This is a talent that you probably didn’t know existed:
It’s not only a hobby for some, but a career.
This is because stringing pearls is usually not done at the jewelry store.
These types of repairs are sent out to a pearl stringer.
Say a customer brings in their pearl necklace that’s broken, or a bracelet where the cord is yellow, dirty, stretching (ready to break), leaving gaps between the pearls, like the top strand, versus the new bottom strand below:
These pearls need to be restrung. Jewelers will contact a local pearl stringer to fix the bracelets or necklaces (other repairs, like gluing pearls, fixing rings, making earrings, can mostly be done by their own goldsmith).
The stringers will take apart the entire strand (keeping track of where the beads go in a bead board). Then they will clean all the pearls (and any charms or spacers used), and begin the tedious process of restringing them onto a new pearl string (tons of different cord exists), knotting them individually if needed, then reattaching the clasp and jump rings. Once completed, this gets sent back to the jewelry store with an invoice (stringers are considered an independent contractor or freelancer).
Most of the time jewelers will double the cost for the customer (if it cost them $1 an inch, they’ll charge $2). Plus, there is usually a minimum charge as well, many times around $35. This is to cover overhead and labor.
Many times pearl stringers will also supply the findings to fix things as well, like clasps, 0-rings, spacers, extra pearls (in case the strand isn’t long enough, or some were lost or broken), things like that (these can also be ordered by the jeweler).
It’s a tricky business:
Stringers will need to learn from experience how to string a strand. They can’t make the pearls too tight, nor too loose. The strand will generally stretch a little from wear and tear. So there’s a definite learning curve to applying the proper tension.
This is not only something you can learn, but something you can teach yourself.
They sell many books on pearl stringing:
As well as stringing kits and supplies here:
You’ll learn all the different designs, styles, and techniques used for most of the strands (and double strands) in showcases today.
It’s therapeutic, relaxing, and it can make you a few extra bucks in your spare time (while you’re watching tv).
Pick up a pearl stringing book and kit, and practice. A lot. Contact your local jewelry stores (or swing in with a price sheet and examples), to see if they are in need, or looking for a new pearl stringer.
Plus, you can always start your own bead business and open up a store on ETSY.
Etsy sells tons of strung necklaces and bracelets, lava rock, chakra beads, freshwater pearls, discs, and so forth.
The options are endless.
It could start you down a whole new career.
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