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Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Pearls

pearl-man

New member
My company was started in 1939 by my mother who had to string because she had congenital heart problems. (eventually fixed in 1957
died in 02) I have strung and managed this pearl company since 1965 and I COMPLIMENT YOU ON YOUR CLEANING ARTICLE. !!!!!!
NORM
 

mrsadm

New member
Hello, I hope this question is OK here (I am new to the forum). A favorite bracelet of mine had a string break on 1 strand. Is there anyone here or recommended by members, that can restring it? It's an older piece so probably needs all 3 strands restrung. The pearls are very tiny so there are no knots in between them. Here are two pictures. I am hoping someone on this forum can advise, thank you!
Linda

IMG_20170127_101444130.jpg
IMG_20170127_101419786.jpg
 

Pearl Dreams

Pearl Enthusiast
Linda,

You could take it to a local jeweler, who would probably send it to whomever they use to restring pearls, but the good news is that it would not be hard to restring it yourself! We have instructions stickied on restringing in the Lowly Beader's Forum here.

It doesn't look like there is any gimp being used (finely coiled wire that protects the thread at the point where the pearls connect with the hardware). So the thread could loop directly around the metal ring before back-knotting.
You would need:
strong fine thread (I recommend synthetic Serafil [name updated], sold by Pattye in her Etsy shop)-- https://www.etsy.com/shop/PatriciaSaabDesigns
a fine flexible wire needle (Pattye carries these too, but I buy mine at Michael's)
something to cut the thread with (e.g. a craft/razor knife or box cutter)

Alternatively you could use fine beading wire (like Soft Touch by Softflex) which is thin enough to pass through small pearl drill holes, and use crimp beads to secure it at the ring ends. This is easy! In fact, stringing a 3-strand bracelet on beading wire was my very first beading project, way back when.
 
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mrsadm

New member
Thank you Pearl Dreams, if you think it is pretty easy then I will give this a try! I was a bit nervous about trying myself. Thanks for all the information!
Linda
 

Curly Celt

New member
Hello all, a pearl newbie here. I noticed, earlier on this thread, Jeremy recommending professional restringing/knotting. In making this recommendation in 2006, he said it should cost about $10 - $30 dollars. Now, 11 years later, I needed to have an 18" strand restrung, and it's costing me over $60. Does that represent normal inflation over 11 years? Or is that high? It's with a jeweler I trust, so I didn't think twice about it until I read Jeremy's recommendation. Thanks!
 

GemGeek

Pearlista
That price sound reasonable. If you were near a jewelry district you might be able to get a wholesale price. :)
 

Camelotshadow

New member
This thread was a chuckle but never heard of the sunshine cloth. Might try it on a older dead pearl. I think I have just used plain toothpaste to polish a pearl. Figure if its ok for your pearly whites then it would be ok for the pearl.

Soap for washing pearl? Castile like Dr Bonners? I have that.

I do apply damp cloths to pearls at time or a light spritz of spiring water. as most of mine are over 50 years old. The other night I took them all in the bathroom & let them have some moisture from a warm steamy bath.

I took a pearl ring in to have a prong reapired & the guy told me when I picke it up he polished the pearl. I was livid. I really did not think he should have done that without asking. Taking a layer of nacre off inho could lead to damage of the surface.
 

cmd2014

New member
I wouldn't use toothpaste - it's abrasive (it's bad for dental work too). Unscented Castile (like Dr. Bonners) and filtered water or a pearl cleaning cloth(like what Pearl Paradise sends when you buy pearls from them - I think they sell them as well) would be best. And pearl polishing doesn't necessarily mean taking off a layer of nacre (although it could depending on the jeweler). He might have simply washed and hand polished it with a cloth, or there is a process where pearls are tumbled with walnut shell and a natural polishing agent to smooth them and regain a bit of sheen.
 

amti

New member
I'd have to agree on not using toothpaste to clean pearls. My 82 year old mom stopped using toothpaste about 20 years ago bc her dentist told her it was stripping the enamel off her teeth. My jeweler grandmother, who has been gone for several decades used to use a toothbrush with nothing on it to clean diamonds set in gold. It removes the scum that accumulates behind the stone when you wear it continuously.

CMD, do you know who does the walnut shell tumbling to polish pearls? Do pearl strands need to be unstrung when they do this?
 

cmd2014

New member
Amti,

I don't know of anyone who does it. I've just read about it as a treatment that pearls are sometimes given.
 

Camelotshadow

New member
OOOhhh so NO more toothpaste/ I use pro enamel...
I only do it when I first get a pearl & it might have a film on it.

I have Dr Bonners lavendar hemp scent...

I was thinking about Le Blanc for silk washables. IT would be good for the string. Not sure how gentle it is but its formulated to keep elastic from breaking down???
 
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Camelotshadow

New member
Link is not opening but I guess I should research the toothpaste. I really did not think it would hurt a pearl but I guess it depends upon what abrasive the paste contains. Luckily I'm not a brush after every meal person but do blrush regularly at night. I guess you could wear your enamel with too much brushing. I have on occassion used baking soda & peroxide as it gives a good clean periodically.

I've been using pro enamel & a oral B round for my teeth for many years now & the results are great. My dentist is happy & I try to see him every 4 months but now I am on chemo so that will get pushed to 6 mo or so after chemo.
 

Pearl Dreams

Pearl Enthusiast
I would not use toothpaste on pearls....nacre is quite soft and I would not want to take the risk. It just isn't necessary.

A bit of warm water, some mild soap, a soft cloth-- or a very soft brush if needed near prongs.
 

pearl-man

New member
Quality pearls are durable, but proper care is necessary to keep them beautiful and lustrous. Here are important tips to care for your pearls. If you're anything like me, I like to wear my pearls everywhere so I take special precautions so that they will maintain their allure.

Gently wipe the pearls with a warm, damp cloth to remove body oils or dirt (which may harm the colors) before putting them away.

Keep pearls away from chlorine bleach, vinegar, ammonia, hairspray, perfume, and cosmetics, as these substances will damage the pearl surface. Make sure to put pearls on after finished spraying perfume or hairspray and putting on makeup. Also, remove pearls before exercising to keep them away from perspiration. Be very careful with substances as they will eat holes in the pearl nacre.

Wash pearls periodically with mild soap (NOT detergent) and a soft cloth. When finished washing the pearls, rinse them in clean water and wrap them in a thin, damp cotton towel to dry. If the pearls are especially dirty, wipe the pearl with acetone polish remover. Acetone will not hurt pearls. DO NOT use jewelry cleaners with ammonia or vinegar in them.

Pearls should be stored away from other objects or jewelry that may scratch the pearls’ surface. Wrap the pearls in linen, soft cloth, or place in a soft pouch. Do NOT store pearls in an airtight package such as a plastic bag because pearls need moisture. If the environment is too dry, the pearls may crack. If placing the pearls in a safety deposit box or in a hot environment, leave a damp cloth nearby.

Restring pearls once a year if worn often. Be sure to have each pearl knotted separately, preferably with silk, so they do not rub together and wear on the pearl nacre. If pearls are very small, knots between each pearl may be undesirable.

Amanda Raab
President
PurePearls.com

Hooooo Yaaaa
I can't make any more recommendations to your note. Kudos We wee just sent several 1000 meters of silk no longer used by our agents vendor in Japan.
 

Camelotshadow

New member
I agree...have tried the salt scrub with sea salt & hawaiian water. Kona water from the depths of the ocean desalinated..oh well it was on sale & thought the pearl might like a taste of it...LOL They get a real smooth glossy shine.

I am afraid of the acetone. Don;t think I would use it or ever feel the need to use it unless you got nailpolish or paint on them I would not think it was necessary.

One should not wear pearls while painting & use a good napkin on the chest while eating red pasta sauce & salads...
 

Camelotshadow

New member
Why would one use acetone?

I've thought about those who use a drop of oil for shine but oil yellows over time. The pearls could develop a yellow tone.
Maybe coconut oil?Its white.

Pearls really should not need such intense cleaning unless they are really old like the ones I buy & may have years of film on them.

I've seen salt scrub mentioned. Can that scratch? I tried it with sea salt in kona deep water. Really shined up an old pair whch had sort of a matt finish. They are old old pearls from the 30;s or even 20;s.
 
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