Measuring Pearl Strand and Bracelet Lengths

A question we get quite often is, “How do I measure the length of my pearl bracelet/strand?”

The easiest answer is by measuring the total length of the strand from end to end, including the full length of the clasp on one side to the jump ring connecting to the “tongue,” or part that is inserted into the clasp when fastened.

Click the image below to zoom in on an example.

Measuring pearl strands and bracelets

The bracelet measures exactly 7.5 inches while the necklace/strand measures exactly 16 inches.

But why is length rarely perfectly exact the way it always is with chains or other jewelry?

A strand will rarely measure the exact indicated length. This is because no two pearls are alike; they are organic gems that are categorized according to a size spectrum. Therefore, a person might measure their strand and notice that the expected 18 inches in length may actually be more like 18.1 inches. This is especially true with strands that consist of larger pearls. The finished necklace may measure 18.05 inches because if one pearl were to be removed, the strand would then only measure 17.9 inches. An experienced and professional stringer will know this and he/she will aim for the absolute closest to 18 inches possible.

Knotting in between each pearl will add length to a strand, therefore what was a 16-inch loose hank (unknotted temporary strand) before stringing will probably turn into an 18-inch finished necklace once we knot in between each pearl and add the length of the clasp.

If you purchased a necklace or bracelet some time back, you might notice that it seems a bit longer now than when you first purchased it. This is because most necklaces are strung on silk thread, which loosens over time, and which may lead to the pearls having slightly more space between one another than when the necklace was freshly strung. In a similar fashion, restringing a necklace with thinner thread or thicker thread might make the length of the necklace slightly shorter or longer, respectively.

A tip for bracelets: If you usually wear 7.5-inch bracelets (the standard length), and wish to purchase a bracelet composed of large or very large pearls, you will most likely need the bracelet to be slightly longer than usual in order to compensate for the space that the diameter of the pearls take up.

A trip to Paradise (and Hong Kong)

My apologies for being a bit late on the Hong Kong pearl report. Shortly after Hisano and I arrived back in Los Angeles I had to leave again to attend my son’s graduation from Delta Flight Attendant Training. We once again have a flight crew member in the family!

Hong Kong was fantastic as it always is, but the best part of the trip was our visit to Paradise – Jewelmer’s pearl farm in Tay Tay, the Philippines. It was my second trip to the farm and while it wasn’t a leisure trip, it certainly felt like it.

We brought a GoPro camera and shot quite a lot of video, including from a helicopter over the farm and underwater where Hisano and I swam a full line as the panel nets were being flipped. Video always takes a lot of time to piece together, so in the meantime here is some eye candy to enjoy!

It requires breathtaking beauty to grow perfect golden pearls

It requires breathtaking beauty to grow perfect golden pearls

Click the image to zoom in and see the actual pearl lines.

Click the image to zoom in and see actual pearl lines.

This is why pearl farmers MUST be environmentalists. This is the purity required to grow pearls.

This is why pearl farmers MUST be environmentalists. This is the purity required to grow pearls.

We took a "Pearl Line Selfie" at 20 meters :)

We took a “Pearl Line Selfie” at 20 meters :)

Each panel filled with pearl oysters is flipped

Each panel filled with pearl oysters is flipped

Somewhat eerie yet so beautiful.

Somewhat eerie yet so beautiful.

DCIM118GOPRO

Yes, those are fish - thousands of them.

Yes, those are fish – thousands of them.

It was difficult to leave, and the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong immediately following serene paradise was bit of a adjustment, but there were pearls to be found and only three days to find them. We missed the first two days of the show while in the Philippines.

Apart from the regular shopping list items we did stumble accross some special things! We picked up some insanely colored Edisons including a dark purple strand and matched up a bunch of giant ripple pearls to create a colorful monster.

We also discovered a small Japanese company that had not come to the show before and one we’d never seen in Kobe. They’re niche is very specialized – baroques. In the past I had only been interested in the natural-color silver blue baroques but only because the whites that I’d seen were borderline rejects. The white strands they had were different – lustrous with great colors and visibly thick nacre. They were also big – 9.5-10.0 mm. They didn’t have many of the large strands available but we ended up taking all of them inlcuding their natural-color silver-blues.

To understand the size of these pearls, that center ripple is 18 mm.

To understand the size of these pearls, that center ripple is 18 mm.

Heading to the Philippines and Hong Kong

It’s just about time for the March HKTDC International Jewelry show in Hong Kong and Hisano and I have decided to visit a golden South Sea pearl farm in the Philippines prior to attending the show. Pictures and more exciting things will follow. I promise ;-)

Like always, if there is something special you would like either of us to look out for, please let us know!

Gorgeous Golden South Sea Pearls

Golden South Sea pearls grown in the Philippines

Pearl Friends Interviews: Hisano and Barbara discuss little h

I’ve been so fortunate to spend the past half decade with a truly talented artist and pearl designer who never ceases to amaze me with her creative works both with pearls and without.

Hisano was recently honored by the Cultured Pearl Association of America winning The CPAA International Pearl Design Competition’s Orient Award for compelling design esthetic and inspiring a new affinity for pearls for her Pearl Geode designs.

Hisano’s little h line will be debuting at the Design Center in Las Vegas during the annual JCK Jewelry Show. I’m so proud of her.

Our good friend, client and long-time Pearl-Guide member spent a couple of days with us this past week and decided to interview Hisano in a live webinar. In case you missed it, the recorded version is below!

My love affair with Tahitian Pearls continues

2014 could definitely be described as the year of Tahitians for us. We were fortunate to find a few amazing lots of dark peacock drops and colorful rounds, some of the most amazing Tahitians I’ve ever come across in sizable, workable and graded lots.

We also had a lot of fun with Tahitians, working with a new type of baroque Tahitian pearl and getting creating with harvest strands. I don’t know how many of those harvest strands I made in September and October but it was a lot.

As some of my friends and clients know, this year I am keeping my eyes out for lighter, yet still colorful lots. While dark peacock Tahitians are the most valuable of all, I’ve gotten a lot of requests for lighter drop strands and pastels so we are on it!

The first drop lot in was smaller than I had hoped, so most of the strands are multis, but I think we’re on the right color-track :)

Drop multicolor Tahitian strands1

multicolor Tahitian pearls

When I picked up this lot there was also another lot available in a shape of pearl that I haven’t done whole lot with in the past but decided I shouldn’t let this lot pass up. The pearls are slight ovals to semi-baroque, all A and A/B grade (which translates to AA+/AAA and AAA for us) in great colors.

The resulting strands appear round, but that slightly off-round shape cuts the cost dramatically and adds the extra curvature that results in those extra colorful overtones.

Oval Tahitian pearl strands

I love Tahitian pearls!