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Restore pearl finish


Hi Tony, It is extremely unlikely that the “pearls” you had were
real, as the nacre of a true pearl would not simply rub off with a
damp cloth. Faux pearls can be quite realistic and do “age” with
time taking on a greyer, or yellowish tone. If the “pearls” are
reputed as old, then the argument could be made that cultured pearls
used a seed bead of shell to culture from, not glass (which would
have been rejected by the mollusk) Faux pearls were very very
popular 80 years ago, and many of my clients are the daughters or
grand-daughters of the original owners, who always called their
strand Pearls. Thus today, they don’t know they have fakes. I hope
you can have a nice communication with your customer and not be
liable for the replacement with real ones. This could be an expensive
education. There are multiple ways to tell real from faux. If you
have questions you can drop me a line…I’ve been restringing for 22
years and handling service and repairs for 6.

Good luck Gianna Lynn’s Jewelry 2434 E. Main Street Ventura, CA 93003
(805)648-4544 @gianna


Often , older imitation pearls were made with a coating over glass
beads. The coating on the better grades of imitation pearls was often
made of emulsified or liquified fish scales, giving the coating or
exterior of the bead a ‘pearlescent’ or more realistic appearance.
Cheaper grades of imitations often had plastic nuclei, so they are
lighter weight than the glass bead centers of the better variety. The
fishscale coating was not as durable as a synthetic coating,such as a
petroleum based product, and when you combine extended age with an
organically based coating that was less durable to begin with, the
natural thing to occurr, is a continuous degradation, and eventual
total destruction of the finish.The pearl stringer just happen to be
the poor sucker handling it when it gave its last gasp, through no
fault of her own, I might add. I’ve been there, and had to learn the
hard way. My wife and I used to string beads and pearls,repair and
new stock, for about 200 stores all over the USA. We used to have
kinda like a quilting bee at our home years ago, only it would be a
stringing bee, where we would bring in a dozen women, all trusted
friends and relatives, and pay them piece rate to string literally
thousands of strands of cultered pearls for a nationwide chain of
jewelry stores. We would start in Sept and usually finish around the
beginning of Nov, just in time to ship out to the stores for
Christmas. The chatter that went on during these ‘bees’ was
sometimes overwhelming but profitable. ED


Hi Tony, It may be that these pearls are the simulated kind currently
being made in great quantity in places such as Majorca in the
Mediterranean. These are glass beads coated with a preparation of
fish scales in some kind of lacquer. They look good when new and are
relatively hard wearing but, inevitably, when they do wear you see
the white glass through the coating. Most of these pearls
are sold with a 10 year guarantee…

Best wishes,
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


Couple of years ago there was a similar thread. Here is how I
handled just such a situation on a pearl" ring I owned and loved. I
coated the pearl with luminescent platinum nail polish, several
layers letting them dry hard between each coat. It worked very well
and looked great…

I believe that can be done with the beads of that necklace, of
course telling the customer that the pearls themselves needed
treating to get back their luster. You may of course offer her a
replacement strand. I have bought some wonderful strands out of
China. Teresa


Faux pearls are cheap and available at flea markets/antique/junk
shops , look around and you may find replacements .

I have “re-coated” with pearl nail polish with “ok” results .
Experiment , degrease/clean , string one by one on fine wire , you
might try thinning nail polish a little too ,[acetone] . Oh… , old
, old fake pearls on hand blown glass bead substrates are worth a
fortune , literally , thousands of dollars …

Mark Clodius