Un-prissing your pearls: Part Two

Part Two continues the matter of how to take a simple strand of round white pearls and make them less conservative. Murphy's comment invited me to take out long-owned items and play; there is terrific value in shopping your jewelry box, or it occurs to me, maybe a friend's!

First, a reminder shot of the "base necklace", lustrous 10mm Chinese freshwaters. They are large enough to stand on their own, but I have not been moved to wear them like that for awhile, maybe because that feels too business-formal these days.

More ideas of how to tart them up without restyling:

5. Torsade

I wound the whites with a Tahitian strand and one of the gold chains from #1.

6. Nested

Play with your other necklaces alongside your pearls. It's worth removing pearls to make the base necklace a touch shorter if that allows you to wear them inside another favourite. I've combined the base with an amethyst, pearl and turquoise necklace made by Artworks Gallery, Toronto, of stones I bought in India.

7. Massed

Round whites loosen up when invited to a party!

Below, the base with 
- double rope of dove-grey Akoyas with vintage white clasp (Kojima Company)
- pendant of three fancy-coloured Tahitians (Kojima Company, custom-made), and
- pearl chain (2mm-10mm) from Montréal's Joanna Szkiela of Red Sofa
Surprisingly light and comfortable.

When I mixed the base with a different palette and variety of pearls, I found a more casual look:
- "Tin Cup" necklace of mixed-colour metallic baroques (Lucile, Paris)
- Blue baroque akoyas (a gift more than 20 years ago)
- 35-inch rope of pink freshwater keshis (Kojima Company)

8. On your wrist

Knot the pearls so that they wrap around your wrist twice, and wear as a bracelet. Shown with a '60s grey mabé pearl ring by Spanish designer Joachim S'paliu.

Except for the bracelet, you do need jewelry to mix with the pearls, but I'll bet  you have something, and a white strand will take nearly anything you throw next to it. 

Conventional wisdom is to not let anything touch the pearls except other pearls, but better they are worn with pleasure than languish with nothing but dim memories of the oyster bed to call a good time. 

There's a luscious world of reasonably-priced beads that you can string up to mix with those pearls: turquoise, garnets, agate, quartzes, onyx and more. 

For a start, check out Etsy seller Joyful Otter Beads. (Shown, 10mm emerald-colour onyx, about $9 for a 14-16 inch strand.)

If buying pearls to zhuzh that base, go for contrast, even if subtle. Kojima Company have pearls I keep drooling over: a 30-inch 6mm rope of natural colour tangerine freshwater pearls. (Price, $275.) Put these next to Auntie's strand and bang, sunshine all winter! (These are not big pearls, but the pungent colour is divine, so they have a lot of presence.) 

In case you wonder, I have no commercial interest there—or anywhere else—but truly love the pearls Sarah finds.

You can always wear that base necklace on its own, as Cornelia, who commented Tuesday, does: with skinny jeans and a white button-down shirt, for example, an amusing tweak. 

Or try yours with lingerie, or less. Also pleasing, and not only to you.



Susan B said…
Duchesse, I love the mix with the keshis especially. Quite inspired!
Madame Là-bas said…
What interesting ideas! I have a lot of orphans in my jewellery box. I shall look for interesting combinations. I have really enjoyed the 2 posts!
Cornelia said…
These mixes are great. I have one strand of pearls that is not short, not long, just kinda there and hardly worn(but a gift from the husband). I will give some of your ideas a try. You are very creative.
Nancy K said…
The last post made my take out my pearls and layer them with some chains and a pendent. Much better! I have worn them twisted with a black onyx beads, which I like a lot. Thanks for the inspiration.
Nancy K said…
The last post made my take out my pearls and layer them with some chains and a pendent. Much better! I have worn them twisted with a black onyx beads, which I like a lot. Thanks for the inspiration.
Anonymous said…
Oh you have the most incredible collection, I love the idea of number 6, I've never thought of doing that before.
Your pearl party has me swooning....just proves the more the merrier!
You do have some really gorgeous pearls.
eleni said…
Lots to think about here. Love your examples and I will definitely try some of them. Like the comment by Madame La-bas "Orphans in my jewellery box" So true!
materfamilias said…
You inspired me to fiddle with a few mix-it-up possibilities. But funnily enough, I ended up just wearing my simple strand with jeans and a patterned shirt. You got me to take them out of the box . . . way better than stuck with only memories of the oyster bed (that characterization made me chuckle. . . )
Duchesse said…
Pseu: Keshis are my favourite variety for the past few years, all that nacre.

Mme: Are 'orphans' your term for unworn pieces? When I use the term I think of a single earring, when the mate has been lost.

Undamaged pieces that are not worn need- just like our clothes-restyling or a new home.

Nancy K: Oooh would like to see that!

Tabitha: It's all in the proportion, and you have a wonderful eye, so away you go!

Cornelia: I'll bet a nickel those pearls are the wrong length (for you) and should be shortened. Too-long pearls look dowdy no matter how beautiful; even 1 1/2 or 2 inches can make a world of difference. Suggest you take a rubber band and experiment.

hostess: While enjoyed collecting over the years, but now have a DIL to choose for/with, which is such fun!

eleni: Just like our closets, a good goal is to have nothing that doesn't get worn. If not worn after a year or two, that suggests need to restyle, donate or sell.

materfamilias: That's always an option- same as Cornelia's but with patterned shirt.

LPC said…
Love the torsade, love the keishis too. My god. I might buy more pearls in my lifetime. Who knew?

You and I were blogfriends already, when I posted this. http://amidprivilege.com/2010/01/all-the-days-of-your-pearls-2/.

I still haven't done anything with them. I spent my money on other things. Was it wise? Who know?
LauraH said…
Love seeing you wearing your collection, they look fabulous. Mixing can be tricky and there are some great ideas here. That amethyst necklace is gorgeous, what a lovely rich colour, and so clever to add the turquoise and the pearls.
Murphy said…
More great ideas! I love that torsade, and know just the necklaces to twist the pearls with. Methinks those pearls are going to work witth me tomorrow.
Jane M said…
Thanks for such wonderful inspiration ideas for combining my orphan pearls.
Anonymous said…
After reading all of your Pearl posts, I decided to do something with a 36" Richelieu pearl strand, given to me by a dear friend in the '80s, with a filigree clasp (gasp!). I "unclasped" it and sewed a small, 1935 Italian mosaic pin in its stead. I am very happy with the result and the almost 80-year old pin is being used once again.
Thank you for this splendid series.
Kirsten Giving

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