RE-STRINGING PEARLS: 5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Pearls Need Re-Stringing
Know When To Restring Your Pearls
Know when to restring your pearls.
There are 5 tell-tale signs:
DIRT. Re-string if the knots between your pearls are looking soiled or discolored. Silk, in particular, absorbs body oils and grime. Pearls are porous. They can absorb dirt and become permanently discolored. Sometimes, if there are no knots between beads, your pearls might adversely be affected by the beads next to them. For example, gold beads can blacken pearls, at the point they come in contact.
CHIPPING. Re-string if your pearls become chipped, scratched or broken. Pearls are soft and can easily scratch, chip and break. Some of your pearls may need to be replaced, before re-stringing. Once the nacre starts to chip, especially at or near the hole, it will set off a chain reaction and start chipping all over the pearl. Be sure to string your natural pearls on silk cord. Nylon cord will cut into the pearl at the hole.
STRETCH. Re-string if your pearls are moving around too freely between the knots. Silk stretches over time. Cord which shows, thus is uncovered, increases the chances it will break. Your necklace also may get longer over time, and that extra length may no longer meet your fashion needs. The hole of a pearl is very sharp. If the pearl moves back and forth between knots because of slack, or rotates too freely around the cord because there is not enough thickness of cord within the hole, the sharp holes will shred the cord, especially if it is silk.
DETERIORATION. Re-string if your stringing material breaks. Silk cord naturally deteriorates in 3–5 years. It breaks easily, and literally begins to turn to dust.
CLASP FAILURE. Re-string if your clasp breaks. Pearl clasps and box clasps break easily.But these clasps provide the “look” that people prefer with pearl knotted jewelry.
How often do pearls need to be re-strung? This depends on how often you wear them, what they were strung on, and how they were stored and cared for.
In general, pearls need to be re-strung every 3–5 years. If you wear your pearls every day, you will need to re-string them annually. If they were strung on silk bead cord, which is our preference, then silk naturally deteriorates in 3–5 years, and you want to re-string them before the silk starts turning to dust. If they were strung on nylon bead cord or flexible cable wires, these materials do not easily break down, and you might wait 10 years before re-stringing. But these non-silk stringing materials can ruin your pearls by cutting into the pearl at the hole.
If you store your pearls in an air-tight bag, and out of the air and sunlight, you may only have to re-string them every 10–15 years, even when strung on silk beading cord. Make sure the bag is a natural material like silk or cotton. Plastic bags actually ruin pearls. There is a negative chemical reaction between the plastic and the pearl.
Before Re-Stringing, You Need To Clean Them
Before you re-string your pearls, you would need to clean them.
First, you should gently wash your pearls while they are still on the old string, with mild soap and warm water. Remove any dirt and hardened oils around the pearls, particularly near the holes. Rinse extremely well so that there is no soapy residue. While you are cleaning your pearls, you want to anticipate what might happen, should the string break. Be sure the drain is covered. You might want to wash the pearls by working inside a colander in your sink.
Next, you must carefully cut the pearls off the old string. To start, place your scissors on the knot between two pearls and cut through the middle of the knot. You don’t want to start on either side of the first knot because the knot could slip inside a pearl and be quite difficult to remove. For the rest of the pearls, snip each knot off by placing the scissors behind each knot and in front of the pearl. Again, work over a surface, where, if you dropped a pearl, you would not lose it.
If there is a pattern to the arrangement of the pearls on your necklace, you might want to lay them out in this pattern, as you cut each one off the string, say on a bead board.
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