There are a few key steps to making a high quality pearl necklace. The first is the knotting of the necklace. High quality pearl necklaces have knots between each pearl. The purpose of the knots are so the pearls do not rub together and damage one another. Pearls have a soft surface and friction between two pearls or the friction between pearls and metals or other jewelry can damage the surface of the pearl. This damage can leave scrapes, pock marks and more. I remember traveling to Vietnam and seeing pearl vendors along Halong Bay. They were fun to haggle with and they sold their low quality pearl necklace for about $20 a strand which, again, was lots of fun. Of course they wanted to PROVE their pearls were real so they would take two pearls and rub them together forming a talc-like dust from the breakdown of the pearls. They also might take a knife and cut the surface of the pearl to show that the pearl was not made of plastic but, instead, of the organic pearl material. Finally, some vendors would burn their pearls to, again, show they would not melt. Well, let me tell you, this might prove that the pearl is not plastic but it also illustrates what low quality pearls they are offering. No one would ever burn, scrape or cut high quality pearls! We want to protect our fine pearls and the first step in doing that is to tie a knot between each pearl. The added bonus? If our strand happens to break, we will not lose all of our pearls!
The second important component of a high quality pearl necklace is the point where the thread meets the clasp. High quality necklaces are threaded on silk thread and where the knot ends and the clasp begins, the thread must never sit against the metal. This might seem like a minor details however this point of contact will wear down over time and will, most likely, be the first point of contact to break. So, how do we keep this point of contact strong so the thread will not break? At The Pearl Girls and other high quality pearl jewelry providers, we run the thread through a wire coil so the thread remains protected before it is attached to the clasp. So, thread is protected against the clasp.
I bring all of this up because we had a necklace sent to us which had broken, after years of wear, at this exact spot. The pearls are lovely and the necklace was well made but with this minor oversight of thread against metal, the necklace broke.
Again, it was a pretty necklace and it was poor oversight to create a necklace like this without protecting the thread against the clasp. So, to repair the necklace, we restrung the entire necklace on silk, knotted between each pearl and put the thread through metal (called french wire) to ensure this sort of break does not happen again.
The result is a beautiful necklace which will last a much longer time! This is yet another secret to high quality pearl necklaces: Choose gorgeous pearls, knot them well and finish the necklace so that it can be enjoyed for years to come!
I am a modern day treasure hunter who travels the world for gorgeous pearls and amazing adventures. I own a pearl jewelry and jewelry repair business, ThePearlGirls.com, with a cute retail store in Athens, GA. I also have a Pearl Travel business and travel blog at TheWorldofPearl.com.