Adding a beautiful strand of Spey pearls to your wardrobe can be a thrill: feeling the weight of pearls in your hand; draping the strand at the hollow of your neck; and eyeing the playful dance of light across the lustrous surface. Pearls are a most tactile and sensational gem. But sometimes, when you first bring pearls home from the store, the strand may appear a bit kinked. Just like you and me, pearls need to relax.
If you look closely at a strand of pearls, there is a small knot that separates each pearl from its neighbor. Pearl strands are knotted primarily for two reasons. First, knots act as a barrier between the pearls and keep adjoining pearls from rubbing up against or scratching each other. Too much abrasion to a pearl’s surface can damage the nacre and detract from the value of the strand. Knots also ensure that if your strand breaks, only one pearl gets loose. Imagine scrambling around for dozens of pearls after an unknotted strand breaks.
Silk, or a filament of silk and nylon, is most often the string that binds your pearls together. Silk is a very strong material, but at the same time soft against the pearls. Wire or more abrasive threads would damage the pearl nacre, especially at the drilled openings. Silk also has a bit of give to it: it stretches and hangs fluidly. This creates a most sinuous drape, with each pearl daintily following the next.
Because silk has a tendency to relax and stretch, pearls are knotted very tightly and allowed no wiggle room. This may sometimes cause newly strung necklaces to have a kinked or wrinkled look. Your strand may appear too tight at first, because the knots are fresh and the silk is new, but with a bit of wear your strand will relax perfectly.
Take a new pearl strand out for a test drive. Wear the pearls against your skin around the house. Not only will you look stunning as you prepare dinner, pick up the kids, or walk the dog, you’ll also be ensuring that your pearls are perfectly relaxed and ready for the next gala or premiere. As the strand hangs and moves with your body, the knots and silk stretch just enough to give a soft, smooth drape. Avoid pulling, hanging, soaking or weighting your pearls. These will just reduce the integrity and strength of the strand. Simply wear your pearls and any kinks or wrinkles will melt away.