Which common kitchen liquid will dissolve a pearl: Keep your pearls away from these kitchen liquids

Do you wear pearls in the kitchen, but for some reason they end up dissolving and turning yellow? If you want to know why that is happening and which common kitchen liquid will dissolve a pearl, then you’re in the right place.

The most common kitchen liquid that will dissolve a pearl is vinegar. This is the case because pearls are made up of calcium carbonate. It has chemical reactions to acidic solutions, such as vinegar and red wine.

In this article, you’ll get to know which common kitchen liquid will dissolve a pearl, how to avoid it, how to clean your pearls that have been dissolved by liquids, tips to maintain your pearls, and more. Continue reading to get all the answers.

Which common kitchen liquid will dissolve a pearl?

Normally, pearls can dissolve in vinegar due to their acidic nature. This is the case because pearls are made up of calcium carbonate (you will find calcium carbonate in your medicine cabinet, as it is a key ingredient in stomach antacid tablets). Another kitchen item that is made up using calcium carbonate is an eggshell. The only difference is that eggshells are in a harder form. Calcium carbonate, after having chemical reactions with weak acidic solutions, will dissolve the chemical bonds in the pearls. In simple words, the chemical reactions will lead to the pearls being dissolved.

You can give this a try yourself. While you cannot try this out with real pearls because they’re incredibly expensive, use eggshells instead. Simply get some eggshells and place them in a glass. After that, add a bit of white vinegar. Wait for a while and then see what happens to the eggshells.

Pearls tend to be expensive. This is why it sounds strange, but it is true that pearls can dissolve in common kitchen liquids like vinegar. Chemically, there is nothing strange about this. Pearls are essentially calcium carbonate (CaCO3) like limestone and marble. Carbonates and bicarbonates tend to react with acids that liberate CO2 forming the corresponding salts. Vinegar is normally acetic in nature (around 10% acidic), which is why pearls naturally dissolve in vinegar. 

Can water or other kitchen substances dissolve pearls?

There is a common misconception that pearls can be dissolved by water. Approximately, pearls constitute 85-90% calcium carbonate, with the rest being conchiolin and water. The chemical composition and shape of pearls will make them fairly difficult to break, although they aren’t very hard. Pearls are more likely to get crushed by water pressure than they are to be readily soluble in vinegar. Traditionally, if you want pearl powder that dissolves in water, it’ll be processed by dissolving food acids like lactic acid. Then, add Margarita powder to water, and dilute it to add enzymes behind the finite concentration. Lastly, you should hydrolyze it by drying the solution. Traditionally, pearl powder needs something acidic in nature to be dissolved. Pearl powders are largely made up of calcium carbonate and get dissolved in acidic liquids. A reaction will occur when the two get combined. 

Can pearls dissolve in wine?

Pearls are actually susceptible to weak acidic solutions as they’re made up of calcium carbonate. If the wine has 0% alcohol content, it won’t have any effect on the pearls. However, with higher alcohol content and higher acidic nature, the chances of pearls dissolving will increase too. If you’re drinking wine that is light on alcohol content, then it won’t be sufficiently acidic to dissolve a peal. At least, it wouldn’t be able to dissolve pearl quickly enough.

Interestingly, there is a fabled tale of Cleopatra’s Pearls as she would crush pearls in wine. She crushed one of the large pearls from a pair of earrings and dissolve the pearl in a goblet of wine (or vinegar) before drinking it. This was all done because of a bet she made to Antony, who was then declared the loser. The idea of dissolving pearls in vinegar and swallowing them wasn’t just confined to Cleopatra. She also had at least a predecessor and a successor who used to do this.

Is it possible to melt down pearls?

Incredibly, pearls don’t actually burn in fire. A pearl wouldn’t burn or scorch if it comes in contact with fire. You may notice burn marks or spots if the pearls are fake and made up of glass, plastic, or wax. Meanwhile, there might even be a burning smell.

If the pearls are authentic, they will be made up of calcium carbonate. If you combine it with acidic acid, it’ll result in carbon dioxide and calcium acetate. While vinegar will not melt the pearls, it’ll certainly dissolve them. It happens in a similar way, that eggshells will dissolve if it was placed in a glass of vinegar. It’ll dissolve once it is allowed to sit for a while. You’ll notice that most of the eggshell has been dissolved in the vinegar solution.

How to clean pearls if they’ve been affected by kitchen liquids?

If you wear pearls in the kitchen, it would be important to clean them and maintain them. You need to know the entire cleaning process such that you can undo the damage done by acidic liquids. Here, you’ll get to know the best way to clean your pearls. Make sure that you follow all the steps such that the pearls aren’t dissolved or left in a yellowish color. This will allow you to deep clean the pearls.

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Step 1: Wipe your pearls with water

Simply dampen a jewelry cloth in water and then wipe your pearls carefully with it.

Step 2: Let them air dry

Leave your pearls to allow them to dry naturally through air. This is what you should do for regular cleaning after each use. For deeper cleaning, you need to follow these steps.

Step 3: Clean the pearls with soap

Mix pure soap using warm water in a small basin. Dip a cotton muslin cloth in the prepared soapy water. Gently rub each pearl multiple times. Ensure that you’re cleaning all sides of the pearl. This will give you far deeper cleaning thanks to the soapy solution.

Step 4: Dry out the pearls with a cloth

Using the dry portion of the muslin cloth, gently dry the pearls.

Step 5: Clean out the clasp with chalk

If you have to clean the clasp, it’ll be time to get the chalk out. Rub chalks all over the stone for creating a loose powder. Dust a toothbrush over the chalk powder for getting a little onto the bristles. Now, gently rub the brush over the clasp for scrubbing off the dissolved or affected regions of the pearl. Avoid getting any chalk on the pearls. 

Step 6: Wipe down the clasp

Remove the chalk residue using a jewelry cloth. Lay the pearls down to allow the pearls and clasp to dry completely before storing or wearing them again.

Clean your pearls if they’ve come in contact with vinegar or other kitchen liquids

If you have a set of shiny pearls, it is important to keep them clean and polished, especially if you go into the kitchen wearing them. It’ll be natural to worry about the damage that could happen to the pearls. It is even more important when you consider that kitchen liquids like vinegar, wine, etc. can dissolve them. However, you shouldn’t panic because cleaning your pearls if they’ve come in contact with vinegar is easier than expected.

which common kitchen liquid will dissolve a pearl - vinegar

Keeping your pearls in prime condition is essential. If you’ve got your hands on a lovely and unique pair of pearls, regularly clean it. Beautiful pearls are unlike anything else, and you must tread carefully if you wear them and work in a kitchen. Ideally, you need to clean your pearls from time to time. However, it’ll be even more important to clean them if they’ve come in contact with liquids like vinegar or wine. As soon as they’ve come in contact with an acidic kitchen liquid, wipe them with a dry jewelry cloth. If they’re particularly dirty, use a jewelry cloth. Then, simply lay them out to dry before storing them or wearing them again.

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Tips to make your dissolved pearls shine again

If your pearls have come in contact with vinegar, wine, or other kitchen liquid, they may have lost their luster. But you shouldn’t worry, as you’ll be able to make them shine again. Here are a few things that you can do.

  • Polish your pearls with a jewelry cloth from time to time. This will remove not only the liquid but also body oils, perfumes, moisturizers, hairsprays, and more. Vinegar and wine can often dissolve the pearls and dampen their natural shine.
  • Regularly wear them. The natural moisture from your body will keep your pearls shiny.
  • Dry the pearls using a special pearl-cleaning cloth.
  • Store them in a humid environment as this will aid in their shine.
  • Wipe off the pearls with a cleaning cloth that is soaked in purified water.

It is also recommended that you should bring your pearls to a local jeweler once every 6-12 months. They’ll check the integrity of your jewelry, polish them, and rest them if necessary. Moreover, they’ll also ensure safe and efficient cleaning of the pearls.

How to maintain your pearls properly?

The key to making sure that your pearls remain in a beautiful condition is by maintaining them. Here are some crucial tips that you need to keep in mind for maintaining your pearls.

which common kitchen liquid will dissolve a pearl - cleaning pearls
  • First off, last on

When you’re getting ready, you should put the pearls on last. When you’re undressing, always take them off first. This will ensure that you apply the lotion, perfume, and other products before you put on the pearls. These products can easily ruin the pearls.

  • Dry them properly

Before you store the pearls, let them dry thoroughly. This will also prolong the elasticity of the silk strands.

  • Wear them regularly

There is absolutely no need to reserve your pearls only for special occasions. Instead, you should wear them frequently. This will increase the chances of them looking shiny and beautiful. Your body heat, moisture, and other natural elements will be great for the pearls.

  • Avoid any harsh chemicals 

You shouldn’t subject the pearls to any harsh chemicals or kitchen liquids, especially if they’re acidic in nature. Moreover, never clean them with household cleaners as they can damage the pearls.

  • Store them properly 

Store the pearls flat in a cloth-lined box while ensuring they aren’t tangled. Avoid any airtight boxes, as pearls have to breathe. 

  • Watch what you’re wearing

Don’t wear pearls with rough or abrasive fabrics as it can scratch and damage the pearls

  • Avoid wearing pearls when cooking

You should try as much as possible to remove your pearls when you are cooking. Heat, grease, and kitchen liquids that are acidic in nature can stain the pearls.


Thank you for reading. Hopefully, now you know a lot more about pearls and which common kitchen liquid will dissolve a pearl. Always try your best to keep pearls away from kitchen liquids like vinegar or red wine. As pearls are made up of calcium carbonate, they can dissolve in acidic liquids. However, you can avoid major damage by cleaning them and maintaining them properly.

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