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Pearls in Acids: Exposing Pearls to the Agents of Destruction!

Posted by Ashley on 5/21/2015 to News
Pearls in Acids: Exposing Pearls to the Agents of Destruction!

So I received a phone call awhile back from N. (name has been changed to protect the innocent) looking for advice on caring for their black Akoya pearl bracelet. She wanted to know if the acetone she used to “touch up” the pearls would hurt them. Uh, YES!!!! Please, please, please don’t use nail polish remover to scrub away gunk on pearls. 

Because of this phone call (and a second, equally OMG NO!!! email I received the very next week involving Hydrogen Peroxide), I decided that I should put together a small series showing what happens when pearls are exposed to various substances like Hydrogen Peroxide and Acetone.

I will post updates each week on the pearls' progress with photos so there will be an online record of what these substances do to pearls. 

One thing that I'd like to point out is that I've totally submerged the pearls in undiluted acids, so the decomposition rate is going to be accelerated. My Hydrogen Peroxide customer was actually using a dilution of 1 tsp H2O2 to 4 tsp water to clean her Akoya pearl earrings, so it took her pearls a little over 2 years to disintegrate. Due to client privacy, I will not be posting the image they sent in to show me the damaged pearls, but I can show something similar here with my own experiments. 


Day 1 - The Submersion

I'm starting out with dyed black Akoya and white Akoya pearls submerged in acetone, Hydrogen Peroxide and perfume (Georgio as a matter of fact, oh la la!), and then will move on to white, pink, lavender and black Freshwater pearls after these first "experiments" are completed.

First up, Black and white Akoya pearls in acetone aka nail polish remover from CVS ********. 

Black and white Akoya pearls submerged in Hydrogen Peroxide (generic brand from the 99 Cents Only Store) 

White Akoya pearl soaking in Georgio perfume. 

Which one of these will see the most damage first do you think? 

Posting this concurrently on Pearl-Guide.com as well if you'd prefer to participate in the Forum discussion group. Visit: http://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9792 

And I will be sure to update next week with Day 7 Submersion photos!

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