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Thread: Glueing pearls

  1. #1
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    Default Glueing pearls

    Can someone advise on glueing pearls please?

    I bought the double plunger 5 minute epoxy glue. Despite my best efforts, I can't get both plungers to squeeze out the same amount of glue, which means the mix was wrong and the glue hasn't set. Also the instructions say to call a physician if you get it on your skin, and I struggled to set the pearls using tweezers or plastic wrapped fingers - the pearls kept sticking to the plastic or pinging out of the tweezers and got covered in glue and dust.

    *Can anyone recommend a better glue for setting pearls? Preferably one that's not so toxic that you have to call a doctor if you so much as touch it.

    *Can anyone tell me how I can pick up the pearls securely and glue them without them pinging all over the place or getting glue on my skin?

    *Does anyone have any suggestions for how to remove the glue that didn't set from the pearls, so I can re-use them? Or how to remove the glue that did set in big smears all over the face of the pearl?

  2. #2
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    Sep 2011
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    Hi
    We use gel superglue for all pearl glueing and so far no failures. Must be gel not liquid
    You can't hold pearls in ordinary tweezers. We use special bamboo ones or our fingers - no plastic!
    If you are worried about sticking your fingers to anything get the glue release liquid at the same time. To remove the epoxy use your fingernails to pick at it.
    If you are getting glue everywhere it sounds like you are using far too much. you only want the thinnest coating and the tiniest spot on one surface. Glues work by creating a permanent vacuum between two surfaces. A big gap and splodging in huge amounts simply won't work - just as with soldering. The surfaces must be in contact
    You will need to remove all the epoxy before trying again. Including down the drill/post hole in the pearl and on the setting
    What size pearls are you setting?
    Last edited by pearlescence; 12-08-2016 at 11:21 AM.
    www.Pearlescence.co.uk
    @pearlescenceltd
    instagram: pearlescenceltd1

  3. #3
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    To avoid getting into trouble with glue, save the stiff clear packaging that many products come in when you buy them and cut it into generous squares.

    You can then dispense onto that and transfer it with a needle or a piece of old saw blade to where you want it. If continuing to use epoxy, you can even out the deposits before mixing together.

    Thin wooden skewers or coffee stirrers work well. Also keep tissues handy, because epoxy wiped off at once will cause less mess. Dennis.

  4. #4
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    Hi Dennis.
    Don't use epoxy. Gel superglue is so easily controlled you don't need to do any of the above. It allows for just a touch on the peg and no more. And with the release liquid, if it goes wrong it isn't a disaster. We would never go back to using epoxy - and we are gluing pearls every day
    www.Pearlescence.co.uk
    @pearlescenceltd
    instagram: pearlescenceltd1

  5. #5
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    Well you're the authority on this, Wendy. I've got some gel to try now and shall give it a go. My main complaint about all glues is that as I use them infrequently, they set long before I can use them up. Dennis.

  6. #6
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    The other advantage of superglue is it comes in very small tubes.
    When glueing a pearl just squeeze a tiny bead to the tip of the nozzle then wipe the post through that bead to leave a smear on the post. no more. then tiny dots around the cup. When you put the pearl in place spin it round to distribute the glue as evenly as possible. Wipe off any excess (though there shouldn't be any) If in doubt lift the pearl off to check there is glue all over the cup. replace pearl and hold for a few seconds
    www.Pearlescence.co.uk
    @pearlescenceltd
    instagram: pearlescenceltd1

  7. #7
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    I find e6000 works fine.. Though in the USA it comes with all sorts of health warnings...

    Superglue (cyanoacrylate) is a moisture activated glue not pressure and if you use too much it also may fail to set - if you are gluing infrequently a larger bottle will last longer once open because the mass of glue stops it curing.. We have 50ml bottles that are open for "months" uncapped. If you glue the component not the gem you can always take remedial action and reduce mistakes or damage to your pearl.

    If you are glueing and having dexterity problems (I have big fingers and struggle with every tiny component!) try using kitchen foil and make yourself a mini reservoir.. Dispense glue in to it and as Dennis said apply to the finding/fixing and you should be fine. This keeps your adhesive container open to the air for far less time.. It wastes some glue... But better than half using a tube and throwing it away because it has set in the tube. Also by looking at the adhesive in the reservoir you can see when the bond has formed.. So you know it is safe to test your glued components.

    2 part epoxy needs a solvent to remove it (sold as paint thinners in diy stores here) - I haven't tried acetone (nail polish remover) but that may work too...
    Can I suggest you pick the worst affected pearl and try cleaning it with solvent using a cotton bud slowly and gently... Pearls are porous and organic material so you shouldn't be immersing them under any circumstances in chemicals.. If you are lucky you can rescue your pearls but it is probably a long shot.

    Sent from my SM-N910F using Tapatalk
    Last edited by 1711; 03-09-2016 at 09:56 AM.

  8. #8
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    Hi there, I realise this is a pretty historic thread - but - it's just what I'm looking for, so thanks for the advice as to type of glue. One question I have though is - do you need to drill the pearl first or can you simply glue it? I ask in that I've picked up three really nice natural pearls worth a reasonable amount & they are not currently drilled. If possible, it would save some nerves if I could create a pendant by simply glueing on the finding.

  9. #9
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    Yes, pearls need a little cup behind (a domed disk) and if possible a spike to mount them on. So you need to half drill the pearl. It's no big deal, because ordinary steel drills will easily do the job.
    If you are nervous you can use a smaller drill first and then enlarge the hole. You can even use pearl holding tweezers, but I have never felt the need.

    Only very small seed pearls might stay in place without drilling, but a tiny cup is still advisable. Dennis

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deugar View Post
    Hi there, I realise this is a pretty historic thread - but - it's just what I'm looking for, so thanks for the advice as to type of glue. One question I have though is - do you need to drill the pearl first or can you simply glue it? I ask in that I've picked up three really nice natural pearls worth a reasonable amount & they are not currently drilled. If possible, it would save some nerves if I could create a pendant by simply glueing on the finding.
    A round pearl needs a rounded base while a button pearl needs a flatter one, for maximum contact. Yes, a pin is advised because it simply stops the pearl from sheering off the base. Glues work by suction (think of the strength of two glasses stuck one in the other) The pin stops the movement and so stops the suction from breaking. Once the suction goes the post will fail quickly due to metal fatigue as it moves. I see huge pearls stuck onto a post with no base and just one pin all the time. Design wise they look dramatic and fabulous but will last for only a few days.
    Drilling a natural pearl will diminish their value a lot. When you say natural, do you mean wild, uncultured, unfarmed pearls, which CIBJO says we must call natural pearls or cultured.farmed pearls as opposed to fake pearls. I would not risk just gluing a natural(wild) pearl onto a pendant finding.
    Drilling pearls takes some skill - the bit will skid off the surface of the pearl, a 0.7mm bit will snap very easily and you are as likely to drill your fingers. Metal 'pearl holding tweezers' could easily ruin a pearl if you lose the grip on the pearl and it starts to spin with the pearl - the surface of the pearl will be scratched
    www.Pearlescence.co.uk
    @pearlescenceltd
    instagram: pearlescenceltd1

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