The Pitfalls of Pearl Restringing – What Might Happen After You Restring Your Pearls


Donna’s pearls broke in the limo during her friend Stephi’s bachelorette party.

She’d seen the warning signs, the discolored knots, the uneven gapping between pearls, she just didn’t have time to deal with it. And the little black dress just needed those pearls. So she’d grabbed them, threw them on and dashed out the door.

I enjoy being a Santa Barbara Personal Jeweler because I love the jewelry stories I hear, like Donna's.

Check out my earlier post, "Ten Clues Tell You to Restring Your Pearls."

The Restring Job

Donna dropped them off at a local mall jeweler and told the youthful sales girl to, “string em up!”

“What jerks,” she complained to me on the phone. “I’m never going to them again,”she said as she called me to set up an appointment.

“I should have called you in the first place, it just seemed like such a tiny job! I didn’t want to bug you for such a little thing."

Donna showed me her ticket for her “botched” restring job. It said, “62 pearls, approx. 6mm size. String with knots.” I counted her pearls and she had 62.

“Donna, at the risk of raining on our fun little pity party, they did the job right.”

Donna wailed, “it’s not possible that it’s the same amount of pearls, they fit me before! And look they don’t even hang straight anymore!” She held up the strand that did kind of jig one way and then the other.

I realized then that Donna was suffering from the three Pitfalls of Pearl Restringing.

The Three Possible Pitfalls of Pearl Restringing

Restring your beads

Sometimes Your Pearls Will Hang at Angles to Each Other.

1.) Kinky Newly Strung Pearls

If it’s been awhile since your pearls have been restrung you may be in for a shock. When they come back with their tight, neat new knots, they will not hang loose and straight. They kink and jink, this way and that.  Over time, they will relax with wear, or you can speed up the relaxation process by stretching them out a bit yourself.  Simply drape the strand around the hook portion of a light, plastic hanger and let them hang in your closet for a few days.  Don’t put any additional pressure on the strand, just hang and let them do their thing.  Gravity will straighten them out for you. Or if you're like me you'll hang them on the back of a doorknob and put something soft but with a bit of weight and let it pull on them for a couple of days.

2.) The Shortening Effect of Stringing

The last time you wore your pearls, (right before they broke,) they probably hung to a certain spot on your neck. You may remember it very well. Freshly strung pearls can come back with a bit of an unwanted surprise.

They don’t lay in exactly the same place that they did before. Your Jeweler did not steal some of your pearls. Your pearls are now, after stringing, much closer together, knotted tighter and therefore the necklace is shorter.

It’s important to talk about this because it comes up a lot. Especially if someone has a pretty short pearl necklace to begin with. The restringing might be enough to tighten it up and make it too short.

3.) Mysteriously Missing Pearls

If the necklace broke before you had it restrung, it’s possible that one or more pearls dodged out of sight and your necklace is truly shorter. If this makes your necklace or bracelet too short to wear comfortably, you’ll need to ask your Jeweler to locate matching pearls and restring your necklace with additional pearls to recreate the length you need.

What to Do With Restrung Pearls That Aren't Working

Number one just sorts itself out on its own in time.

Number two, well if they’re too short, it’s best to add the extra pearls, because you don’t want to choke yourself till they stretch out. And they really are supposed to fit you nicely when they are newly strung.

For number three, it’s annoying, but the chances of you knowing how many pearls you had before your strand broke are nil. So just replace the lost ones. It’s usually just one or two.

What Donna Did About Her Pearls

Donna decided she wanted to add a little length to her newly strung necklace, and sent me off to search for a couple of matching pearls to give her the look she wanted. Then we got to the good stuff; what happened at the bachelorette party!

Your Personal Jeweler,
Calla Gold


Want to learn more about pearls?  Check out these blog posts

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

Why Pearl Ring Sizing Costs More

Pearls Must Be Knotted! Or Pearl Restringing with Knots

Ten Ways to Casual-ify Your Pearl or Bead Necklace

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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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Santa Barbara Coach
12 years ago

Pearls seem to be back in fashion and most people have some in their jewelry box from years ago. You convinced me why it is important to have them restrung before they break like they did on Donna. Thanks for your spirited post!
Dr. Lynn K. Jones, Certified Personal and Executive Coach

Darcie M.
Darcie M.
11 years ago

I live in France.I grew up in Santa Barbara so I had to write to you. Maybe we even crossed paths Calla.My pearls need to be restrung.
I will be in LA in March. Is there a place I can buy silk stringing string? I have read silk thread is used and I’ve read your blog posts about pearl restringing.
Would that be OK if I am attaching them to a knitted shawl?