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Antique seed pearl and turquoise necklace - help me choose restring options

eac

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 12, 2006
Messages
151
Hi there

I'd love some advice on repairing an antique seed pearl necklace. My question is, should I try to 'stay original' as much as possible or should I update the old pearls with fresher ones for aesthetics?

About the necklace
My mother gave me this broken antique necklace. A seed pearl choker with gold spacers and gold-and-turquoise drops. It's probably from India or Pakistan, created for the 'Anglo-Indian' market.
pearlnecklet1.jpg

I've had one drop made into a pendant for me and another into a pendant for a niece. I am about to send the rest of it off to a very good pearl restringer. I am asking her to restring this and extend it at the ends of the necklace.

I've done some research. Necklaces like this in the UK in good condition run between 600 and 900 pounds in value - worth something, but not an investment piece. And, this one needs a repair and is missing a drop or two.

To help repair/extend it I got two tiny strings of itty bitty freshwater pearls. They're not quite as tiny as the seed pearls, and they're a few shades whiter. You can see them in the photo above, and here:
pearlnecklet2.jpg

The catch is...the old gray-white seed pearls don't look so great against my ordinary fair skin. The fresher, whiter seed pearls look better.

Which option would you choose or recommend?

I have three options for the restring:
1. Try to 'stay original' and use the newer pearls to extend the necklace to a wearable length for me.
2. Update the necklace's aesthetics, to brighten it up, and ask the pearl stringer to alternate seed-and-new pearls in the front of the necklace and for the extension.
3. Try to get some better matching seed pearls and wait on the restoration. (I'm in New Zealand so this will take a really long time with current delayed mail times - and I do like the look of the new pearls!)

I love its handmade feel and variations. With my life, I'll be wearing it with casual-to-nice drapey clothes at events like friends' fancy birthdays, not with a ballgown.

Looking forwards to your thoughts!!!
 

Attachments

GemOfTheRoe

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
6
Hello Eac

My advice would be to retain as much of the authenticity as possible, it would be a real shame that after surviving this long to transform it into something else and in the process lose its unique history/authenticity.

BTW, its a beautiful necklace, a treasure from your mother.
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Messages
568
When you say the necklace is worth 600-900, is that because of the material cost, or the age?

If you’re amenable to resetting it completely, here’s what I would do (this would absolutely be my first choice, but it depends on labour cost):

I would remove all the turquoise flowers from where they currently are and arrange them into a cluster. Take all the tiny pearls that are hanging from them plus the small pearls that are attaching the Turquoise flowers to the rest of the chains and turn them into a tassel/spray and attach that to the bottom of the turquoise cluster of flowers.

Then, I would arrange the pearl strands as old-new-old-new-old, and attach the 5 strands to the vertical top and bottom of the turquoise cluster (not the bottom of the pearl tassel, let that hang “above” the 5 strand). Wear with the turquoise cluster off centre, like where you’d wear a brooch. I can picture this so clearly in my mind, if you like this idea I am happy to draw it out for you!
 

eac

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 12, 2006
Messages
151
Hello Eac

My advice would be to retain as much of the authenticity as possible, it would be a real shame that after surviving this long to transform it into something else and in the process lose its unique history/authenticity.

BTW, its a beautiful necklace, a treasure from your mother.
Thank you! My partner thoroughly agrees with you - he always likes an antique piece to be as close to the original as possible. I can restore it as is, but there'll always be the additional pearls, so...
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
5,679
My goodness its exquisite :appl:
I like the idea of a restoration rather than a do over
but if you are going to be the wearer do it so you will want to wear it
 

eac

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 12, 2006
Messages
151
When you say the necklace is worth 600-900, is that because of the material cost, or the age?
Age, probably - this is based on a very similar necklace that sold in a British auction. It's hard to say with the price of gold escalating right now.

Your rework is definitely dramatic! I don't think I have enough pearls for it right now, thank you. But I'm glad you found the piece insipiring!
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
4,448
I’m with the others.
Restring as per original to close up where the missing drop is. To add length to both ends, extend with the new pearls or possibly even look for small turquoise beads. You could do the new extension with a centre strand of turquoise beads.
 

GemOfTheRoe

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
6
If this were mine :) and the necklace was too short to wear,

I would add gold jump rings at the end of the pearls and gold chain
to lengthen the necklace.

The box clasp could then be refitted onto the chain, and if ever the chain has to be removed it can go back to the original style.

In doing this, the integrity of the piece is maintained, and you have a functional and very wearable necklace to enjoy.
 

pammbw

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 28, 2017
Messages
47
I would restring as original because the pearls could be natural and therefore possibly more valuable. I would use the new pearls to create an extender to make the necklace longer and more versatile.
 

eac

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 12, 2006
Messages
151
Great ideas, thank you! The pearls are definitely natural.

For reference here are two other necklaces similar to this one. The first one uses the same spacers!
seed pearl necklace.jpg
seed pearl necklace 2.jpg
 

eac

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 12, 2006
Messages
151
Update on this: the restringer is going to do the main part of the necklace 'original' and use some of the new pearls to extend it at the very end, alternating with a few of the seed pearls. The extension will be two rows instead of three to account for the slight size difference between old and new pearls. Thank you again for your help!
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
5,679
Update on this: the restringer is going to do the main part of the necklace 'original' and use some of the new pearls to extend it at the very end, alternating with a few of the seed pearls. The extension will be two rows instead of three to account for the slight size difference between old and new pearls. Thank you again for your help!
really looking forward to seeing it wearable :appl:
 

GemOfTheRoe

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
6
That’s terrific that you will finally be able to wear your gorgeous
necklace.

Would love to see the necklace after it has been completed.
 
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