As bead stringers and jewelry designers, we incorporate many types of materials into our jewelry… found treasures such as buttons, antique beads, hair combs and others.
And, of course, we use beads that have been packaged and shipped from all over the world.
This is a commonsense tip, but sometimes commonsensical tips should be mentioned especially when we’re eager to use our new material in jewelry.
Be sure to wash the beads before stringing them. The dirt on beads can damage them, especially pearls. Dirt looks bad and can also discolor the tread.
Don’t use one of those ultrasonic jewelry cleaners for your beads unless you’re certain the beads are durable. Amethysts, for example, and other gem quartz can usually take the ultrasonic bath, but unless you’re sure, better to avoid them. Also don’t use an old toothbrush to clean beads unless it’s very soft.
Use very mild detergents such as Woolite or Ivory in warm, but not hot water. Let the beads sit in the bath for a few minutes and then rinse them in warm water. Let them dry completely on a soft towel. If a bead is very dirty, rub with a damp, soft towel and rinse again. This will usually take care of the problem.
If the beads are from a hank, that is, if they are temporarily strung, it’s not always necessary to unstring them. Follow the method I’ve suggested and then examine the beads after you’ve rinsed them. If they’re still dirty, then you’ll have to bathe them separately.