Revitalizing Your Jewelry – Costume Pearls – Sarah’s Story


Case Study: Sarah’s Faux Pearl Solution. Sarah inherited three strands of pearls from her grandmother, Maureen.  Maureen was known for her love of pearls and could more often than not be seen wearing at least one pearl necklace.

Not All Pearls Come From the Oyster

Of the three pearl necklaces Sarah inherited, the two strung with 8mm “pearls” turned out to be not real.  The other was a 14" necklace made with real 5mm cultured pearls. Sarah's comment was, "now I know how Grandma could afford so many strands of pearls."

Did it Matter That Some of Her Heirloom Pearls were Faux?

Since her Grandmother gave them with love, it doesn't matter that some of them were fake or faux, (french for fake and it sounds better.) Her Grandmother was sharing her love for pearls and was not required to only give away expensive gifts.

Chances are she didn't know which ones were real and which were fake.

Treat Costume Pearls Like Real Ones and They'll Look Real

A Couple Different Kinds of Crimps Made of Base Metals. These are Positioned by the Clasp. This Finishing Touch is not Used on Fine Pearls.

One thing that is common with costume pearls is for one thing, not being knotted and two that the end is crimped. The crimped ends can corrode and get pretty funky looking.

Pearl Necklace After Restring Job

Nice Neat Knots Make Your Faux Pearls Look Real

When you work with costume pearls, have them strung up fully knotted just like your real ones. When someone has nice faux pearls I like to use the French Wire finish with them, which adds class. I also like to upgrade to a proper fine gold clasp just like real ones. I saw wear them with the same pride you do your real ones.

How We Used Her Real and Costume Pearls to Achieve the Length She Needed

Sarah  tried on a number of blouses and shirts that she thought she'd wear with her Grandmother's pearls. She liked the 22” length. She hadn’t worn anything in 14” since she was ten years old. We combined the nicest of her faux pearls from the two 8mm faux pearl necklaces with her smaller, 5mm real pearls.  We used a popular European style of alternating one large pearl with one small, all the way around for her necklace design.

This gave Sarah the length she wanted, while at the same time allowing her to wear something that meant a great deal to her.

14kt yellow gold ruby and diamond clasp for pearls

Her Chosen Clasp

For the clasp, Sarah chose a pretty, antique looking style. It's a two sided oval design with small, pave-set diamonds on each side and an Amethyst in the center. Sarah chose a two sided clasp because the old clasp that came with the real pearl necklace was one sided and spent most of it's life looking weird and up-side down. Sarah was not going to wear that look anymore.

Sarah's newly re-made pearl necklace looks unique and makes her smile every time she wears it!

What's the Takeaway Message Here?

Love and cherish your pearls, especially the ones gifted to you. You can change the length or the clasp, you can combine pearls or beads and pearls together in different combinations. For sentimental reasons, you can combine faux pearls with real ones. If you have pearls real or faux lolling around unworn in your jewelry box, take them out and revitalize them and wear them. Remember : Wear It Don't Warehouse It!

Your Personal Jeweler,

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About Calla Gold

Calla Gold is a Personal Jeweler and Author who takes pride in working with clients one-on-one to integrate their personal sense of style and taste into custom designed jewelry and repaired jewelry pieces.   Unlike typical Santa Barbara jewelry businesses, Calla Gold has no brick-and-mortar location. Calla Gold comes to you, bringing you the jewelry collection you want to see and collaborating with you to create unique custom jewelry. Calla also works with at-a-distance clients.

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Dr. Lynn K. Jones
13 years ago

Calla, Thanks for fun story about pearls. I am so happy that pearls are coming back in fashion and I really enjoy seeing young girls walking around wearing pearls. Last year when both my parents had open heart surgery on the same day at Mt. Sinai in NY, my sister and I spent a lot of time at Sinai Heart (a wonderful hospital,btw) and so admired one of their fabulous doctors who always wore a beautiful strand of pearls under her white coat. We got through that ordeal as a team and last Xmas my mother and dad got both… Read more »

Nancy D
Nancy D
13 years ago

Calla – This is great!! I love your caring and yet totally practical approach to those special, inherited pieces of jewelry. And your friendly writing style makes it all so easy to read and absorb. Great photos, too. Thanks for doing this. – N

10 years ago

I fully agree that fake pearls look great when worn as if they are real. I have an example in this post!

9 years ago


Calla Gold

Thanks for posting this blog. We are very happy pearls are coming back in fashion.

it is good news for all the fashion lovers.