Why Pearl Ring Sizing Costs More

Your Diva Pearls Demand Your Respect

Someone asked me the other day, “How come you’re charging me so much to size this pearl ring? Its band is half as thick as the sapphire ring you’re sizing, but it’s more expensive.”

Tahitian Pearl Ring with Diamonds

Peacock Tahitian Pearl needs careful consideration when sizing

“That’s a fair question,” I said. And one I’ve answered many times before.

Since I blog among other things, about the questions that come up the most, this Santa Barbara Jeweler feels it’s time for pearl ring sizing to get its moment in the sun, its fifteen seconds of fame. I could go on in this vein, but instead I’ll answer the question.

Soldering Torch with flame focused on chunk of metal

This Flame Will Kill Your Pearl if Not Removed First

Heat Endangers Your Pearls

Pearl rings take more labor time – and therefore can cost more – to re-size, because the pearls have to be removed.

They can’t take the heat! Remember, pearls are an organic substance. They burn easily, the surface cracks easily and heat just stresses them.

The Five Steps of Pearl Ring Sizing

1. First the pearl or pearls have to be removed from your ring. The “seat,” a satellite-dish shaped setting that your pearl nestles in, must be cleaned of old glue. If this is not done properly the new glue may not hold your pearl after the work is done and it is re-set.

Dished Depression Accommodates Pearl and the Peg Goes Into the Pearl with Glue on it

Dished Depression Accommodates Pearl and the Peg Goes Into the Pearl with Glue on it

2. Normally, the seat will have a peg sticking up, that along with glue, holds the pearl in place with added security. Pegs are simply thin vertical metal posts that extend into the center of the pearl. If there is no peg, I normally add one at this stage. A peg adds a great deal to the security of the pearl in your ring. Just as a side note, sometimes the peg breaks off inside your pearl. Since I can’t remove it and if the pearl is OK, I’ll drill a new hole in the pearl to accept the new peg I solder onto the seat.

Pearl Ring WIth a too Thin Shank

Pearl Ring With a too Thin Shank

3. Now it’s time to alter the size of the ring. If your ring has a thin or worn out shank, this is the time to add gold by re-shanking your ring. Click to read my blog post about re-shanking. The less times you have to mess with your pearl ring the better. So I frequently recommend my clients pre-emptively reshank their pearl ring if it will need this job in the future.

4. After the ring has been sized, the pearl is glued back onto the peg and seat.

5. Any final polishing is gently done.

Now you know why sizing pearl rings is more expensive than sizing heat resistant gem rings.

The Almost Final Word

Three older cultured pearls

Worn or dinged up pearls need to be replaced

One final word on pearls. If your pearl is older, has a thinner layer of nacre or has been a bit beat up, consider replacing your pearl or pearls at the time of the repair.

Pearls that live on a frequently worn pearl ring often become lackluster with much wear.

Older or worn pearls are also at more risk of being damaged in the removal process before sizing. No matter how great your jeweler is, there is some risk in the pearl removal.

What’s the Takeaway Message Here?

Love your pearls, wear your pearls and replace them when needed and love them some more. And be sure your Jeweler knows pearls before you hand over your precious pearl ring for repair.

Your Pearl Jeweler,
Calla Gold

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
Top Ten Reasons To Restring Your Pearls
The Pitfalls of Pearl Restringing – What Might Happen After Restringing
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.

2 Comments

  1. jane davis on June 1, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    I have an 18″ strand of Akoya pearls and the same of black Tahitian pearls. I hang them on the inside door of my upright jewelry box away from other items. Is this the best way to keep them or should they lay in a box? And I don’t wear them except to gala occasions, which are not often. Should I wear them once in a while to keep them from drying out? Or will they dry out? What is the best way to keep them “healthy”?

    • Calla Gold on June 2, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      Hi Jane,
      I like the hanging method unless they can get dusty. I tend to keep my pearls in a box. I encourage people to wear them occasionally just because they get lonely otherwise.
      Unless they are stored in a hot dry area you shouldn’t need to worry about the environment drying them out. That’s more a concern for opals which have tiny voids filled with water.
      Wear them and love them well.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

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