Linda, You may have done every thing right and the problem was the
Possibility 1) The pearl was quite old and the nacre had
disintegrated (as organic gems are prone to do over a long time;
exposure to many cosmetics accelerate the damage.) The solvent
simply helped remove the loose particles. Delicate buffing with red
rouge and a very soft brush can bring up lost luster, if the nacre
is thick enough. When the nacre is very thin a high luster cannot
be obtained and pearls will tend to be dull or chalky in
Possibility 2) The pearl was wax or (more likely) polymer
impregnated. These treatments are becoming common. The treatment
would dissolve away. Sorry, I don’t know how to re-treat pearls.
Possibility 3) Are you sure it wasn’t a simulated pearl? The outer
covering would dissolve leaving the base bead. A ttack will usually
work in 10-15 minutes. An hour might be a little long.
“If you wear cubic zirconia, God will know.” Maryanne Thorpe
Minutes off I-95 in sunny central SC, USA