Pearls are the queen of gems. 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
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
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
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.
A vulnerable place on a pearl is the drill hole area. When two pearls are rubbing next to each other this can chip off nacre in the area of the drill hole. This is like a chip on the edge of a diamond. It can lead to worse chipping.
6. Discolored 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.
This mismatched and dinged up pearl was pulled out when we restrung Clara’s necklace. We wondered how it got there. Maybe her grandmother had wanted to restring it longer? The stringer was going blind? And IQ test to see if we were paying attention? She saved it in her jewelry box afterwards as a reminder that her grandmother frequently took things in her own hands.
7. Chipped, scratched, or broken pearls
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
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. The blackening itself is the oxidation of the gold which is generally an invisible thing. The rubbing of the gold beads against the pearls causes the bit of oxidation to rub off on the white pearls.
10. They are being held together by a safety pin
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,