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Topics: Metal, Tarnish

Q.
I created some necklace links by putting freshwater pearls on sterling silver eyepins. After only one wear, however, the holes in all of the pearls turned black. The eyepins don't look tarnished, and I didn't get the necklace wet or anything. Do you know what caused this and how it could be prevented or remedied?
- Nori Laslo
A.
The tarnishing can be caused by several factors, the environment it is stored in, the environment it is subjected to, humidity and skin acidity. To prevent sterling silver eyepins and headpins from turning your pearl holes black, coat the sterling silver before use with a fixative. Both brush-on, such as Mona Lisa™ Metal Leaf™ sealant, and spray-on, such as SpectraFix™, versions will work. Do not coat the pearls as this can permanently damage the nacre and luster of the pearls.

- Michelle Wood, Jewelry-Making Expert

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