I am sure many women over the age of 60 have a white pearl necklace. Maybe it was a gift from your husband, or a piece inherited from your mother or grandmother. As a rule, it is a simple strand of small white round pearls, often graduated. It is finished with a standard golden clasp.
Such a necklace often has sentimental value and comes with a story about a person whom you deeply loved. My clients often share touching stories about their mothers or grandmothers to whom a lovely pearl necklace used to belong.
Unfortunately, it’s almost always the case that grandma’s necklace is solely kept in a jewelry box.
The usual explanation is that it looks outdated. In addition, you have much nicer jewelry with contemporary designs. Moreover, you have a different style now, and you don’t want to look like an old lady wearing Grandma’s pearls.
It’s likely that your daughters have refused to take this pearl necklace as they follow current fashion trends – which promote a very different jewelry look.
You could certainly try selling it – but you will not get much for a strand of pearls. The market for second-hand jewelry is a tough one. You might be able to sell jewelry marked “Tiffany” or “Cartier,” but there is little chance to get good money for a pearl necklace unless it is marked “Mikimoto”!
But that’s not your only option. It is possible to give a second life to your pearl jewelry. You probably know that diamond jewelry is often re-designed. Why not do this with your pearls?
Of course, your pearls should be a good quality. Otherwise, it does not make sense to invest money in re-designing the necklace. Just keep it as a memory.
However, if the quality of the pearls is good, it is possible to create a nice contemporary piece out of them. And you will enjoy wearing your new (or old?) pearl necklace. Depending on your style and personality, there are various designs to choose from.
As a jewelry designer, I am always excited when my clients bring me their grandma’s pearls for re-designing. I feel like I am creating a link between the past and the present. As a family heirloom, the new “old” pearl necklace will stay in the family for a long time. And if the necklace looks modern, the next generations will be willing to wear it as well.
You may be surprised, but a simple change of the clasp can give a different look and feel to your pearl strand.
You can select a classic, timeless clasp, or a modern, edgy one. If you go for the latter, you may also try the option of wearing your pearls with the clasp at the front or on the side. Chic, right?
Another way to create a contemporary piece of pearl jewelry is to add a chain to the necklace.
It’s also possible to add a pendant. This is one of my favorite options as it makes your jewelry versatile. I love pearl pendants and wear them myself frequently. You may also wear your pendant with a chain.
In my experience, women love this design as, generally, they already have accumulated different jewelry within the years, and they are looking for something fresh that they don’t already own. A nice detachable pearl pendant is something that will add a new flavor to their look!
Something else to consider is pairing pearls with colored gemstones. It always looks nice and original.
For a fresh, contemporary piece of jewelry, you can add to the strand a few pearls of different shapes and colors.
Maybe you don’t see yourself wearing a pearl necklace – but how about a bracelet instead? Some strands have enough pearls for two designs, so you can give one to your daughter if she likes it!
The remaining pearls may be used to create earrings – and these are a favourite piece of jewelry for many women, especially as they can accessorize any outfit, depending on the occasion.
If you are interested in re-designing your grandma’s pearl necklace, visit my website and have a look at the different designs.
Huge thanks to my friend, amazing singer and Sixty and Me author Barbara Lewis for posing as model for two of the photos.
Do you have a grandma’s pearl necklace in your jewelry box? Does it have sentimental value? Do you wear it? Would you wear the pearls if the design was different, more contemporary?