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Pathway

Cleaning silver set with pearls

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Pathway

Hello all!

 

I have some lovely pieces with pearls, set in silver - but - how do I clean the silver without destroying the pearls?

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Just Beachin

First you get a teeny tiny Brush, the kind a insect would use, and the you put on your super powered magnifying glasses. With a small dab of white toothpaste (not gel) gently brush the silver and around the pearls, rinse under water and your good to go.:biggrin: What ever you do, don't use a chemical dip!

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Pathway

Like. And, thank you. Now where on Bob can I find a teeny tiny insect brush?

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Cali Craft and Gems

If you find one please let me know! Been battling to polish the Tanzanite / silver rings we have in the shop - they only discolour in the one cabinet which is frustrating but I can't put them anywhere else! (high value items all get locked up in glass cabinets)

 

PS. Noldy - can I torture you with crystals? Just listed a stack and will be doing so throughout the weekend! (*evil laugh*)

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Filmwaster

Hello Pathway,

 

What you have is a conundrum; how to clean one, without damaging the other. Let's take a look at how this organic gem is usually set, and then discuss methods to clean each:

 

Setting: Natural & cultured pearls are usually found prong-set or post-set. What does this mean? Well, pearls used to be set with small arms of metal (prongs) attached to the item of jewelry, just as faceted gems are today. This style of setting is not in favor anymore, but is still very evident in estate pieces. The other more prevalent method is, post setting. A pearl is quarter to half-drilled, usually through a small blemish (effectively hiding it), and is cemented onto a small post protruding from the jewelry piece. Jewelers remove pearls from jewelry before they work is done by gently heating the metal until the cement dissolves. They then just lift the pearl off the post! When the work is completed, they re-glue & position the pearl. This is why you should never wear pearl jewelry in the water. It also can soften the cement.

 

Cleaning: Sterling silver is a metal that usually cleans up very well with just normal soap & water! This is a good thing, especially if there are prong set pearls. They are soft, so you cannot use any type of harsh cleaning solution or solvent on them, because they may dissolve! Nothing with alcohol, ammonia, or pumice (lava soap). I have always had good luck using warm water mixed with a little, mild liquid dish soap and a very soft toothbrush. Gently scrub the pearl and metal areas, being sure to reach into the tiny crevices, but do not be overly aggressive... pearls are soft. Rinse, pat dry and let air dry.

 

Remember, there is often dirt and grime build-up between the pearl and the metal, and once removed, may make the pearl loose in the setting. Any competent bench jeweler should be able to remedy this by simply tightening the prongs.

 

Tarnish: To avoid having your silver tarnish again, I would like to suggest several solutions:

~ Rhodium plate the silver.

~ Coat with clear nail polish (carefully avoiding the pearl(s).

~ Place in a tarnish free silver bag.

~ Place in an airtight bag with anti-tarnish strips.

 

Conclusion: No matter what cleaning method you decide on using, remember pearls are soft and porous. This is important because pearls absorb body oils, cosmetics and other elements, and once cleaned, may change its appearance.

 

I hope this helps.

 

All the best,

Filmwaster

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