Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Freshwater Pearls - Replace and Repair
Got broken jewellery?
If anyone mentions that they have a piece they no longer wear because it's broken I usually jump in feet first and offer my jewellery making skills to fix it for them. I love doing it but I'm a sucker for punishment! I never think to ask questions like "Do you have all the components?" or What is it made from and how old is it?" or other important questions such as "Is it valuable, sentimental or a favourite piece that you can't bear to throw away?" Those questions invariably come later when I run into problems putting it together. It usually results in me sitting on the piece for weeks/months before I decide to tackle it again. That was the case with this one - it is missing 4 black pearls and 2 peach pearls and it is also showing signs of wear on the gold spacer beads.
Matching the pretty peach-coloured freshwater pearls was difficult and in the end, I just had to go for the best match. The ones I settled on were close in size and shape but a little more pink than the original pearls. But by the time the necklace is reassembled, the colour difference will be unnoticeable. I also needed to replace the spacer beads and my choice was between bright gold on the right and a bronze on the left. I went with the bronze.
The way this piece was put together was quite sound so I decided to put it back together using the original callottes. When I'm doing repairs on old jewellery that has sentimental value to the owner, I always try to reuse the original components.
But alas, the metal was brittle and it snapped before I even began threading the pearls on.
So I replaced the callottes as well.
The stringing is very simple on this piece; each group of 4 pearls is made by stringing 2 pearls on each strand with a spacer bead in between each set.
Once it was all restrung it was just a matter of threading on a callotte, adding a crimp to the beading wire and crimping it in place.
Trim the beading wire and close the callotte over the crimp. I reused the barrel clasp because it has a nice swivel mechanism in it so that the necklace doesn't twist.
Here's the repaired section; by adding 6 new pink pearls and grouping the 2 sets of black pearls that were missing, I didn't need to buy any more black pearls. You can hardly tell the difference between the pink and the peach pearls.
Et voilà! As good as new!
I'm sure the owner will be pleased to finally have her pearls come back to her. And I'm pleased to have been able to help her out, even if it took me a while to get to it.
'Til next time.....