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[again] releasing glued pearl

I’ve epoxied a pearl to a silver post and now want to get it
off. If I soak it in alcohol, will I harm the pearl? TIA for your

Judy Yelon

Heat will usually soften the adhesive enough to remove a pearl.
Gently heat the setting while holding the pearl in your fingers,
and it should release as you pull and twist. I hold the item in
a third hand with the pearl pointing down and slowly warm the
item with a torch a distance from the pearl. Hope this helps.

 I've epoxied a pearl to a silver post and now want to get it
off. If I soak it in alcohol, will I harm the pearl? TIA for
your help. 

You won’t hurt the pearl with alcohol. But you also won’t
loosen the epoxy with alcohol. You need a product called
"Attack". It won’t hurt the pearl either, but it will loosen the
epoxy. It’s main ingredient is methylene chloride, by the way.
Not something you normally find in the hardware store.

Use it with good ventilation, and no open flames. Depending on
how tight a fit your post was in the hole, it may take overnight
for the attack solvent to sufficiently soften the epoxy for you
to pull off the pearl. Put it in a closeable jar. Baby food
jars or the like work well. Don’t leave it open all night or it
will all quickly evaporate. If you have an ultrasonic cleaner,
and a jar that seals very well, you can put a little attack (and
the pearl) in the jar, leaving enough air so the jar floats in
the unltrasonic. make sure the jar is tightly sealed. After an
hour or so, take out the jar and let it sit until it’s completely
cool (DON’T open it while it’s at all warm still. It’s under
pressure, and opening it can cause a spectacular, almost
explosive boil over.)

Often, especially if you have a very tiny torch available, you
can heat the silver post up without actually heating the pearl
itself. The epoxy can be softened enough to pull the pearl off.
But this is something that might require a little practice, since
only a little too much heat and you can damage the pearl quite
easily. The idea is to heat the silver a little bit asay from
the pearl itself, while gently twisting/pulling the pearl. The
heat travels down the post, and the epoxy softens…

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe

Judy, I tend to be a bit dangerous about releasing glued pearls
from posts. I have only had 1 failure while being dangerous.
This procedure involves CAREFULLY and QUICKLY heating the post
while holding the pearl. When enough heat is generated the glue
will degrade and lend the pearl ‘free’. The trick is to pull the
pearl off the post quickly before burning the pearl. Again, it
is dangerous. But so is emersing pearls to chemicals. Steven

We use something called Attack. Doesn’t seem to harm pearls no
matter how long you leave it in for.

Hi Judy! How are u doing?, actually I’m not sure if u’ll harm the
pearl or not, but what I do is I heat up very slightly the piece
and pull the pearl out. U have to be very carefull with the
temperature,so u won’t turn the pearl yellow or black. Do it
gently and it will work. It always has for me. HibA!!

Reallly simple and safe way to remove glued items, especially
heat sensitive items such as pearls, is to get a pair of needle
nose pliers from any tool bin (a cheap pair), heat the tip end of
the pliers as hot as you want and use the hot pliers to grab the
item near where the glued item is. The heat from the pliers will
transfer to the metal and soften the glue enough to remove the
item. Flames are kept away from the pearl and the applied heat
is a bit easier to control thereby being safer for the pearl.
Plus you don’t burn your fingers holding a hot object while
trying to pull the pearl off.

Judy, Rather than take the chance of burning the pearl, you can
soak it in epoxy solvent - “attack” or soak in acetone
(available at any paint store) If the glue is superglue it will
totally disolve it and the pearl will fall off. If epoxy, the
glue will become rubbery and you will be able to pull it off with
your fingers. Be patient, sometimes it takes a while, especially
if the epoxy is well cured. Keep in well sealed jar, and away
from excessive heat or flame. It is VERY flamable,and evaporates
quickly. I have used acetone many times and never damaged a
genuine pearl. (fake pearls will disolve into mush!) later,

I believe you can find methylene chloride in the hardware store,
it is liquid paint stripper. It is much cheaper if you buy that
rather than Attack, don’t get the semi paste it needs to be the

Mark P.

Hi Judy, Peter and Steve, just a small addition to the excellent
advice already given… Here in Australia, there is a Selleys
product called “Episolve” , which might be the equivalent of
Peter’s “Attack” . Selleys make Araldite and Episolve is its
solvent. It doesn’t harm pearls, although it will separate those
mabe pearl blisters from their glued-on pearlshell base. It will
also dissolve the glue in opal triplex and doublets. The beauty
of episolve is that it can be used over and over again. However,
it is quite volatile and I keep mine sealed to prevent
evaporation. Hope this helps, Rex from Oz

I will second Peters idea of using heat to remove a epoxied
pearl from the post, but I do have one twist. I normally use a
electric 30 watt soldering iron to provide the heat, I have one I
dedicate to this purpose so that there is no risk of lead
contamination. A cheep one from a electronics suppler, or
hardware store.