New Tahitians and How to Clean Them?


Well-known member
Aug 16, 2006
Hi everyone. I browse this forum constantly but post very rarely. I hope to change that!

I recently bought some lovely Tahitian pearls and Vietnamese akoya pearls second hand from a lovely person and they are arriving today. She never strung them and bought them from Cees.

In one of her emails she told me that she bought the pearls and they were freshly drilled right before they were sent to her. She did not clean them but strung them on a plastic cord to send them to me. She said I would probably want to clean the pearls as they have drilling residue inside of the holes still and I'm thinking some of this residue may be on the surface of the pearls as well. She recommended that I wash them using mild soap and water and to not let them sit in the water because in her experience with other pearls, when she let them sit for too long, the water and the drilling residue kind of bonded together and left a film on the pearls that was tricky to remove.

How should I go about cleaning these pearls? Should I use water at all or should I just wipe them with a dampened paper towel? Or is there another method that is recommended? I have never had to deal with pearls that are freshly drilled and I have never purchased an unstrung strand of pearls before. I would greatly appreciate any advice!

I attached an image that the seller took of the pearls. COMBO_2.jpg
I'd put a wash cloth at the bottom of the sink (to prevent the pearls banging on any hard surface). Then wash them with soap and water. Rinse them in clear water. Roll them in a towel and let them sit until the towel is dry. This prevents any water spots.
They probably don't need to be washed, being new-- just wipe with a soft cloth dampened with bottled or filtered water. (Chlorine is no friend of pearls.)

But if you do wash them, you can remove residual drilling dust by running a flexible wire needle with plain white cotton thread through the drill holes. Slide the pearl back and forth on the thread to remove the dust. I also do this to clean grime from just inside drill holes before restringing.
Or if you have a silk cord with an attached needle, that will also work.
I don’t have anything to add about cleaning but just wanted to comment on how lovely those strands look - I hope you’ll post photos when you receive them.