The Origins of Add A Pearl Tradition

Cultured Pearl Jewelry, The History of Pearls
add-a-pearl

Have you heard about the Add A Pearl tradition? When I first started selling pearls in 2006, I had many customers who had Add A Pearl necklaces that were never finished. At the time I was not familiar with Add A Pearl, all I knew is that these women had unfinished pearl necklaces and they wanted a complete strand of pearls. I have since discovered that Add A Pearl is an actual company that focuses on selling pearls one at a time so that mammas and grandmammas can slowly build a pearl necklace for their daughters or granddaughters. It remains a strong tradition and, you know me, I do love tradition!

add-a-pearl

So, how did Add A Pearl get started? The parent company, Juergens and Andersen was opened in 1854 in Chicago. They launched the 1915 Add A Pearl Necklace as an economical way for  woman to assemble a natural pearl necklace over time. Remember, these were the very beginning days of cultured pearls, before they had a strong showing in the market so natural pearls were still the mainstay . And natural pearls were both exclusive and expensive. It is my opinion that Add A Pearl satisfied two needs. The first is to offer women an affordable way to build a pearl necklace. Also, I imagine that they were attempting to manage a smaller availability of natural pearls. Although, if anyone was to have natural pearls at the time, they were most likely your go-to company. Juergens and Andersen were once the largest importer of natural pearls in the U.S.

Nowadays Add A Pearl necklaces can be purchased in either natural pearls or cultured pearls, the former being much more expensive. Alot of other companies have followed suit too offering pearl necklaces with an option of adding additional pearls. We love carrying the Single Pearl Necklace which women can add to if they choose although the glorious simplicity of a single pearl is always a great look too. And although I love the thought of building a pearl necklace one pearl at a time, I realize that this is no longer the economical way to build an entire pearl necklace.

Single Pearl Necklace on Model Single Pearl Necklace

4 thoughts on “The Origins of Add A Pearl Tradition

  1. Should the pearls be strung on string each addition?i understand that the hole of the pearl tarnishes if on silver or gold chain. Thank you

    1. Hi Alice! We have heard other customers concerns about tarnishing pearl holes but we have never experienced that ourselves. There would never be any permanent tarnishing of pearls since any discoloration could be easily cleaned. However, yes, you can add each additional pearl to a silk thread that is then knotted to the gold or silver chain and then you would not have to worry about the metal rubbing the pearl. This would also keep the hole size of the pearl smaller, too!

  2. I have a natural add a pearl necklace from my birth and i am 62. I need to have it restrung and knotted i would presume! Any idea on the value or the price to restring. Probably 150 pearls on the necklace and they are seed pearls. Thank you, kathy mosher

    1. Hi Kathy!
      Oh your necklace sounds so lovely! With seed pearls you do have the option of simply restringing them, instead of reknotting them. Restringing is $1.50 an inch plus $6 for the silk. If you want to make them more secure by reknotting them, the investment is $0.75 per knot so the estimate would be 150 x $0.75 plus $6 for the silk so around $118.50. We charge $10 return shipping and handling. You can mail them directly to us or order a jewelry return kit! Let us know what you prefer.
      Thanks so much for reaching out!
      India Rows

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