Regular readers know that one of my 'things' is (all together now): Rehab your pearls!
Take 'em apart if they're too bland, too girlish, or just if you'd enjoy a change.
Example #1 shows why I'm devoted to Pam Chandler and Don Collins of Artworks by Collins and Chandler Gallery (aka "Pam and Don") in Toronto.
These started life as a 48-inch strand of lavender-to-pink 9mm ovals. Nice, but not interesting on their own. Pam styled them as bib, accented with big nuggets of aquamarine, amethyst, and Bali silver beads. People have offered to buy them off my neck.
Example #2 (middle): an 18-inch strand of keshis I bought on eBay for about $60 because of their shimmering orient. They arrived strung with one of those dreadful "gold" filigree clasps, but madly iridescent.
I sent them to Rosalind Wolchok, a Winnipeg-based designer I've known for years through craft shows. Rosalind makes her own findings and beads; she added a handmade silver clasp, silver circles (centre of bottom of strand) and one tiny amethyst bead (just above the centre on the right) that highlights the intense glow.
Finally, if your strand's mysteriously become a little tight, turn it into a wrapped bracelet (below). This one's from Rosalind's site; she can create a similar look with your pearls.
Freshwater pearls are nearly solid nacre, so last a lifetime and more with a little care.
I recently took a pearl-grading course, along with about 40 jewelers and one other civilian. When shown the current crop of big, gorgeous freshwaters in delicious natural colours, one jeweler asked, "Why would people buy saltwater pearls any more?" The instructor just shrugged.
You can buy a lavishly lustrous strand for the price of a pair of good shoes! Don't walk away from a beautiful strand that is not strung to your liking, just have it restyled by someone whose work you love.