This is June, pearl month, when thousands of classic strands will be given to brides, graduates and June birthdays.
Suppose you have your strand, but you don't wear it much. If they have barely seen light since they came out of the oyster, rehab your pearls!
This fun project need not be costly; even $75 (my estimate for new clasp and stringing) can utterly transform your necklace.
1. Add elements
Use your strand and add charms or decorative elements. Shown, Lacy Loop Necklace by British designer and goldsmith Marianne Anderson.
You can hang the elements from the strand or connect sections with them, as in another of Anderson's designs, the Scroll Necklace.
Though I have not contacted her, I have found that most designers and goldsmiths will work with your material to renovate a piece.
2. Update the clasp
If your pearls are long enough for you but a bit staid, change the clasp. Amazing how a cool clasp transforms pearls. This 18k vermeil Bali clasp is $24 from Nina Designs. (I like clasps that can be worn to the side or front.)
3. Add more pearls, in an interesting mix
If your strand is classic white, a skilled designer can select pearls to compliment your pearls' body colour and overtones.
Here's a mixed strand from Zara Scoville of Priceless Imperfection. She could add some fab keshis or Tahitians, and I want to see those!
4. Add stones to make a multi-gem piece
You might have other necklaces to donate to the project, or you could buy some stones. Example: Kojima Company pearl, tanzanite and apetite necklace.
An inexpensive option: mix pearls and glass nugget beads. A good local bead store sells semiprecious beads and can do the stringing; take a photo or sketch to discuss what you want.
4. String on coloured silk
Stringing white pearls on dark silk (charcoal, taupe) or lighter (pink, olive) is a fun way to reno for very little. I'd also change the clasp to something informal.
You can also use tiny pearls as "knots" between your pearls; shown, Kojima Company Petal Pearl necklace; white pearls with tiny purple-black rice pearls.
5. Put pearls on chain
Using chain instead of stringing on silk gives a light look and makes a chic change. Shown, Pearl Paradise's June special, a 35-inch silver chain strung with 9-10mm Tahitian baroque pearls, $350. (Gold chain also available, and they will make these necklaces in any length requested.)
6. Make your necklace into a bracelet
A good solution if the pearls are tight as a necklace. Make a double-strand bracelet or add more pearl variety to make a lavish piece.
Shown, Pearl Soireé bracelet from Kojima Company.
P.S. About pendants
Now that you are a glorious mature woman, your pearls may need to grow too. Sticking a pendant on too-short pearls only emphasizes their skimpiness, like belting a tight dress.
Lengthen the strand first by adding other material to get the right length and mood.
Shown, a necklace by Kojima Company: white keshis (classic Akoyas would also look pretty) lengthened by adding 18k gold spacer beads, with a green amethyst briolette.
It's pearl month! Wear your pearls, grateful for the gifts of nature, especially the lustrous, wondrous sea gem.