Vinegar and Pearls
Name: Theresa J.
Date: 2001 - 2002
I recently ran across a statement that "vinegar melts
pearls". I know that vinegar is acidic, but does it actually MELT a
pearl? And if so, in what length of time?
No, vinegar does not MELT pearls. However, because vinegar is acidic, it
will dissolve natural and cultured pearls. How long it takes depends on the
size of the pearl and the concentration of the acid.
I am sure that this term "melts" is used "generically". What is really
meant is that acetic acid will dissolve the minerals -- I believe mostly
calcium carbonate -- the make up the bulk of pearls.
Hi, Theresa !!
I agree with you, when you say that
vinegar reacts with pearls, according to :
CaCO3 + 2HAc -> Ca(Ac)2 + C02 + H20
How fast this happens depends on a number
of factors like - as you know - concentration
of acid, surface exposed to reaction, temperature,
agitation, etc. I believe that the term MELT was
employed in a common sense for a layman.
Click here to return to the Chemistry Archives
Update: June 2012