I want to remove saltwater pearls from an old setting. How is that accomplished without harming the pearls?
Try to dislodge the pearl from it's setting with a twisting motion to weaken the old adhesive and break the bond. If successful, use an orange stick to scrape off excess old glue without harming the nacre. This may be the best way to remove the pearl without the use of solvents, which could harm the pearl.
If you are able to remove the pearl(s) from the vintage setting, you may find the pearl discolored below the setting and that dirt and scratches may have accumulated on the pearl surface at the bezel line if the setting is constructed this way.
Pearls can be cleaned but scratches on the nacre cannot be removed. Any issue with discoloration will also hinder your repurposing the pearls.
Freshwater pearls can complement any pearls you manage to rescue from the old setting. You may even find a pearl or other gemstone suited to repurpose the vintage setting.
- Sandra Lupo, Jewelry Designer, Instructor and Swarovski Elements Ambassador