Monthly Archives: December 2013

Which silk to use to string Japanese Cultured pearls?

I need some advice regarding pearl stringing please. I have been asked to string some Japanese Cultured pearls purchased by a friend several years ago.

I need guidance regarding silk size and possible colour. the pearls are not white but a creamy beige. Should I be looking for a close colour match or just use white silk?


Which silk colour?

White stringing silk is not brilliant white. It  is made especially for pearls so it is a gentle white with a touch of cream, so it will be fine with akoya pearls. realistically brilliant white silk would soon get slightly discoloured anyway.

What size?

As for what size…that depends on what method of stringing you are planning to use, and how large the holes are in the pearls. There are about as many different methods of stringing pearls as I’ve had the proverbial hot dinners. (this is how we do it here at Pearlescence  )

Many Japanese akoya pearls – especially early strands (sometimes called 3.5 momme strands because that is what they weighed in the old pearl weight system) – only had the first and last few pearls knotted anyway.

If the pearls at each end have the same size hole as all the others then, unless you are planning to enlarge those holes to 1mm you’ll need size 3 which will allow you to double back and hide your ends. If you can enlarge the holes or they are already 1mm you can go up to size 4 (which is the size we always use)

Size 3 silk

Size 3 silk

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Do you have some French wire or gimp to cover the silk as it attaches to the clasp? The tiny metal coils protect the silk from wearing and give a professional finish?

french wire

french wire

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Before you take the necklace apart it is a good idea to clean the pearls and check the clasp, btw. And do make sure you keep the original order – very easy to mix up the pearls so it all goes horribly wrong

Ripple Pearls Get Their Own Section in the Website

It isn’t really very earth shattering news, but we’ve made it easier for pearl lovers to find the gorgeous ripple pearls on the Pearlescence Website (here) .

Nerida Harris of Australian pearl trade supplier Pearl Perfection and I spotted the first of the ripple pearls to appear on a vendor’s stand at the Hong Kong Gem show in September 2010. There was one hank, buried under many other white pearls and the rage of the time, souffle pearls (whatever happened to them?) Just the one hank of eight strands of these huge, rippled surfaced pearls of obviously natural colours which looked as if they had had gold leaf appiled to parts of their surface.

ripple pearls

Classic ripple pearls – pink, lavender, blues, and the gorgeous gold leaf overlay effect

Nerida took four and I took four.I can remember we looked at eachother and said ‘oooh’ They sold within a few days of going on our websites.

We got more next time we were each in Hong Kong. I found some huge white ones which I only realised when I got home and looked again at them looked remarkably like white south sea pearls

white ripple pearls

White ripple pearls. Some have the same satin lustre as south sea pearls for a fraction of the price.

Rpple pearls have proved so popular now that I decided that they need to be easier to find on the website and merit their own section – so it is here

The pearls are bead nucleated and are usually between 10mm and 16mm in size.

There are lots of places on the ripple bandwagon now – and when I was in Hong Kong last September they were certainly more plentiful. But there were an awful lot of really second rate pearls around, with poor colour and massive blemishing. Just not good enough for Pearlescence. The sort of pearls which end up on eBay or with sellers who don’t go to Hong Kong or mainland China to select each and every strand themself.