Cernit Pearl – The Sparkly Polymer Clay

Cernit is a Belgian brand of polymer clay with an array of many lines with special features. There is opaque clay (Number One), half-opaque clay (Opaline), Translucent, Metallic, Neon, Nature and you can read about them in this full Cernit Review. Now there’s a new line of polymer clay called Cernit Pearl. Okay, what’s unique about it, and how does it compare to the existing clay lines? I asked my Instagram readers (in a story) what they’d like to know. Here are some of their questions.

Cernit Pearl packages

Cernit Pearl – Just Released

Cernit just released a new line of polymer clay called Cernit Pearl. This replaces the previous Cernit Glamour and it has an entirely new look that they didn’t have previously. Cernit Pearl comes in seven colors in 56 gram packages. You’ll find the following colors.

  • Black
  • Violet
  • Magenta
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Pink
  • Pearl White
Cernit Pearl samples
All of the colors of Cernit Pearl. Large circles are baked. The small circles are unbaked.

What’s Different From Cernit Metallic?

Since Cernit already has a pearly-appearing clay, why would they want to make a new line? The Cernit Glamour line (now discontinued) had blocks with a very fine mica that merely shimmered instead of sparkling. It’s easy to assume that this new line would also have a small flake of subtle shimmer. But no. Quite the opposite. The new Cernit Pearl has a very large mica flake with a substantially reflective shine. It’s much more sparkly and has a brighter shine than the Cernit Metallic line. Like the metallic line, though, I believe that Cernit Pearl also contains a synthetic mica which gives it this substantial shimmer.

Several of the Cernit Pearl colors are the same as the Cernit Metallic. I’ve compared them below with the closest colors. Top row is Cernit Pearl. Bottom row is Cernit Metallic. Large circles are baked, small circles are raw unbaked. You can also get a closer look in the video below.

Cernit Pearl samples compared to cernit metallic
Top row is Cernit Pearl, bottom row is Cernit Metallic. Large circles are baked, small circles are unbaked.

Compared to Premo Accents?

Premo Accents is the line of translucent, sparkly, metallic, and glittery clays made by the Sculpey company. You can compare the Premo metallic colors in my metallic clay comparison article here. These colors are very different. They’re much more intense than the metallic and pearl colors of Premo. And the shimmer or sparkle of Cernit Pearl is much more refined and yet intense than the glitter of the Premo glitter clays. Cernit Pearl doesn’t contain glitter.

Premo metallic polymer clay over the top of Premo white gold glitter clay.
Here are three circles cut from Premo metallic colors sitting on a sheet of Premo White Gold Glitter. Note how the glitter color contains two different colors and sizes of glitter and very different from metallic clay.

Does it Darken with Baking?

It’s normal for translucent clays to darken (sometimes substantially) when they’re baked. Even though this Cernit Pearl does have a translucent base, it doesn’t darken appreciably. It’s actually hard to tell because the clay is so shimmery that it appears lighter, depending on the light. You can see in the photo above that the small circles of unbaked clay are pretty much the same color as the large, baked circles.

Close up of Cernit Pearl
Close up of Cernit Pearl. The large circles are baked, the small circle is unbaked.

How is Cernit Pearl for Mica Shift?

Oh my. Just oh…MY. Like take my breath away gorgeous. Not only does this stuff have a great sparkle, it also has the right kind of mica particle sizes to make extraordinary mica shift. (Mica Shift is a ghost image in the clay that happens by manipulating the particles in a certain way. There’s a tutorial for it included in my Sanding and Buffing tutorial.)

Cernit Pearl baked, showing mica shift and varnish over half the piece.
These baked circles of Cernit Pearl feature the mica shift technique. There is also U-POL spray varnish applied to the right side of each circle, showing the intense shimmer.

Are All the Colors Equally Sparkly?

No, the black Cernit Pearl is more subdued. It’s still an amazing effect and the large sparkles in it are stunning. But it doesn’t make a very good mica shift effect. If you’re needing a dark for your mica shift, I would use the Cernit Metallic Hematite color.

Can You Mix the Colors?

Yes! Absolutely! I was a bit dismayed at first to see that they included an excellent magenta and blue (cyan) for color mixing, but no yellow. No worries. Just use the excellent yellow from the Cernit Metallic line. You can mix any and all colors. And with that stunning white pearl, you can now create any pearl or metallic color that you’d want. In fact, the pearl white doesn’t seem to have any white pigment in it. It’s quite translucent, aside from the mica shimmer. So your color mixes will be quite intense, as you can see near the bottom of this article.

Does Varnish, Sanding or Resin Intensify the Effect?

Yes! I know these colors sand and buff beautifully, as seen here. But I chose to apply U-POL spray varnish to one half of each circle to see how the color and shimmer would be enhanced. And I wasn’t disappointed. Oh my. Just wow. See what I mean? Sanding and buffing is even better (see further below).

 

Dealing With Fresh Cernit Pearl

This stuff is…well…FRESH. It is absolutely the stickiest and flowiest polymer clay that I’ve ever worked with. BUT…that’s easily fixed. Why is it so soft? Is it defective? No!! Let me explain.
 
All polymer clay is soft when it’s super fresh. This is expected, and normally the manufacturers plan for this in the normal transit and storage time that happens getting the clay from them to you. But things are a little different right now. Everyone is eager to buy clay and none of it is sitting around. And this stuff is just weeks from the factory. So it has not yet “aged”. Yes, clay normally ages and gets much stiffer with time!
 
In addition, this clay (and the translucent and the Cernit Metallic) have a different base than the Number One line. They use a translucent base which is much more flowing than the rather stiff base of the opaque lines of Cernit. So this clay will always be a bit more flowy and sticky…like taffy.

Leach the Clay

So your solution is to leach the clay. To do this, roll 1/2 the block very thin (less than 2 mm) and lay it on some plain copy paper. Cover with another sheet. Then SIT ON IT. Now wait THREE minutes. Seriously. That’s all. Peel your clay off the paper and mix it up. It will be weird feeling and will need to be thoroughly mixed. Take the time to do it. If it’s still too soft, leach another THREE minutes. For Cernit Pearl, that will be long enough. (And if you go too far and the clay is crumbly, mix in the rest of the block to even it out.) Other brands of clay might need much longer leaching, but this stuff does not. Please do not over-leach it!
 
After leaching, this clay is well-behaved and not at all sticky or goopy. I found it much easier to work with as the week went on.
 

Show Me the Sparkle!

Okay, flat pictures don’t show things very well, so here are some video shots, showing the sparkle, the way the mica shift moves, and the way the pearl white has a lot of translucency. You can clearly see the difference between the Cernit Pearl and the Cernit Metallic in this video.

Where Can I Buy Cernit Pearl?

It’s brand new, so your favorite Cernit supplier might not have it yet. Here are some sources that I know have stock (or will very shortly).
 

What Can You Make with Cernit Pearl?

This is unlike any other kind of polymer clay on the market, so I’m honestly not sure what you can make. Right away, I can see where mica shift will make stunning earrings. Techniques such as mokume gane would also be stunning.
 

I’m a huge fan of sanding and buffing when it comes to clays like this. It shows off the material beautifully. These pieces are 100% polymer clay – there is no resin involved. And no, it doesn’t take very long to do this. Maybe five minutes per pair, once you know a few tricks. 🙂

Cernit Pearl mica shift skinner blend earring pieces
Cernit Pearl skinner blend mica shift earring pieces. These are sanded and buffed. There is no resin here. Look at that sparkle!
Cernit Pearl mica shift skinner blend earring pieces

Includes Mica Shift Tutorial

Want a flawless finish?

Sanding and Buffing POlymer Clay

Tired of resin? Not getting a great result with sanding (so far)? This HUGE 120 page guide provides every detail, every step, and will show you how to get flawless, glassy, shiny polymer clay artwork.

Cernit Pearl mica shift skinner blend earring pieces

Includes Mica Shift Tutorial

Want a flawless finish?

Sanding and buffing polymer clay

Tired of resin? Not getting a great result with sanding (so far)? This HUGE 120 page guide provides every detail, every step, and will show you how to get flawless, glassy, shiny polymer clay artwork.

What will YOU make? Tag me in it on Instagram (@thebluebottletree) and I’ll add it to a gallery here in this article. Enjoy!

Many thanks to Blueberry Beads for slipping these bars into my recent order. I’m glad to have them. So fun!

 
 
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2 thoughts on “Cernit Pearl – The Sparkly Polymer Clay”

  1. Oh, how the green (both Pearl and metallic) turns my stomach. Not a good shade (why so much blue in it?), but then I don’t understand why they didn’t go for pure colors (and more saturated ones!). The clay material itself appears otherwise lovely, even though I don’t care for the glitter* of the Pearl, which doesn’t ultimately matter as the metallic does the job and looks terrific!

    I can’t afford any of it, of course, as a disabled vet (and COVID shortages causing the price of these things to skyrocket in top of the already-high price!), and it’s taking some time to become abled again, so this might motivate me to look for a good marriage. Whenever I see folks demoing clays, texture stamps, paints and other surface treatments, and equipment (*especially* the equipment!), my delicate parts stand at attention and I get damp. And envious. So, so envious. Cernit has always blown my hair back in photos, but the closest I’ve gotten to the more “exotic” clays is some Pardo xlucent.

    If I were to get my hands on some of the Cernit Metallic, the very first thing I’d do is to add a small amount of Sculpey III Fuchsia** to the Magenta to make it beautiful (more saturated). At least that one’s reasonably close to a good pink!

    (Speaking of which what were they thinking with that hideously anemic “Pink”? The designer who ed that one out should be fired forthwith, if not faster. They forwent(?) (I never know how to use “forego” in the past tense; does anyone know?) yellow for that crime against art? (Yellow is my least favorite color after brown, but I’d still happily take it instead of that travesty so I can make orange!)

    Funny story about my working with Premo Pearl: When I was new to clay, I needed a metallic denim color for a projct, so I sat down with a package of Fimo Windsor Blue (a navy with an understated metallic effect) and Premo Pearl and began adding the latter to the former, intending to stop when I arrived at a faded denim color.

    Four blocks of clay later, I STILL had navy blue (with an extreme Pearl effect). It was only after I’d finished adding the third package of Pearl and getting absolutely nowhere that it dawned on me: there is no opaque white in the Pearl; it was ONLY Pearl and so had NO effect on the color! Geez; as I had no use for a half pound of navy extreme Pearl, I was forced to use it for the base and/or armature for every project I worked on for quite some time.

    It’d be nice if companies at least attempted to describe their products on the packages so that when we don’t read them, they can point out that at least they’d *tried* to be helpful.

    *I just installed iOS 15, and autocorrect suggested “gi litter” in place of “glitter.” My best guess is that the OS is aware that I’m a massive MMA fan and so thought that a girl who loves watching people strike, wrestle, and grapple others couldn’t *possibly* be typing about sparkly things, that I *must* mean trash from working out in proper training gear. Nonsensical? Sure, but how else to explain “gi litter”?

    **Ginge, you have no idea how grateful I remain about your story behind the word “fuchsia.” I haven’t spelled it wrong since you told us the reason it’s spelled that way, and it used to *seriously* annoy me having to stop to think every single time I used (or rather, misspelled) it. (My guess is that I got it right at least a third of the time.) Mr Fuchs would be grateful to you for helping to spread the corrected spelling, though I suspect his gravestone is misspelled, too, so we’d be unable to locate him to thank him. (Or to swear at him for creating a color we can’t spell.)

    Back to the topic at hand: thanks as always for your in-depth description of these clays, the great photos, and the funny enthusiasm! I’m now looking forward with great anticipation-PAY… shun for your post about the U-POL spray (especially where you tell us where to obtain it for a price most can afford! ☺️)

    Wait: I nearly forgot that I put something on my clipboard, though I don’t remember what it was.

    > This is unlike any other kind of polymer clay on the market, so I’m honestly not sure what you can make.

    Oh, right; that’s a really odd sentence. Why can’t we make anything with it that we make with “standard” clay (in other words, any *other* clay)? What’s the reason your answer wasn’t “Anything you make with other pearls and metallics”? Sure, I understand it’s gooey for now, but that’s easily rectified. On the off-chance I marry well soon and obtain a buncha Cernit, why are you unsure what I can do with it? I await your answer on tenterhooks!

    With all the usual love,

    Bink

  2. Thanks Ginger for another great article. You´ve tested every thing that can be tested of this clay to know now how to use it and what to expect from it.

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