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7 Tips to Revive Your Grandma’s Pearl Necklace

By Olga Shevchenko September 16, 2023 Lifestyle

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.

Why Don’t You Wear Grandma’s Pearls?

The usual explanation is that it looks outdated.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.

What Should You Do with Our Outdated Strand of Pearls?

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.

So, What Are Some Designs to Look Into?

Changing the Clasp

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?

Adding a Chain

Another way to create a contemporary piece of pearl jewelry is to add a chain to the necklace.

A Pendant

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!

Colored Gemstones

Something else to consider is pairing pearls with colored gemstones. It always looks nice and original.

Using a Variety of Pearls

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.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

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?

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Elizabeth van Til

I have pearls I bought in the late 1970s – a single row and I still wear them. When I was working I wore them nearly every day. Keep wearing them as they keep their shine better and if we all start wearing them – hey presto we can bring them back into fashion!


Dear Elizabeth, thank you for your comment. It’s great that you enjoy wearing your pearls for so many years! First, this means that your pearls are of good quality, and you take care of them. And, today, luckily, pearls are extremely popular – people have re-discovered their beauty and class

Sheila Buckingham

I have a double row pearl necklace, inherited from my mum, who was given the piece on her 21st birthday by her parents. They are in the box and I have not worn them as I am afraid to break them. It may be an idea to have them refashioned into a bracelet for myself and my daughter.


Dear Sheila, as I have written to you, you should wear your pearls. Don’t be scared to break them – they become more beautiful when you wear them. And, moreover, pearls make a woman look beautiful!


Also have pearls sitting in a box and it’s sad. Pearls are beautiful and add a glow to women. Mine were given by my husband and I’m not much of a sentimental person. They need to come out of hiding. For now I’m just going to start wearing them don’t care they are old fashion. What’s the saying “everything old is new again”. Maybe down the road I’ll update them with your repurpose ideas. Thanks


Dear Nina, you are right. You should wear your pearls – they need the moisture of your skin. And a woman wearing pearls looks great – pearls will light up your skin

Stephanie Bryant

My dad gave me pearls when I graduated college. He is now passed away and it’s been sitting in a box in my safe. They have sentimental value. Great ideas to re-purpose.


Dear Stephanie, it is not recommended to keep pearls in the safe as the air is very dry there and the pearls may lose their luster. You should take your pearls out of the box ad check them.

Rohini Bhat

I have not received any pearls from mom or grand mother. I love pearls and have invested in them over the years. I love wearing them. I have few items I modified too. Thanks for this article.


Dear Rohini, thank you for your comment. What piece of your pearl jewelry is your favourite one?

The Author

Olga Shevchenko is an FGA certified gemologist and jewelry designer. Founder of Jewelry Olga, she designs and creates unique pearl jewelry in Montreal ( Knowing that jewelry is a powerful fashion accessory, Olga teaches women how to choose it and look classy and beautiful at any age. Contact Olga at

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