Dear Calla – Tarnished Pearls and Gold Spacers

Black marks on a pearl as a result of gold rubbing against them

Dear Calla,

I inherited pearls from my Aunt and they were super short. My Auntie was from the twiggy side of the family. I’m from the well-built side. Needless to say the little darlings didn’t make it all the way around my neck.

I had them re-strung and added these pretty gold balls between each pearl making it long enough while still looking really pretty. I’m thinking that jeweler didn’t use 14kt gold like I asked because those pearls are getting little black marks on them.

What do you think, do I bring my purse with the brick in it? Knock some sense into him?

Lady in Pearls


Dear Lady in Pearls,

Before you bean him, let me share with you an odd thing about gold and light beads. Even though gold doesn’t obviously tarnish, it actually does, it’s just usually so subtle we never notice it. But when gold rubs against something white like a pearl or white coral, it leaves black marks.

Your jeweler probably didn’t know this or he’d have suggested something besides gold spacers to lengthen your pearls.

Do you like purple amethyst? Or garnets? I’m thinking your pearls would do better with gemstone spacers.

The good news is that the black should come off if your rub it with a cloth. May your next try at lengthening be more pleasing.

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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