Top Ten Reasons To Restring Your Pearls

Pearls are the Queen of Gems

Pearl Necklace After Restring Job

Pearl Necklace Just After Restringing

What’s not to love about pearls? Classic and classy, they are a staple in most every woman’s jewelry wardrobe. Many people don’t realize pearl jewelry needs special care.  While pearl jewelry is meant to be worn and enjoyed throughout the years, you will extend the life and the beauty of your pearl jewelry simply by treating them to an occasional restringing.

Is Your Pearl Jewelry Trying to Send You a Message?

If your pearl jewelry seems to have lost its luster, it may just be dirty or have discolored knots. This ​Santa Barbara Jeweler​ wears pearls year round because of our sunny climate. If you haven’t taken a good look at your pearl jewelry lately, there’s no time like the present.

The Top Ten Reasons to Restring Your Pearls or Beads

1. Dirty knots.

White Pearls with Dirty Knots

Dirty Knots Call Out For a Restring

Did you know that pearls are strung with silk, and the silk stringing material absorbs body oil, moisture, and basic grime?

It’s true. Body oil, moisture and basic grime can wear down the silk over time, Which leaves the string prone to breakage.
Clean knots are strong knots, and less vulnerable to breakage.

2. Uneven gaps between pearls.

Stretched Out Pearl Necklace

Pearl Necklace with Gaps between Pearls and Knots

Silk string stretches over time.

Even the strongest string is prone to stretching and breaking over time, and the silk string used to string most pearl necklaces is no exception.

When silk string stretches, it causes gaps between the pearls. Not only does this make pearl jewelry look bad, it is also a warning sign that breakage is imminent.

3. Your necklace is longer than it was.

No, the pearl fairy didn’t visit you and drop some extra pearls onto your jewelry or bracelet. Pearl jewelry that seems to grow in length is another sign of stretching.

4. Fuzzy knots.

Pearl Stringing String Showing Wear

Fraying Knots in One Area of Necklace Tell us it’s Time to Restring

The general wear and tear on pearl jewelry can create fuzzy knots, which is caused by the pearls rubbing against the knots.

Over time, the continuous rubbing action can shred the knots, making them a little wooly looking.

That wooly look precedes breakage.

5. Pearls covering knots.

Normal wear causes stretching on the silk thread, which in turn can cause the knots to shrink and get pulled into the pearl drill hole. When this happens, the knot in the silk thread disappearing inside the pearl.  Without the knot to separate them, pearls end up wearing against each other and causing damage.

6. Discolored pearls.

frayed knots between pearls

Frayed Knots Between Pearls

Pearls are porous and tend to absorb what is around them. This includes, perfume, lotion, makeup, sweat and anything else that you put on your skin. Over time, this affects the luster and shine of the pearls, causing them to have a dull and dirty appearance.

If pearls are not cleaned properly and restrung from time to time, they can become permanently discolored.

7. Chipped, scratched, or broken pearls.

Pearl With Lost Nacre

Example of Damaged Pearl.

Pearls are, by nature, very soft. Over time, even with the utmost of care, they can chip, break or be scratched. The perfect time to replace these problem pearls is when you have them restrung.

During the restringing process, the damaged pearls will be replaced and matched to your existing set, and your pearl jewelry will be returned to you looking brand new!

8. Unsuitable clasp.

If the clasp is hard to manipulate, worn, or broken, restringing is the perfect time to replace it with something better. You might also want to update your pearls with an antique or diamond clasp to add beauty and value, or transform a little-worn necklace into a fabulous, multi-strand bracelet.

9. Blackened pearls due to contact with gold beads.

When Pearls are Strung Next to Gold Beads They Get Black

When Pearls are Strung Next to Gold Beads They Get Black

Pearls that have continuous contact with gold beads may take on a blackened appearance.  If your pearls seem to be turning black, you’ll need to have the necklace taken apart and the pearls cleaned. Consider all your options before restringing, such as removing the gold spacer beads from the necklace completely, or simply adding another type of bead, such as onyx or jade to separate the gold beads from the pearls.
The blackened appearance occurs because the holes on the gold spacer beads are larger than the holes in the pearls. The gold beads will always slip between the knots, touching the pearls and slowly blackening them over time.

10. They are being held together by a safety pin.

Safety Pins and Pearls Don't Mix! Resting those pearls.

Safety Pins and Pearls Don’t Mix!

Safety pins are not accessories for pearl jewelry! Are your pearls being held together by a safety pin?

If so, we need to talk. (I speak from experience as I’ve seen it now three times, and on one occasion, my client’s comment was, “It works fine until it starts turning and someone says, your safety pin is showing.’”)

Calla says …

There’s nothing more beautiful than a simple strand of pearl jewelry, and caring for your pearls with a simple restringing will keep your pearls looking their best.  Ready to restring your pearl jewelry?  I can help with that!  Call or email me today.

Your Personal Jeweler,

Want to learn more about pearls?  Check out these 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

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

Ten Ways to Casual-ify Your Pearl or Bead Necklace

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.


  1. Peggy Jo Donahue on August 22, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    This was a great one, Calla – time to go look at my pearls!

    • Calla Gold on August 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

      Peggy Jo, you made my day. That’s exactly the response I was hoping to evoke when I wrote this post.
      Your jewelry is lucky to have a mom who preemptively checks it out and catches problems before disaster strikes.
      Calla Gold

  2. Lorrie Thomas Ross on August 22, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    great pearls of wisdom!! thanks for the web gems Calla!

    • Calla Gold on August 22, 2011 at 9:39 pm

      Lorrie, I’m delighted you liked it! Thank you for letting me know.
      Next week I’ll have a follow-up pearl post discussing what can happen after a restring, since these things come up with my clients and from stories I’m told.
      Calla Gold

  3. Santa Barbara Coach on August 26, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Wow, those dirty knots really do take away from the beauty of the pearls. Thanks for being there to take care of all our jewelry needs!
    Dr. Lynn K. Jones, Certified Personal and Executive Coach

    • Calla Gold on August 26, 2011 at 2:50 am

      Dr. Lynn,
      I love taking care of your gorgeous jewelry.
      I’m glad you liked the Top Ten Reasons to Restring Your Pearls. I see a lot of dirty knots and it’s absolutely amazing how much better the pearls look with their clean new stringing silk.
      Calla Gold

  4. Lesa on April 3, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    I inherited some pearls that were no longer even strung together, the silk had broken a long time ago. I don’t even know if I have all of the original pearls at this point, which I find very sad. You’ve done a great job here of educating us on how to take care of our pearls so we’ll be able to enjoy them for many years to come (and maybe even leave them intact to the next generation).

    • Calla Gold on April 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      Just so you know, if you want to bring your inherited pearls back to life restringing them makes a great deal of difference in their look. Also if you don’t have enough, a good jeweler can find matching pearls to add. If they’ve yellowed with time, put the new ones back by the clasp.
      It is the nicest thing you can do to keep your pearls strung and fresh. It’s great for you and great for the next person who will love and cherish them.
      Calla Gold

  5. Misha on April 3, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Calla I love your idea of refurbishing pearls instead of throwing them out or buying new ones. It is so in alignment with my eco-values. I appreciate your list of how to make what you already have even better.
    Maybe that’s reason number 11!
    Way to go!

    • Calla Gold on April 4, 2012 at 7:22 am

      I’m pleased that your eco-values resonated with my fix up your pearls post.
      I’m a big recycler and love that it matters to you as well.

  6. Maria Cordi on April 4, 2012 at 4:29 am

    Calla, I went to dig up my pearls because of your pearl stringing blog post. It’s been a while since I’ve looked at them, and I’m reminded that I love them!
    I’ve decided that I’ll be wearing them at two family gatherings this Easter. Thank you for showing me what to look for to tell me if my pearls need to be restrung.
    Happily they don’t so I can wear them with confidence! Maria

    • Calla Gold on April 4, 2012 at 7:18 am

      Hi Maria,
      Thanks for stopping by the blog. Enjoy those great pearls of yours at Easter and beyond!
      Calla Gold

  7. Yvette McIntire on April 5, 2012 at 11:00 am

    The idea of needing to restring pearls has never occurred to me before! Calla Gold I’m glad you wrote all these reasons I might need to get my pearls re-strung. I guess I thought the pearls would just keep on keepin on with no help from me.
    Thanks for another great educational caring for my jewelry post.
    Now off to my jewelry box to look for the warning signs…

    • Calla Gold on April 5, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      Thank you for letting me know what you thought. I was once when I was much younger the recipient of a little diamond ring. I wore it every day. After five years it started catching on my clothes. I finally took it to a jewelry store.
      I was quite annoyed with my ring, which I continued to wear.
      They showed me my ring under a loupe and the prongs were so beat up, bent and worn it was a miracle the diamond was still there.
      The jeweler told me that jewelry needs upkeep, just like your horse. I owned horses at the time and he wondered how it got so beat up.
      So it’s understandable thing when people don’t check out their jewelry for wear.
      I’m glad you enjoyed this post Yvette!
      Calla Gold

  8. Erica Ross-Krieger on April 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I took your question (“Is your necklace trying to send you a message?” and went through the non-pearl necklaces I have also. There were several non-working clasps, a few dirty knots on a beaded necklace, and a pouch with a pearl necklace I haven’t worn in years. I’m taking time this weekend to act on the messages I discovered:)
    Thanks, Calla.

    • Calla Gold on April 11, 2012 at 7:16 am

      Thanks for taking action with your pearls and beads after reading my post. That is just so cool. It sounds like your search was fruitful.
      Soon you’ll have new wearable necklaces!
      I love your statement that you are “taking this weekend to act on the messages I discovered.”
      I hope others too will see what is being said by their jewelry.
      Calla Gold

  9. Delia on June 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Lovely post! Calla, even if I don’t wear pearls, I can see how this can be extended to other pieces of jewellery. I have a few sitting in my closet and not being on display, which is really a shame 🙂

    I also liked the way you had images for all the steps, made it so clear rather than the simple description of the problem! Lovely blog, I’ll continue to come for great tips!

    • Calla Gold on June 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      You made my day. My husband looked over my shoulder while I was prepping this post and said, “babe, aren’t you overdoing it on the pictures?” I did them all anyway and you’ve made me so glad I did!
      Your Happy Jewelry Blogger!

  10. Alison on June 16, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Great advice, Calla Gold. I never knew all those facts about pearls. I like that it’s an easy fix to keep my pearls wearable and beautiful.

    • Calla Gold on June 16, 2012 at 10:31 am

      I’m thrilled that you found that post helpful. Re-stringing of pearls is something I do a lot of and it seemed like it was time to write it down.
      Funnily enough some pearl experts recommend re-stringing once a year.
      No one I know has it done that often, but I trot out that recommendation when someone is like, “I wear these all the time. You re-strung them 5 years ago, is it like under warantee?”
      I have to say “no, wearing pearls does wear out the stringing string.” And then all is fine. Anyway thanks for stopping by Alison!
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  11. Ann marie turlock on November 5, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Hello Calla,
    I have my Mother’s string of pearls. They are 21″ long when laid out straight, with a 3/4″ clasp. My Father and I picked out and then bought these pearls for my Mother in 1969, as her Christmas present. I was going to wear them recently to one last event before passing them on to my Niece, so that she had something valuable that had belonged to her Grandmother (who passed away in 2001), and then me. As I was putting them on, the string broke at the end where it had attached to the clasp. The pearls weren’t affected as the knot at the end of the string that kept the pearls strung, held tight. What’s left of the string is a little frayed and rather short. Do you feel it can be repaired without the need to restring? I know you might not be able to answer me without seeing them, but I was hoping you could advise me as to the next step I should take. I’d welcome your input. Thank you in advance.

    • Calla Gold on November 5, 2018 at 2:54 pm

      Hi Ann,
      That is very cool that you’ll be giving them to your niece.
      They need to be fully knotted from scratch. When we string pearls we use a very long string, it’s only at the very end that we do the final knot and cut the string. To make a knot, a large length of string is needed.
      In no case ever have I just re attached a broken off bit of string back to the end of the clasp.
      And like tires, when one blows out the others will be worn as well.
      In cases where someone lamented that all that was wrong was the break at the clasp, on closer inspection we could see fraying and other indicators that a full re-string was needed.
      But back to your question, you must re-string the entire strand with fresh silk string.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

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