Hawaian Sunrise Shells are not usually found in perfectly clean, pristine condition. Most of the time they will be covered with calcium deposits, a hard white crusting that grows on the shell as it lies on the ocean floor. Calcium deposits must be removed by using a fine wire brush and many, many hours of scrubbing! If you are buying one of my shells, I have already done this for you, but a lot of people are curious about this technique so here are my How To secrets!
Get comfortable, put on some good music, and with shell in one hand and a fine wire brush in the other, start brushing! Just like sanding wood, brush your shell with short, quick strokes that go with the direction of the shell's ridges. You will see a fine white dust coming off the shell if you are doing it right. Keep brushing! You can use a dental pick or needle to pick out any calcium deposits that are embedded in tiny holes or crevices in your shell. A magnifying glass helps a lot, I use a jeweler's loop to get an almost microscopic view of my shells.
Scrubbing with a fine wire brush is the best method for cleaning shells without compromising the shell's color or shell strength. Since the calcium build-up is much softer than the shell itself, the wire brush will remove the calcium without damaging the shell. Some people use muradic acid to disolve the calcium quickly but this is dangerous because the acid will disolve your shell too, so don't try this short-cut! Sunrise Shells are pourous, the acid will leach into the shell and will eat away at it, creating holes, crumbling the edges and also ruining the color. Vinegar gives the same results, although it is slower than acid. Don't use either - only use your wire brush and a pick!
Sometimes a Sunrise Shell might just be dirty. Maybe it was lying in the muck or even in tar on the ocean floor. Use a grease fighting dish soap like Dawn and a toothbrush and scrub away! You can use a touch of Clorox bleach for stubborn dirt.Share
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