Ten Ways to Casual-ify Your Pearl or Bead Necklace

Pearl and sapphire beads Tin Cup styleSometimes the current design of your pearl necklace doesn’t suite you. Maybe it’s someone else’s taste, or maybe your have changed. Or that trend is in the rearview mirror.

Asa (pronounced Osa) was given a gorgeous necklace by her daughter. She loved how beautiful it was. The problem was, she didn’t wear it.

She’s in the theatre, and her clothing of choice is California Casual.  She felt the beautiful necklace was just too dressy for her lifestyle.

Looking At Asa’s Necklace

Chalcedony, gold, pearl and tiny sapphire necklace

Asa’s Fancy Gorgeous Necklace Before Changes

So she picked up the phone to call her Santa Barbara Jeweler to talk about how she might be able to California Casual-ify her beloved necklace.

We probably spent more time talking about how Carpinteria is finally going to have a Performing Arts Center and our kids, than the necklace, but nevertheless we figured it out.

Asa’s Necklace Problem

The beads and pearls were all gorgeous, but altogether it was a necklace that was too formal for Asa.  As we looked at it, I realized that we could create a much more casual feel just by creating space between the pearl and bead elements.

Asa’s Necklace Solution

Pearl and Sapphire Bead Necklace

Asa’s  New Pearl and Sapphire Bead Simpler Design Necklace

There were enough pearls and beads in the original necklace to allow us to create two separate necklaces for Asa. Each one more casual than the original.

This gave her more choices in her jewelry wardrobe, and ensured that the beautiful necklace her daughter gave her would be worn and enjoyed for a long, long time.

Asa gets my blue ribbon for applying my motto, “Wear it Don’t Warehouse it!”

Ten Ways to Casual-Ify Your Pearl or Bead Necklace

1. Create space with thin, colored cord between your pearl, gemstone or bead elements

2. Pick a color that is similar to your skin color to make the elements appear to “float” on you

3.Create space using gold or silver chain between the elements

4.Select a chain style with openings, so the elements can be wire wrapped onto the chain

Chalcedony and Sapphire Bead with Gold Necklace

Asa’s New Chalcedony and Sapphire Bead with Gold Simpler Necklace

5. Use larger spaces measuring from 1 inch and 1.5 inches between elements for larger pearls or beads.

6. Use smaller spaces measuring from .75 inches to 1 inch between elements for smaller pearls and beads.

7. The most casual look uses one bead or pearl between the space elements.

8. Consider adding small beads on either side of your larger bead or pearl element for contrast to make your beads or pearls really pop.

9. Resist the urge to use many of your pearls or beads. Less is more with California Casual.

10. Leftover beads or pearls can easily be converted into a matching bracelet, earrings, or even a special gift for a friend.

Which one of the 10 ideas could you use?

I’ve used a number of them and I have to say it’s always astonishing how the necklace looks so different once we’ve changed it up. It feels like a new necklace in the happiest way.

Your Personal Jeweler,

Feel free to check out some of these pearl blog posts:

Choosing Pearls: Five Things You Need to Consider

Pearls, Your Jewelry Divas and How to Store Them

French Wire Finish for Your Pearls; It’s Stronger and Prettier

Top Ten Reasons To Restring Your Pearls

The Pitfalls of Pearl Restringing – What Might Happen After Restringing

Why Pearl Ring Sizing Costs More

Pearls Must Be Knotted! Or Pearl Restringing with Knots



Your Pearl Changing 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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Renee Manseau
Renee Manseau
13 years ago

I love them! They are so California Casual to me, something that could be worn to the store, the movies, or out on the town. Simple designs with beautiful results! Thanks for the great California-Casual-ifying tips, Calla!!

Jennifer Goddard Combs
Jennifer Goddard Combs
7 years ago

What a wonderful resource! Living in California and being a business woman, I never know how casual I should take my business wear, but this is such a great guide. Pearls are elegant, but sometimes they can be too opulent. I’m glad I now know how to wear my jewelry appropriately!

4 years ago

Love all of them! Great post

Priya Sharma
Priya Sharma
4 years ago

Hey Calla, last year I gifted a beaded necklace to my sister and later, she shared with me the idea of getting it customized. I am glad I came across this amazing article and indeed am sharing the same with my sister. There are many ways here you can casual-ify the necklace.