View Full Version : Care and Cleaning Tips for Old Mardi Gras Bead Necklaces Needed

08-22-2004, 07:40 PM
My dad recently retired and was digging around in hius attic and found several dozen old Mardi Gras Bead necklaces from the 60's and 70's -- some are glass, some are plastic and all are strung on what looks like cotton thread.

While a bunch of these will likely wind up in other beaded creations, quite a few are attractive on their own and I may want to keep them intact, just as mementos. What I would like to do is clean all of them up so I can see exactly how nice they are.

Does anyone have suggestions on the best way to clean these items without putting strain on the stringing materials or damaging the beads? I was tempted just to dunk them into some soapy water and swish gently but decided to "Ask the Experts" here first!

TurtleBay Jewelry
08-22-2004, 11:15 PM
In my not so expert opinion on old Mardi Gras beads, I would tend to think that if you aren't entirely sure of the material the beads are made of, or especially if they're plastic, regular old soap and water would be my first choice to see how they clean up. You run the least risk of damaging the beading cord and the beads, and I wouldn't use any type of scrubbing abrasive...certainly nothing more than an old soft toothbrush to start with. Glass obviously can handle a harder rubdown, but the colors may flake off the plastic.

Good luck!


08-23-2004, 05:49 AM
Delete please.

Dunno whats up, but at times sending my reply gets stuck, nothing happens forever and I have to stop and resend - and then WHAM double post.

08-23-2004, 05:50 AM
I think Danielle is right.

Soaking jewelry in soapy water is the best way for a first clean. Just don't brush it or tear on the cord while doing it, just run your fingers gently over the beads once it soaked for a little and the dust is soft. The cotton cord may have suffered from the dust and storing conditions and could break while soaked (and being put on tension). Before soaking it I would take pics as well - just in case it breaks, so you can redo it as it was :)

That is at least what I do with all the old jewelry that I can put my hands on

Good luck!

08-23-2004, 08:04 AM
Thanks ya'll -- you're the best!

I will be subjecting a couple of the strands to a nice shampoo later on today. :) Great idea about taking pictures first since there are a couple that are pretty and I would want to redo as they were should they come apart!

Again, thanks much!

08-23-2004, 08:56 AM
I tend to agree, but try it first on a strand you want to take apart, just incase the thread has become brittle and falls apart! you can always take a wet cloth soaked in soapy water andwhipe the beads down carefully if the string looks like it will fall apart.