Colorful pearls, where do they come from? Here is my hot tip: they are dyed pearls! Yes, those shockingly wild pearl colors are not a normal pearl color. They are the result of a little RIT dye.
Are you familiar with RIT? As a child of the 70s we were well versed in the art of RIT dye mainly from the creation of tie dye t-shirts.RIT is a brand of dye offering up bright rich colors. They are great colors for tie-dye t-shirts. For pearls? I am not so sure.
Now, there are many ways to color pearls and some companies claim to have very fancy ways to color their pearls but the essence of dying pearls is this: submerge the pearls in a colored water and let them sit until they soak up the dye. Another option? Expose them to heat to speed up the dye process. Pearls are typically dyed after they are drilled to help them soak up the color in the drill hole. And some companies go so far to string the pearls on thread and use the dyed thread to complete a piece of jewelry. That way the string matches the dyed pearls.
I am amazed at the wonderful names that spring forth from these dyed beauties… cranberry pearls, apple pearls, fuchsia pearls and more. They are all crafty ways to pitch a rather unnatural looking pearl.
Now, I am a fun girl and I will admit there is a time and place for dyed pearls. We have even carried dyed pearls here at The Pearl Girls. Maybe you want bright fuchsia pearl necklace? I can understand. However, here is the most important thing you need to know about dyed pearls: the high quality pearls are NEVER dyed. So, know what you are getting! I you are spending big bucks on these fun pearls, know that are not getting much for your buck. In fact, according to the RIT dye website, RIT will set you back $3-4 dollars. You might do better to find your own cheap pearls and dye them yourself. Just don’t bet the farm on the wild and colorful pearls.
See More Ways to Color Pearls…
I am a modern day treasure hunter who travels the world for gorgeous pearls and amazing adventures. I own a pearl jewelry and jewelry repair business, ThePearlGirls.com, with a cute retail store in Athens, GA. I also have a Pearl Travel business and travel blog at TheWorldofPearl.com.
10 Replies to “Dyed Pearls”
I purchased some chocolate pearls, a set of earings and a pendant, all chocolate pearl with 14carrot gold setting and 4 diamonds in each setting. The pearls
Are the size if a pea. Very beautiful, the sales person says they r cultured but not dyed. Can this be so?
Hi Michael! It is possible that they are a natural colored cultured pearl or they might be dyed. Read more on my post, Are these Naturally Colored Chocolate Pearls?… http://wp.me/p5bhex-2Y6
Can cultured pearls be naturally colored, or are they dyed to preference?
Hi Michael! Here is another post just for you! Click here to read “Can cultured Pearls Be Naturally Colored” http://wp.me/p5bhex-2Yb
Every time I have tried to dye pearls with a number of different dye types I only get pale colors. I have tried rit and it washes off. I got great colors from food coloring but that washes off to a pale color too. What am I doing wrong?
Hi Jen! Unfortunately I do not have any experience dying pearls so I am afraid I cant help you!I once heard that you can dye pearls with RIT dye. I also know applying heat can help. Wish I had more info for you. Good luck!
Add vinegar to your dye water. The vinegar helps the color stay
Good to know, Amy! Thanks so much for sharing your tip!!
In somewhat related news, I went for a massage a few weeks ago and the massage therapist told me to add a cup of vinegar to my bath water to help loosen my muscles. She assured me I would not smell like vinegar! Well, I couldn’t get that smell out of my skin for days!! 🙂
Wash your pearls with a soap to remove the oils, then dye them . Oils will remove the dyes
Awesome Kathy, thanks for the tip! So if oils remove the dyes, does that mean that, over time, the dye will wear off based on its exposure to oils? Thanks for reaching out!