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Pearl earrings: how to remove gold prongs?


A customer has a pair of tahitian pearl earrings that they would
like to have reset.

How do I remove the glued on gold prong without destroying the
tahitian pearls?

sweet tooth designs, inc.

When in doubt, use your thumb nail! I find it an extremely effective
tool for delicate operations. Slide the nail between the pearl and
prong to loosen the glue. See if you can move the prong back a
little. You may be able to handle the whole job with thumbnail
strength, If not, you’ve given yourself room to slip a piece of
paper between the pearl and any tools. Slow and steady and you won’t
slip and scratch.


I use some stuff called Attack that is commonly available in most
jewelry supply houses. Won’t hurt the pearls. Gets rid of the glue
(although it may take awhile). Just be careful that they weren’t tap
and died as well when you try to remove the pegs.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC


The best way to remove a pearl from a pin etc (remove the glue) is
to use acetone. It will not hurt the pearl. Try soaking it for a few
hours and the clue becomes gummy.

Another option (which we try not to do unless a pearl is really
stuck at my office) is to use light heat (think alcohol lamp)…if
I’m doing it myself I stick with the acetone option…it is also safe
to leave a tahitian overnight…it doesn’t hurt the pearl…

My only warning…if there is a pin in the pearl and it’s glued in
there really well, you could accidentally break it off in the
pearl…when that happens you have to drill it out…not a bit deal
but the pearl ends up

Jeff Kantra Inc

Soak them in “Attack”. That will soften the glue and allow you to
unset them. Attack is a solvent available from Roseco in Dallas,
Texas, and I’m sure many other places as well. It will not damage
pearls, but other materials can be affected, so be careful.

Heat is another option, and is the way I usually do it. You can use
a pair of soldering tweezers heated up to near red hot and grip the
post at the bottom of the cup, and gently twist the pearl. Or you can
use a soldering iron in the same place to apply heat, but it’s a
little harder to grip everything. Heat may not transfer up external
prongs if the studs have prongs, though. Don’t apply heat directly to
the pearl. That will not give you good results.


My approach would be to take a soldering iron touch tip to prong
warm glue to soften & push off with a toothpick then soak off
remaining glue in acetone. Hope this helps. Jeff Ellis

Use a product called, ATTACK, You supplier has it. If not Call
Armstrong Tool And Supply. 800-446-9694

I usually heat a pair of spring tweezers then once they are hot hold
the Prong with the tweezer,the Prong should slowly heat up and slowly
remove the pearl with your your fingers not with any tools as they
can damage the pearls, sometimes you need to re-heat the tweezers
until the glue melts, but do not heat the tweezers while holding the

Good luck
Anthony Galea Designer Jeweller

Hi Dan,

I use large amounts of epoxy in my work. Over the years, I’ve found
it more convenient and considerably less expensive to use a good
commercial paint stripper rather than Attack. They both contain the
same active ingredient, methylene chloride, but, for me at least a
visit to the hardware store is quicker and easier than ordering this
stuff from a supply house and payig freight on a Hazmat material (if
they follow the law).

By trial and error, I have settled on KleenStrip brand, the Premium
Sprayable version. It is by far the fastest acting.

Everyone should keep in mind that methylene chloride is a very
powerful carcinogen, so follow the directions EXPLICITLY. This is
one material that commands respect not only in use but in disposal.

Wayne Emery
The Gemcutter


If the job isn’t urgent then just leaving the earrings in a cup of
water for a few days will soften the glue (if they used an epoxy
type). Since a pearl’s natural environment is water you can rest
assured they will be safe. After that the thumbnail method advised
by Marianne should do the trick.

Cheers, Renate

Hi Wayne,

The jewelry store I work at seems to run out of Attack just when we
need it the most and then have to wait for ground shipment. So I was
very interested in your recommendation for the paint stripper. Just
curious to know if you have used the KleenStrip spray for removing
posts or mystery clasp components glued into the pearls? Is there a
liquid version of KleenStrip that could be used to soak the pearls?

Bonnie Cooper