Like many women, Cecily owned a strand of pretty, small, graduated pearls, the style jewelers call "debutante necklaces". (Remember, debutante is French for "beginner".) Shown, 3mm-7mm graduated strand from American Pearl.
After she read some posts here, she researched designs on the net and brought photos of various pieces to her local goldsmith. That's a terrific tactic, because jewelers work like hairstylists: photos make your vision clear to them.
Cecily's pearls were lengthened and zhuzhed with glowing emerald beads and gold spacers, with larger decorative caps on the center pearl. She notes, "We did a lot of bead-by-bead decision making, changed the design a couple of times and the jeweler charged a design fee."
Cecily also renovated a graceful gold and diamond rose pin that belonged to her mother. The pin's original stem was removed, and the piece made into a pendant which she says she now wears "more in a week than I did in a decade". She also said "I'll be passing on both pieces to the next generation and wanted to keep the 'essence' intact."
The cost for both projects was close to $800 (including the gold chain for the rose), and she says, "I got most of that from my gold scrap."
I love this blend of beauty, value, and sentiment—all from what was once virtually unworn. Cecily, I so appreciate your sharing your project.
Cecily might inspire you to to restyle tucked-away pearls and then, to wear your new piece every day: she's in a tee and an Eric Bompard navy cashmere straight cardigan, so elegant yet relaxed.
Here's a selection of white pearl necklaces which illustrate the Top Three Techniques for renos:
Danielle Welmond pearl and labradorite necklace
2. Top right: Replace boring, dated clasp with a fab one. This is often one of the lowest-cost approaches but you can go crazy on some clasps!
Kojima Company white pearls with vintage turquoise and gold clasp
3. Bottom right: Mix with other gemstone beads; as Cecily did. A chic way to create a new piece, especially if you want to get away from all white:
Gump's baroque pearl and black jade bead rope
Sometimes the best new piece begins with one you already own!