What You NEED to know!

Before you get your item restrung you should know…

•If your necklace is knotted, it will come back shorter after restringing.  This is because over time your necklace or bracelet will have stretched. You probably haven’t noticed it happening but you certainly will when it comes back an inch or two shorter! When restringing is done correctly, your necklace will be knotted very tight; no pearl (or bead) should have room to move. Your necklace may even have a “wrinkled” look: that is a positive indication of tight knotting. Over time, each knot will pull and each strand will stretch. The wrinkled appearance will disappear and the longer you leave it between restringing – the looser your beads will become causing your necklace to lengthen by a significant amount over time.  This is why you should count your beads. It is easy to come to the conclusion that beads have been forgotten or even stolen after your necklace is returned shorter!

•This may sound obvious but your necklace WILL be returned shorter if you have lost some beads! When they break, pearls seem to be able to travel for miles under their own steam and seem to favour dark, hard to reach places and holes in the floorboards! If you think you might have lost some, let me know! I may restring your necklace using all your pearls to find it is only 14” long and for all I know, you just have a very slim neck! If you tell me that you think the necklace was 16” originally then I can go about trying to replace the missing beads before you get  it home to find it only fits your 10 year old daughter!

•If you have a multi strand necklace, all strands should be restrung. I know it costs more and I know you think that the others are ‘probably ok for now’ but they won’t be. They will have stretched so that your nicely tiered or nested necklace will now come back with a very tight row that doesn’t fit the pattern and has bright white knots against the grubbier looking strands. Also, chances are, if one row became weak enough to break, the others won’t be far off.

•Knotting graduated pearls is not always a great idea. The size of the thread I can use is dictated by the smallest hole in the strand. Chances are that your small 2mm beads near the clasp will have a much smaller hole than the big 10mm+ beads in the centre. If I start to knot the beads then eventually the holes in the beads will be bigger than the knots and will slide straight over rendering the knotting pointless (the knots will not stop the beads falling off the string if the string snapped) and the end result will be wobbly uneven spacing and loose bead. Not ideal. Obviously each strand is different and I can advise on each case as best I can.

•Metal beads are often left unknotted. This is for a number of reasons. Metal beads usually have larger holes so they slip over knots anyway. They are often hollow so even if the hole is small enough to allow it to be knotted, the knot, over time will likely still work its way into the bead wearing the hole and making it bead wall sharp which can slice straight through the thread.

•On the subject of metal beads – they will mark your pearls. Fact. You will be left with a black ring when the pearl touches the metal which is very difficult if not impossible to remove. I know that paring pearls with gold is irresistible but it is something to be aware of.

•Pearls naturally darken with age and wear. The creamy colour they develop cannot be removed, even with professional cleaning.

•Very small pearls with disproportionally large holes may not produce the supple flow of your necklace that you can usually expect.

•Beads that have tapered holes are subpar and can’t yield a nicely knotted strand.

•Beads with flat ends, such as cubes, will not lay right by themselves – they need round beads in between.

•Pearls that have been stained by makeup, perfume or any other chemical often can’t be cleaned.

•Some pearls or beads need to be discarded or replaced if a previous assembler used superglue in order to secure the bead cord. Not always is it possible to remove that glue.

•If you have lost or missing beads, they may not be able to be replaced to match the others. There are billions of beads, many of them which are no longer produced. Matching pearls or beads can be a daunting task or not possible at all. In that case I will try my best to offer alternative options.

•You should always count your pearls before sending them in for repair. This is an easy measure for your own security and peace of mind and I will also count beads on receipt.

It is exceedingly rare that pearls get lost, however, in a few very rare cases; a pearl could be separated from your repair envelope, especially if you send loose pearls and typically pearls are round little critters and can roll away by default. Only if I know the correct amount of pearls, can I ensure that any strays quickly get reunited.

2 responses to “What You NEED to know!”

  1. I took my 94 year old mom’s knotted vintage pearls to be restrung. I didn’t count them as is a reputable jeweler, but they did measure them and charged me accordingly. They were not worn much and had a companion string. One of the pearls had come off and the diamond clasp so that was put back on. They just called to say the necklace upon restringing was 3 inches shorter than the 17.5 it was originally measured at their store.They did not appear to be stretched when they were measured. It will be very short on me, almost a choker…..might fit my grandfather. Your thoughts?

  2. That sounds all too familiar and why I always recommend counting your pearls.

    When restrung, the pearls will have no wiggle room at all and may even be kinked because they are so tight. They will relax over time. For example, if there are 90 pearls, if each one had wiggle room of 0.8mm you will get 3 inches of length lost. That doesn’t take into account any extra space next to the clasp which could be a further couple of millimetres. It all adds up unfortunately.

    The original necklace may not have been worn much or appeared stretched but it was likely strung on silk, a natural fibre that relaxes over time.

    It’s also worth considering that when the necklace was made it was perhaps fashionable to wear as a choker length than a more standard length that we are used to these days.

    Hopefully the jeweller offered some advice on making the strand more wearable for you? They may be able to match the pearls to extend the length or perhaps offer to fit contrasting spacer beads to add length? This is likely to be chargeable but shouldn’t be overly costly and would mean the pearls can be enjoyed once again.

    I hope that you get it sorted. X

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