Broken pin inside pearl

Any one out there have a special, magical way to “remove” a pin that
is broken off and stuck inside of a pearl? Seems I read something
posted a while back but can’t remember. Thanks for any help. Mary Ann

Hello Mary Ann: The best way to remove it is to drill it out with a
ball burr or drill bit. The trick is keeping on the metal. Since the
pearl is much softer than the metal, your bit will almost always
migrate over. This is why I prefer the ball burr. Since you will be
regluing it onto another post and the hole will be hidden, it does
not matter if you drill a larger hole or a hole not as deep. Hope
this helps. Michael R. Mathews Sr. Victoria,Texas USA JACMBJ

I recently was successful at drilling a pin out of a pearl. I held
the pearl rather gently in a leather-faced vice on a drill press. I
ran the drill as slowly as possible and stopped often so that there
would be minimal heat build-up. Hope this helps. Michael Parkin

The next time you go to the Dentist, ask for their burs they throw
out. They are tiny, sharp and just the right thing in on many
occasions. I just used one to drill gold out of a coral heart.
Worked like a charm. I told my boss when he was on his way to the
dentist to ask for them, He came back with a big bag of them. You
be very impressed with these little guys.

I use a round burr to start to grind out the post; this makes a
concave indentation, then proceed with a drill bit. Use lubricant,
dont overheat as this will darken the pearl, water works too. the
drill bit should be just the size of the hole. good luck!

What about etching it out? Will silver mordants destroy the pearl?
Or using a small open-core diamond drill to expose enough of the
wire to get ahold of? (also have to dissolve the glue) Just


Dear Mary Anne and all, There is another trick to remove posts broken
off inside of a pearl. It doesn’t always work; it probably worked
85% of the time, with the post being removed and the pearl suffering
no ill effects.

Hold the pearl in several folds of fabric or pliant leather. I
usually just used my apron. This will help to insulate your fingers.
Using an electric soldering gun/iron, lay the tip on the broken off
post and begin to heat. Make sure the soldering gun tip is clean
with just a bit of soft solder on it. As the tip heats up, it breaks
down the glue bond holding the post inside the pearl. You will see
some smoke as the glue breaks down. Definitely don’t breath it, as
it smells vile and gives you that choking sensation. Next comes the
tricky part. Let the solder gun cool down so that the low temp
solder hardens around the broken off post. This requires a very
steady hand, and is the part I most often had trouble with. Once the
solder has set, you can usually pull the solder gun away with the
broken off post stuck to the gun tip.

This only works if you can get the tip of the soldering gun/iron on
to the tip of the broken post. It is possible to burn the pearl, so
care must be used, but often times the bottom of the pearl which
might yellow from the heat is not visible once set anyway. We
usually considered the pearl a loss if we could not remove it this
way and the pearl was of negligible value, so I generally didn’t
worry too much about the pearl damage. Take care with your fingers,
however; the pearl gets pretty darn hot during this process.

Take care.

david lee jeweler
Mason City, Iowa 50401

Mary Anne, did you mention what the “pin” was? The only pins I have
ever seen broken off inside a pearl are drill bits (high speed
steel). Anything you do with a burr or drill will just break off
another piece as soon as you touch the one in there.

I did this once, this is the way I handled it: I gave up and
plugged the hole with a nicely shaped head pin, drilled the opposite
end for the pearl post and it looked pretty neat, just like if it had
a full drill with a gold wire running all the way through.

Good luck, Eileen from Sunny Phoenix where the days are bright and
beautiful now, in the 70s

If the pearl is large enough and I don’t have the drilling - broken-
pearl- post- touch that day, I just rill a second post hole right
along side the broken post and leave the old post in place. It will
never be visible, is wedged in place and shouldn’t compromise