drill out the post without destroying the pearl. Even younger akoya pearls are very difficult to work with because they are so delicate. It looks like the bail can be repaired without removing the pearl. Just be very careful with any flame. A laser would be safer.

  13. #13
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    You didn't say where you are in Australia, you might try contacting Nerida, who is a member here. Check the member list for her info.

    Hopefully Jeremy will comment on his experience with Attack. I think it is widely used in the jewelry industry, but as yet I personally have no long-term experience to report.

    Of course, you don't want to damage the pearl, that's why you want to have as much info as possible when you hand it over to a jeweler for repair. You can ask intelligent questions.

    I haven't tried the isoprophyl alcohol treatment yet. Personally, might try the boiling water, but not the microwave.

    Good luck!
    Pattye


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  14. #14
    Pearl Master Senior Member pbazar's Avatar
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    Find someone with laser welder no need to remove the pearl no heat
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  15. #15
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    We've used Attack extensively to remove epoxy from pearls and we've never had any damaged from it. It seems to be very safe for pearls. I agree with Peter about the laser. This would be the easiest and most simple way to fix the pendant.

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