My pearl journey begins here, and my guess is that only pearl lovers will care to read this. In my younger years I always loved admired pearls. As a newly employed Legal Secretary (just out of college) I would go on my lunch hours and look at pearls in the downtown high-end jewelry shop. I eventually saved up enough to purchase a nice 5mm 22" strand and 7" bracelet. For many years, this was the ONLY pearl jewelry I owned, and they were reserved for special occasions only. (Why do we do this with jewelry anyway...) Fast forward to Christmas 2019 and a looming Pandemic.
Years before, my mother had received a LOVELY 3-strand 6.5mm Akoya necklace with a diamond clasp from my father. My daughter wore it at her wedding (something borrowed). Then, as my mother aged, she found she was not wearing her pearls often enough; as she always said, "Pearls are meant to be worn." So, my daughter inherited the strand from my mother that Christmas 2019. As a stay-at-home Mom, my daughter told me that she would not have a lot of opportunity to wear such a fancy 3-strand necklace but would love to have a single strand for dates, church and special events. So I did some research and found a reputable pearl restringing service, purchased 3-14K yellow gold bow clasps and sent the strand off to be broken down and restrung into 2-18" necklaces and 1-7" bracelet. They came back restrung and lovely! However, I did not check the clasps before sending everything off to be strung (and neither did the restringing service), and unfortunately one clasp was defective. Ugh! I noticed this when trying on the newly restrung pearls. The clasp seller did exchange the defective one for a new one, but I had to decide if I wanted to pay yet again to ship/insure/restring/ship back AGAIN. So, I asked myself, "How hard can this be...I'm handy an crafty." I looked on YouTube for videos on how to restring pearls! Then, I practiced on cheap beads, eventually moving to inexpensive freshwater pearls, and finally graduated to my mother's Akoya strand. I WAS HOOKED. So many challenges along the way, and still, so very, very much fun.
(Looking back, it would have been WAYYYYY cheaper to just have those pearls restrung again! Hahaha.)
Now, 2 1/2 years later, I have an extensive collection of pearl strands with new and vintage clasps that keeps me excited about wearing jewelry every day! During the course of my endeavors I was able to take the CPPA "Pearls as One" pearl course and was able to become certified. What a blessing that course was, as I searched for the next perfect strand to re-work. There is NO WAY I can show you everything I've done; it will take many postings. However, I will get started today! Perhaps someday I'll sell some of these lovely strands, but for now, I just love the collection. South Sea Whites, South Sea Goldens, Blue Akoya, 2.5mm to 10mm Akoyas, WWII Graduated Strands, Kasumi Pearls, Freshwater pearls of many colors, rice pearls on a 15 strand fat rope necklace (I used the diamond slide clasp from my Mother's original 3-strand necklace), Tahitian blues and grays, even mixing crystal beads and other stones like Jade and Lapis with pearls. I have found designers of quality findings as far away as Israel, who have crafted special clasps and enhancers for me, and found US suppliers with current stock of lovely gold and gold filled or rhodium dipped silver findings that are perfect for so many different needs. To me, the clasp is as important as the strand. My goal is that the clasp/earrings/bracelet values should appropriately match the value of the pearls.
Now, I'm ready to start sharing what I've done with all of you. It has been especially fun to find you all, my pearl brothers and sisters, who share the passion and love for this wonderful creation of God, Man and Nature. Thank you Mr. Mikimoto for perfecting the cultured pearl process!
So, here it goes. Not sure if I should start a whole thread of my own to share these creations (or if I'm even allowed to start a Thread of my own...?) , or post to existing threads. That's why I am starting here on "Show Us Your Pearls!" I'm open to suggestions as to how to share what I have with the rest of you. Posting on the Forum is new for me.
Blessings and thank you for your shared love and interest. I seek only to encourage others and grow in my own knowledge of "Pearling" (the new VERB my daughters lovingly referred to what I do in my spare time). I look forward to continued learning from all of you.
Webster's Definition: Pearling
/ˈpərliNG/, noun. 1. the activity or occupation of diving or fishing for pearl oysters. "Pearling
was an exciting yet dangerous occupation."
My Definition: Pearling
/ˈpərliNG/ verb. 1. the disassembling, reworking, and restringing of pearl jewelry to fill ones time with beauty and new creations. 2. the act of working with pearls, including but not limited to: drilling, stringing, threading, matching, arranging, loosing in the carpet or on the work table, etc. 3. the search for pearls (anywhere, but especially online) to create new jewelry. "Where's Mom?" "She's upstairs pearling
Pictured below is a 6-strand Akoya mixed size necklace. The clasp, such a beautiful/unusual/amazing find, had 6 strands of gray Keshi (2-2.5mm-SO tiny...) on it. I painstakingly restrung the Keshi with a different method on a 18K White Gold clasp. I'll share that later.
For this necklace, I worked hard to find varying sizes of Akoya pearls that would work well together. 2-3mm, 1-4.5mm, 1-5mm, 1-5.5mm, 1-6-6.5mm. I was so happy to find all of these different strands and have them match so well in color and quality. It was quite a search. The true challenge was getting the lengths to work. The necklace is 18" long twisted (19" untwisted) and the clasp is 14K Yellow/White Gold with tiny diamonds. The connector opens on both sides and clips around the center "ring." There is a 14K yellow gold heavy bead at the clasp location on each side of each strand to keep the pearls away from the edge of the clasp. It made for a better transition between clasp and strand, rather than cinching the pearls all the way to the inset "grid" on each clasp end. I was really happy with how nicely it turned out.
Enjoy! I am so happy to share this with all of you. Definitely one of my "later" endeavors on the "Pearling" learning curve. (Wanted to make sure the image was large enough to really see the detail.) I'm just getting started. More pictures and stories to come, that is, if you approve.View attachment 462645