2012 Lawton Drum Company

Remove yellow from white marine pearl

Q: What is the best way to remove the yellow from aged white marine pearl?

A: Unfortunately, depending on what caused the pearl to yellow, there may not be an easy way to get the yellow out. If the discoloration is just due to a build up of dirt, dust, grime, nicotine, some other type of surface crud, it may be possible to remove much of the discoloration with a thorough cleaning. A good cleaner to use is Soft Scrub (without bleach). It has a mild abrasive that will cut through the dirt and grime without harming the pearl, and acts similar to a polishing compound. After using. the Soft Scrub, go over the shell with a damp cloth or a little Windex or Glass Plus to remove any remaining residue. Immediately follow with some type of polish, such as Groove Juice SHELL SHINE, Gibson Guitar Polish, or some other polish formulated for use on plastics. If after this cleaning process, the shell is still too yellow then the discoloration is probably due to exposure to light over long period of time. If that's the case, then all the Soft Scrub in the world won't get the yellow out. For that, you'll need to resort to a more radical method, which could involve using lacquer thinner, super fine sand paper or 4 x 0 steel wool, as you'll need to remove some of the top layer of the pearl. This can be rather risky and shouldn't be attempted by the faint-of-heart, as you could ruin the finish altogether. Depending on how aggressive you get, you will need to follow up with polish and wax, or possibility with one or more coats of clear or tinted lacquer or polyurethane. Of course, alot of collectors prefer that yellowish or greenish tint that white marine pearl acquires over the years. Much like grey hair, it's a sign of age, which can be a good thing. Because of the different degrees of discoloration and the varied patterns of pearl, white marine pearl can be one of the more frustrating finishes to collect, especially if you're trying to piece together an outfit.