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Is it possible to change out posts on South Sea pearl earrings?

luckyhonu

Brilliant_Rock
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592
I got a pair of South Sea pearl earrings from American Pearl with platinum posts. They are supposed to replace my other South Sea pearl earrings with 18K white gold posts since my ears are allergic to the nickel in white gold.

The white gold pair‘s posts have a “cup” setting which protects the pearl from the tiny bit of cortisone I have to put on my ears. The American Pearl set just has the posts drilled in it. Obviously I don’t want the cortisone to get on the pearls.

Is it possible to change out the platinum setting of the AP earring to a cup setting or will that damage the pearls?
 

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molinePDG

Rough_Rock
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Normally, trade cannot comment on goods from other vendors, but I qualify this as gross negligence.

There is absolutely zero reason any pearl stud should ever be set with a random post just drilled into the pearl without any sort of cup. I've never even seen a setting that didn't have a cup available.

Frankly speaking, you should (and are justified in) asking for a new pair altogether.

I am genuinely shocked
 

m-cubed

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Jun 20, 2020
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57
I got a pair of South Sea pearl earrings from American Pearl with platinum posts. They are supposed to replace my other South Sea pearl earrings with 18K white gold posts since my ears are allergic to the nickel in white gold.

The white gold pair‘s posts have a “cup” setting which protects the pearl from the tiny bit of cortisone I have to put on my ears. The American Pearl set just has the posts drilled in it. Obviously I don’t want the cortisone to get on the pearls.

Is it possible to change out the platinum setting of the AP earring to a cup setting or will that damage the pearls?
I’m no jeweler, but I’ve done a little bit of plumbing in my day. I feel like you could just get a jeweler to take a page from the plumber’s book and just add an “escutcheon” to that naked post.
 

yssie

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@luckyhonu I’m not trade, so I can say more than @molinePDG can - that is legitimately apalling. I have personally had asinine experiences with AP's quality control but this takes the cake.

The cup
1. Safeguards the back of the pearl from skin oils, medications, etc.
2. Protects the edges of the drill hole from chipping.
3. Prevents the drill hole wall from damage - every time you put the earring on or take it off, you're applying pressure to the post relative to the pearl: Sideways/horizontal "skew" pressure that wants to widen the drill hole, which the cup prevents by providing a stable and strong metal anchor point, and vertical pressure that wants to push the post further into the pearl, which the cup prevents by amortizing the load against a large surface area.

American Pearl needs to replace your earrings and apologize profusely. Or refund you in full. I'm angry on your behalf - this would be completely unacceptable in a pair of decent freshwaters, let alone pricey south seas!! Please don't try to replace the posts yourself or have another jeweller work on them - yes, vendors can remove findings from pearls, but remediating this error should not be your problem or your expense, and the drill hole could already be damaged, you'd have no way to know.

AP's quality control is... Well, it's reliable, in the sense that it's reliably abysmal ;(
 
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Big Fat Facets

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Jun 7, 2019
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1,239
this is largely and wholly unacceptable!! it is crude!!

its says a great deal, about a business that will allow something like that to leave the workshop atelier.

i urge you to not try to "fix" american pearl's problem. contact them and convey to them that you will not accept and take possession of a piece that is grossly unfinished.

i dare say that at its current state, that area of the post within the pearl is a harbor for bacteria. and poses a hazard and health concern.

i do think it is sweet of you to take it upon yourself to try to remedy american pearl's negligence.
 

Pearlescence

Shiny_Rock
Trade
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Oct 3, 2013
Messages
468
The cup is not there just to look nice, it is an integral and necessary part of any proper setting. The post will inevitably fail and break due to metal fatigue where it goes into the pearl. I can't think of any reason (apart from the high price of gold at the moment) for omitting the cups.

What you need is any metal finding from the EU where nickel is banned as an ingredient in anything which can come into contact with the skin. America still permits it.(also watch out for nickel as a hidden layer under a top coat of gold in vermeil for example. Fine for a few years then suddenly..pow as wear exposes the nickel layer)

Some companies there do sell EU law compliant findings, and a lot of chinese findings are made EU compliant.
While I don't know American consumer law I presume you can return these for a refund
 

Pearlescence

Shiny_Rock
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I just realised I had only half answered your question. Yes, you can replace the findings.I believe the product to loosen the glue in America is called Attack. Or you can get hold of some superglue glue remover,which also works over time on epoxy. Squidge it around the join between pearl and finding and leave. It's a good idea to put the earrings in a tiny ziplock as the dissolver does evaporate. be patient and don't twist because all you will do is break the post if you do. Sometimes I have had to leave earrings for two weeks or more. I have a permanent heavy duty ziplock in with my glues and just load and unload it periodically.
 

luckyhonu

Brilliant_Rock
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592
Thank you everyone for your response! I originally contacted them three weeks ago to remedy the situation. I understand it is Covid and companies have a skeleton crew but yesterday it was the 5th time I called and got understandably upset.

They finally emailed and called me back to say that no, they did not have the cup post and would give me a refund if I wanted one. I'm going to ask for a refund.

I am still waiting for a pair from them in the Arc de Triomphe setting. Now I'm nervous if they are going to make mistakes on that too!
 

luckyhonu

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
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Oct 3, 2003
Messages
592
@luckyhonu I’m not trade, so I can say more than @molinePDG can - that is legitimately apalling. I have personally had asinine experiences with AP's quality control but this takes the cake.

The cup
1. Safeguards the back of the pearl from skin oils, medications, etc.
2. Protects the edges of the drill hole from chipping.
3. Prevents the drill hole wall from damage - every time you put the earring on or take it off, you're applying pressure to the post relative to the pearl: Sideways/horizontal "skew" pressure that wants to widen the drill hole, which the cup prevents by providing a stable and strong metal anchor point, and vertical pressure that wants to push the post further into the pearl, which the cup prevents by amortizing the load against a large surface area.

American Pearl needs to replace your earrings and apologize profusely. Or refund you in full. I'm angry on your behalf - this would be completely unacceptable in a pair of decent freshwaters, let alone pricey south seas!! Please don't try to replace the posts yourself or have another jeweller work on them - yes, vendors can remove findings from pearls, but remediating this error should not be your problem or your expense, and the drill hole could already be damaged, you'd have no way to know.

AP's quality control is... Well, it's reliable, in the sense that it's reliably abysmal ;(
yssie, do you mind me asking what kind of experiences you had with AP's quality control?

I never expected their customer service to be like this - I had to become THAT kind of customer and raise my voice when I expressed how upset I was.
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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yssie, do you mind me asking what kind of experiences you had with AP's quality control?

I never expected their customer service to be like this - I had to become THAT kind of customer and raise my voice when I expressed how upset I was.
Frayed restring jobs, multiple iterations of miscounting numbers of pearls (nowhere close) on shortening requests, dented "new" clasps, poor workmanship and scratched pearls, sending a different product from what's pictured on the website with the "piece pictured is what you'll receive" notation... I sent one piece back for three (failed) repairs before finally giving up.

Having to call/email multiple times before getting acceptable answers... Usually took three or four calls to get routed to someone competent. Same experience as yours.

I always got my money back within the stated timeframe, no problems there. I don't believe this is an unethical company by any means. But their QA department is honestly one of the worst that I've ever encountered. They have beautiful pearls - I hope your earrings come in quickly and problem-free @luckyhonu!!
 

luckyhonu

Brilliant_Rock
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592
Frayed restring jobs, multiple iterations of miscounting numbers of pearls (nowhere close) on shortening requests, dented "new" clasps, poor workmanship and scratched pearls, sending a different product from what's pictured on the website with the "piece pictured is what you'll receive" notation... I sent one piece back for three (failed) repairs before finally giving up.

Having to call/email multiple times before getting acceptable answers... Usually took three or four calls to get routed to someone competent. Same experience as yours.

I always got my money back within the stated timeframe, no problems there. I don't believe this is an unethical company by any means. But their QA department is honestly one of the worst that I've ever encountered. They have beautiful pearls - I hope your earrings come in quickly and problem-free @luckyhonu!!
I forgot to say that they sent me the earrings in a ring box!!! The poor earrings were bouncing around in the box before it got delivered to me.

I will have to request that they send me my Arc de Triomphe white south sea earrings in a proper earring box. Those come with diamonds in the setting so I don't want the stones or chipped during transit.

I tried on the grey one when I was in NY last year.


] IMG_0979 (Large).JPG
 

yssie

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Oh. That's lovely on you :love: I'm really really liking these sorts of N/S pearl drops!! And the grey is lovely with your colouring :cool2:

Is the drop height adjustable at all? You've got dainty lobes so you don't need any extra length! But mine aren't at all :bigsmile:

I sure hope you get an earring box!!
 

luckyhonu

Brilliant_Rock
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Oh. That's lovely on you :love: I'm really really liking these sorts of N/S pearl drops!! And the grey is lovely with your colouring :cool2:

Is the drop height adjustable at all? You've got dainty lobes so you don't need any extra length! But mine aren't at all :bigsmile:

I sure hope you get an earring box!!
I don't think it's adjustable, which is why I'm asking for 1.55mm longer length or "taller" on top. Now that I know that their bench is not that great I should expect that they're not going to do what I ask :eek-2:
 

katbran

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I have never seen a single pin used for pearls. I'd definitely return them and ask for a proper pearl cup.

As for adjusting the existing A de T finding , I'd be surprised if that is something that they do ... many companies buy in their findings ready made. Have you heard back on your request?
 

luckyhonu

Brilliant_Rock
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I have never seen a single pin used for pearls. I'd definitely return them and ask for a proper pearl cup.

As for adjusting the existing A de T finding , I'd be surprised if that is something that they do ... many companies buy in their findings ready made. Have you heard back on your request?
They responded to my email about double checking the height of the earring with a picture of this setting. I still want to return these earrings because I don't trust them! whitegold-pink-rearview.jpg
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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They responded to my email about double checking the height of the earring with a picture of this setting. I still want to return these earrings because I don't trust them!
I think if you want to keep working with them - at the very least they need to replace your earrings entirely, not just put the cup on the pearls you've got now, because the pearl interiors may already have been damaged :(sad

Want to chat more off-forum? I think @LLJsmom (hope you don't mind the callout!) has contact info for both of us.
 
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luckyhonu

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I’m on the fence about AP for the new setting - how will I know if they will use new pearls for me?

I would like to chat more off forum - hopefully @LLJsmom will be able to connect us 8)
 

molinePDG

Rough_Rock
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There are plenty of similar looking findings out there (fluted, flower like cups) that don't have the holes in them. I would definitely recommend having any of your stud pieces done with a solid-cup finding.
 

katbran

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It is definitely best to not have anyone else attempt to remove the posts. You should simply return the earrings and get your money back. There are many WSS pearls in the world and it won't be difficult to get a lovely pair with the proper backs. If you go to someone like PP they can provide you with photos of the available pairs, be clear on what you think is important. Flaws, lustre, etc. A major flaw can reduce the cost and be used as a dill spot for the cup. Perfection..you will pay for.. Explain your allergy issues.
 

luckyhonu

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There are plenty of similar looking findings out there (fluted, flower like cups) that don't have the holes in them. I would definitely recommend having any of your stud pieces done with a solid-cup finding.
Now that I think about it, I like the solid cup finding the best, which is why I will make absolutely sure they use those in my next pair of earrings...
 

luckyhonu

Brilliant_Rock
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It is definitely best to not have anyone else attempt to remove the posts. You should simply return the earrings and get your money back. There are many WSS pearls in the world and it won't be difficult to get a lovely pair with the proper backs. If you go to someone like PP they can provide you with photos of the available pairs, be clear on what you think is important. Flaws, lustre, etc. A major flaw can reduce the cost and be used as a dill spot for the cup. Perfection..you will pay for.. Explain your allergy issues.
I sent my earrings back to AP for a full refund. I contacted PP about 11-12mm SS studs with platinum findings and am waiting to hear back from them.

Re: earlobe allergies...years ago my earlobes got red, itchy and patchy whenever I wore earrings. I went to the doctor, she said I had eczema on my earlobes and prescribed a cortisone cream for them.

It turns out the nickel in the white gold posts were causing the allergies so all my earrings moving forward have to have platinum posts. I make earrings in white gold (lighter weight) with platinum posts. Even with platinum posts I have to put a teeny bit of cortisone on them before wearing them.

Of course my earlobes love surgical stainless steel and have no reaction to them at all...
 

Pearlescence

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You would be fine also with findings made for the European Union market because nickel is banned by law here. It's still permitted in the USA
 

luckyhonu

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You would be fine also with findings made for the European Union market because nickel is banned by law here. It's still permitted in the USA
Not sure if the places I have asked have findings from the European Union market since I am located in the US. It might be easier to me to have the findings made of platinum.
 

Pearlescence

Shiny_Rock
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Just ask. They should know. Didn't you say that platinum even causes a slight problem? Big companies selling worldwide should know if their findings are EU compliant because otherwise they should not be selling into the EU.
 

katbran

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Have you considered Palladium ? It is soft but in earrings that wouldn't be an issue . It's a metal that's meant to be completely nickel free.

It's also really important to really clean the posts well as that could be giving you issues. Some ears are really sensitive.

You can always get a test from a dermatologist to make sure it's actually nickel causing the issue.
 

luckyhonu

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Have you considered Palladium ? It is soft but in earrings that wouldn't be an issue . It's a metal that's meant to be completely nickel free.

It's also really important to really clean the posts well as that could be giving you issues. Some ears are really sensitive.

You can always get a test from a dermatologist to make sure it's actually nickel causing the issue.
I clean the posts with a qtip dipped in alcohol. I think my ears in general are just sensitive.
 
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