The Add-A-Pearl tradition in my family started about 50 years ago, thanks to my mom, Janet. I can't recall what exactly made her start but it must have been for my ninth or 10th birthday that she brought me home my pearls. We didn't have much and I remember thinking that they were the most beautiful thing I'd ever owned. Funny, but a half century later, I still feel that way.
My mother started the add-a-pearl natural necklace for Amanda when she was baptized in August, 1997. She bought pearls for birthdays and Christmas until she passed in February, 2002.
Seeing as pearl is the birthstone of June, the timing is right to highlight a precious gem whose lore, beauty, and mystique has been prized as far back as 2206 BC. During Ancient Roman times, Julius Caesar was fascinated with natural pearls. Being that they were associated with the goddess of love, Venue, Caesar would gift pearls to his favorite mistresses. At the height of the Roman Empire, when the pearl obsession reached its peak, the noted Roman historian writer Suetonius expressed that the Roman general Vitellius financed an entire military campaign by selling just one of his mother’s pearl earrings.
Add-A-Pearl is a way to create a complete strand of pearls over a period of time. The original gift is usually a single pearl necklace presented to a baby or young girl with one or more pearls on a 14-kt gold chain. Through the years, pearls can be added whenever friends and family wish to make an addition until the necklace becomes either a full strand of pearls or until the preferred number of pearls or look is achieved, perhaps at 16 or 22 pearls symbolizing a sweet 16 or college graduation. Most often, pearls are given for birthdays and at holiday time. Valentine’s Day, Easter, confirmation, graduation and other special milestones offer ideal opportunities to add pearls.
My daughter was very ill with anemia in 2006 at 10 years old and no one seemed to know what was going on. In January of 2007, right after she had turned 11 she was so weak at school that the nurse called for me to pick her up. I called her doctor and he sent us to Brenner’a Childen’s Hospital near our home. After several days of testing, about a week in hospital and a couple pints of blood the doctors told us that she had a form of cancer called GIST or gastrointestinal stromal tumors, very rare in children. On February 15, 2007 she had 1/2 of her stomach and her duodenum removed. We knew we wanted to celebrate this day much like we would a birthday so I tried a few small gifts but wanted something she could have forever. To celebrate her being cancer free we decided to add a pearl to her necklace each year on Feb. 15. This year marked 12 years cancer free!
I order a new pearl for my daughter's necklace each year as a cancer free anniversary gift. Hopefully this will go on for a very very long time.
written by Angela Hines, Statesville, NC
Although they may look a lot alike and both are white metals, white gold and silver are two different types of metals. Each metal has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Halloween is lurking around the corner, and odds are you will take the kids trick or treating or will be heading to a costume party — or both!
For many of us, Halloween is like Christmas. We cannot wait to go all out, both in our attire and in home decorations. The anticipation is agonizing. For many others, Halloween is a dreaded time, when we are forced to participate and spend money. The planning is agonizing
Whatever category you fall into, we can agree Halloween prep gets expensive fast, especially the costume part. For something you will wear once for entertainment, spending more than $100 is not ideal.
There’s an easy solution: Don’t let money be the dictator on how elaborate and well executed your costume is.
Wearing a costume that is original and/or authentic can be done on a budget and here is how:
Do you have a story to share about your Add-A-Pearl necklace? Has your necklace been passed down through several generations or has it been lost and found again after many years. Was it given to you for a unique occasion? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Send us your story along with a picture of you or your sweet girl wearing your Add-A-Pearl necklace to email@example.com for a chance to be featured on our website. We’ll be selecting one story a month to win a special silver-plated heart shaped keepsake box with your choice of a personal message custom engraved on the lid! We look forward to hearing from you!
Pearls have been a much-loved symbol of beauty for centuries.
Although there is no universally accepted standardized grading scale, pearls are evaluated based on 7 value factors. The seven factors are size, shape, color, luster, surface quality, nacre quality, and matching. Each factor is important by itself, but it’s their relationship to each other that determines a pearl’s value. Of the seven value factors, luster is considered the most significant because it is what gives a pearl its unique beauty.
(image c/o shutterstock)
Once upon a time, Pierre Cartier had a pearl necklace. It took him years to assemble all the big beautiful Oriental Natural pearls. This was long before the time of cultured pearls. Daisy Plant wanted the necklace. Although, her husband was very rich, she couldn’t afford to spend $1.5 million, which is what Mr. Cartier wanted.
There are two main categories of cultured pearls: saltwater cultured pearls and freshwater cultured pearls. When shopping for pearls, it is important to understand the differences since saltwater and freshwater pearls vary greatly in price and luster.
(Natural Pearl Starter Necklace, photography by Zamier)
Pearls have been prized since ancient times for their natural beauty and their ability to embody timeless style without further enhancement. Symbols of love and glamour, they have been adored and admired by Emperors, Kings and Queens throughout history and across cultures.
(Jim and Barbara Berger anniversary dinner)
"In April we celebrated our 25th Anniversary as you know. And as is tradition for us I gave Barbara her necklace during our dinner out on our Anniversary.
(Kay and her granddaughter Caroline)
“I was in second grade when I overheard a conversation between two girls in my class. They were talking about their Add A Pearl necklaces that their grandmothers had gotten them. Even at that young age I thought it was such a beautiful idea but didn't think my parents or grandparents could afford it. I never mentioned it to anyone.
(Coco Chanel and her ropes of pearls, google images)
Known as the Queen of Gems, pearls have been coveted for centuries. Elegant, timeless, and mysterious, pearls come in a range of sizes, shapes and colors. Besides being the birthstone for June, the pearl is also frequently gifted on the 1st, 3rd, 12th, and 30th wedding anniversaries. Our overview will help you understand the basics to choose pearls just right for you.
(Morgan Kath wearing her Add-A-Pearl necklace)
I’ve had my Add-A-Pearl necklace for as long as I can remember. I received it from my godparents for my baptism with three pearls and the necklace grew as I did. Every year for my birthday and Christmas,
(photo of Skylar (top photo), 10 months old and Bettie, 4 months c/o Karen O'Hara)
I started my Grand Daughters Add a Pearl Necklace Christmas, 2016.
We had our first grandchild 7 years ago, a Boy. When we found out our daughter and husband were expecting their second child June, 2016 we were so excited. Months later they were told they were having another boy. After planning, shopping and a baby shower for the arrival of a baby boy, June 17th 2016 labor began and our daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby GIRL
(Patty's granddaughter, June. Photo c/o Patty Martin)
My dad started this necklace form when I was a teenager and unfortunately he passed before ever being able to finish it for me. I never did finish it. My daughter was born and I just couldn’t do it for her. Then my children shared that I was going to have my first grandchild and it was going to be a girl and her name would be June, not born in June but I thought that being my first granddaughter that I would like to give her a pearl for every special moment in her life adding the final pearl on the day she gets married. It will be the largest and center pearl to have an entire strand to wear on her wedding day! I will set aside an account for this to be finished just in case! This is important to me. My dad always gave that one special gift and I want this to be my one extra gift for my granddaughter.
Written by: Patty Martin
(Harper Lynn, photo c/o Suzanne Sutphin)
When I was 16 years old, I started working on Saturdays at a high-end jewelry store in my hometown. They had the most beautiful baby items—baby rings, rattles, lockets. The piece that always caught my eye was the add-a-pearl necklace. I loved the idea of being able to watch the necklace grow over time as the baby grows.
(sleeping baby image c/o shutterstock)
The elegance and perfection of pearls make them an ideal gift for many occasions. Grown and cherished for centuries, pearls celebrate life’s beginnings, life’s milestones, love that endures through the years, and personal successes and achievements with quiet beauty and classic elegance.
Mother’s Day is just weeks away. That means it’s time to make plans for the ways in which you’ll honor your mother and the other special women in your life–grandmothers, godmothers, aunties...whoever does the nurturing and loving in your family. To help you make sure Mother’s Day is a success, the Add-A-Pearl team has compiled some of our favorite ideas for making sure she knows just how special she is.
Quick guide? Well, while there are a lot of options out there, the perfect gift for this Mother’s Day is clear. It offers tradition, elegance, symbolism, versatility, and uniqueness.
My grandfather started necklaces for my sister and I, but didn’t finish it so I gave all my pearls to my daughter to start a necklace for her. We buy her pearls for birthdays and at Christmas. Other family members also buy pearls for her during the holidays.
My husband came up with the idea, and he thought I would really like it. He actually purchased the initial necklace and pearls. The necklace is for our daughter that I was pregnant with at the time. Arianna was born on January 15, 2015.
My daughter Ella will be 3 years old on June 24. We got her a starter necklace with first Pearl for her first birthday. We really wanted to start a tradition that was unique (not your typical charm bracelet, coins, etc) and special.
"My family has had a long tradition with Add-A-Pearl. When I was very young, it became clear to me that my grandmother (Lillian Brodsky Rubin)would purchase Add-A-Pearls as a gift for each birthday. This began the year of my birth in 1947.
“We have been getting both of our boys pearls for special occasions (and our 2 girls) to give to their brides when they get married. I'm hoping it will be a special gift she can treasure and know we have been praying for her for a long time and we are excited she is joining our family.”
“Seven years ago, after my wife died, I thought it would be a nice thing to give my brand new granddaughter two pearls each birthday with the idea she’d have a proper necklace when she turned 16 or 17. Little did I know my kids would bless me with FIVE granddaughters.
“I placed my order last night so I would get the necklace in plenty of time for my granddaughter’s 1st birthday. My son and his wife lost their first child (our first grandchild) at less than 5 months old (he never got out of the hospital) so this little girl is a blessing in so many ways.”
“We had tried for years to have a baby with no luck. Fertility treatments, multiple doctors, miscarriages, etc...nothing worked! We were giving my body a break and a friend of mine knew a girl who wanted to give her baby up for adoption.
“We are celebrating Michael's graduation from high school here in this picture. Pictured left to right is my niece, Jennifer. Her mama, daddy, and I started her Add-A-Pearl necklace when she was twelve. She is now 45!
Add-A-Pearl is a thoughtful gift idea that can be started by anyone looking for a new tradition in their family. Here’s what Ashly Jackson Eakes had to say about how it began for her.
“My daughter is six. She received her first necklace with one pearl for Christmas from her grandfather. We had never seen or heard of Add-a-Pearl before then. He purchased from a small town family owned jewelry store here where we live. She loved it. She then received 2 more pearl from us (parents) for her Kindergarten graduation gift. Her birthday is not here yet, but she will receive one or two for her birthday and Christmas. We are trying to catch her pearls up to her age so that one day when she decides to get married her necklace of pearls will be complete. We love the fact that grandparents/parents can add to her special necklace for special memories one day as well.”
My wife and I married while still in college. The original necklace had only 5 pearls. That was July 1978. Through finishing college, Time spent living in Omaha, Riyadh Saudi Arabia and now back in Council Bluffs IA I have always tried to add a pearl or two to her necklace for every anniversary. While it is never really a surprise it’s almost a record of our life together. Small pearls during our leaner years and larger pearls when things were going well. My wife is now looking at eventually giving it to our granddaughter at some appropriate time in her life. As a side note my son gave his wife an Add-A- Pearl for their wedding and has been adding to it through you folks for a few years now.
Written by Brad Kaufman, guest blogger
An Add-A-Pearl necklace is a cherished tradition and a lovely accessory for many styles. But, like most things, pearl necklaces need a little love to keep the high-quality pearls looking good throughout the years. Pearls are a soft gem, and though quite durable, do need special attention to maintain their luster and condition over time. Here are our top three tips for keeping your pearls perfect and pristine:
by Brad Kaufman, guest AAP blogger
When buying a diamond, the conscientious consumer learns the 4Cs—cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. Created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS), the 4Cs give consumers and jewelers confidence in the quality of the diamond they purchase.
History is replete with pearls being associated with great wealth and power. Where you found one you found the other.
Can you guess one of the biggest myths we hear again and again here at Add-A-Pearl? Here’s a hint, it’s about who should give and get an Add-A-Pearl necklace and when it should happen. But, honestly, we promise there’s no right answer.
(Mia and Avery Ginsburg)
"I remember so well as a little girl getting Add-A-Pearls from my grandmother. I looked forward every year on my birthday to have another one added. It was so much fun to watch the strand grow.
When my daughter was pregnant, she found out about Add-A-Pearl and asked us to do that so we would add pearls on every special occasion. We started Add-A-Pearls for my granddaughter Gemma and one for her cousin Katie 2 years ago at Christmas.
“Katie Beth’s grandmother, CiCi, purchased an Add-A-Pearl necklace for her last year on her 1st birthday. She wanted to get her something every year that was a little more sentimental than ‘just a toy.” Every lady needs a strand of pearls and how neat is it to know that she is building hers every year. An heirloom at such a young age is so precious. We just love the necklace and the meaningfulness behind it.”
“I decided to start an Add-A-Pearl necklace for my granddaughter last spring on my son and her mother’s wedding day and I purchased a freshwater pearl necklace for my younger granddaughter as their wedding gifts on this very special day. Imagine how touched I was as we watched our son and his new bride walk down the aisle with my beautiful granddaughters as attendants wearing their new necklaces with their sweet bridesmaids’ dresses.
“Next Tuesday, February 14, 2017, my husband and I will be married 47 years. We were married on Valentine's Day in 1970. I have a heart shaped diamond as my wedding ring. I will turn 72 on Wednesday, Feb 15th.
“After having 3 sons, my husband and I were blessed with twin daughters Chloe and Sophia. We wanted something special to give them and add a pearl was perfect! We started their necklaces on their christening day and they get 1 for Valentine's Day and Easter every year."
When I was asked to be the godfather of my sister-in-law’s youngest child I was thrilled and excited. It was an honor I did not take lightly.
photo of Greer courtesy of Courtney Bond
"My 3yo daughter's bone marrow transplant anniversary is just a few days away. We wanted an annual and tangible tradition to celebrate this life saving day. We decided on the Add-A-Pearl tradition necklace. They are also based in Chicago which is where she had all of her treatments and transplant for leukemia. When you start a new necklace you name it. We named it "Greer's Remission Celebration".
(Baby playing on a laptop while holding a cellphone, shutterstock image)
If you’re considering starting an Add-A-Pearl necklace, you might be baffled by lifestyles, behaviors, and values of younger generations. Plenty of research is available on the characteristics of millennials (defined as "twenty-somethings')) and post-millenials (dubbed Generation Z), so by now, we’re aware of their likes and dislikes. Often described as self-expressive, upbeat, passionate, tech-savvy and civic-oriented, they often have a strong sense of community and a focus on societal needs.
Abbey Luby and her husband (photo c/o Abbey Luby)
I received my Add-A-Pearl necklace from my parents as a first birthday gift. My necklace is now 34 years old and I am always sure to wear it for special occasions. I wore it when I got married in 2008. I have since had a daughter of my own and she now has a necklace her grandparents and great grandmother have added to. I am excited for us both to wear our Add-A-Pearl necklaces together in the future!
Written by: Abigail Luby
I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to have kids. I ached to be a mother and dreamed of having a daughter. My hope ebbed and flowed over the years; wavering some days then firey and solid the next, fading to only a shadow on others.
Pearls are known to impress and have done so time after time, including on your favorite Hollywood starlets in major motion pictures.
No matter the way pearls are worn in movies, whether in a formal setting or with casual wear, they can steal the scene.
Do you remember these iconic moments?
Julia Stiles in The Prince and Me (2004)
(Candy's granddaughter, Rowan. Photo c/o Candy Enzor)
I recently lost my adult daughter and my adult son within a year of each other. Both were unmarried and had no children, thus severely curtailing the possibility of grandchildren,
(Lola and her Grammy and Poppy on her 5th birthday. Photo c/o Ashely Williams)
I started necklaces for my 2 girls for their 1st birthdays. I have two girls, a 5 and 2 year old and we have been giving them pearls for special occasions like the first day of kindergarten! I purchased a pearl for Lola (5 year old) for becoming a Big Sister. I take a picture of us giving them their pearls and keep the card in an album that will be displayed on their wedding day…
(Melanie Baker Jolly and her grandmother both wearing their pearls in 1995, photo c/o Melanie Baker Jolly)
"My grandmother loved pearls (I think because her name, Marjorie, means "pearl."). She started an Add-A-Pearl necklace for me when I was a toddler. Before she died, she gave me a full strand of pearls, but I have continued to add pearls here and there to the Add-a-Pearl necklace she started. Currently, there are 17 pearls on it. When my daughter turns 18, I plan to add one more and then give it to her."
Written by: Melanie Baker Jolly, Southaven, MS.
(Freshwater pearl bracelets, photography by Harrison Jones, Chicago, Il.)
As one of nature’s most prized and sought-after gems, pearls can materialize in a wide variety of colors. And with cultured pearls, colors can span every hue!
(adorable twins photo c/o shutterstock images)
“I first saw an Add-A-Pearl necklace in a jewelry store in rural Mississippi. I live in Mississippi but not in that town. Both my granddaughters are a little over 1. One will turn 2 in March and the other will turn 2 in August. I'm already 61 so I got to thinking that I may not be around for their weddings. Then, I remembered the necklace I had seen at the store. I began a search in store after store hoping to find one for their 1st Christmas. After much looking, I decided to search online. I started their necklaces for their first Christmas and added one for their first birthday. My plan is to continue this until their necklaces are complete!!! So, now it's time to order them one for this Christmas!!! Praying I'm around for their weddings but if not, they will have something to remember me by and something beautiful to wear on their wedding day too!!!”
written by: Suzanne Sutphin, Blythewood, SC
Vicki's granddaughter Chloe has been receiving pearls since 2002 and was able to have them all strung into a complete necklace for Christmas in 2012. (photo c/o Vicki Wadsworth)
Each of my granddaughters gets 100 pearls. With each pearl they get 6 Bible verses that coordinate with the beginning of the letters ... PEARLS.
One of the questions we get asked most frequently is how pearls are added to a necklace. Add-A-Pearls, like the finest strands of pearls in the world, are always strung on silk thread. Unlike costume jewelry or imitation add a bead type products, Add-A-Pearls do not slide over the clasp of the chain. Sure, it’s tempting to be drawn to the ease of adding pearls to your necklace at home by sliding them over the chain, but buyer beware, the easy way is not necessarily the best way especially when dealing with a sizable investment such as a pearl necklace. To preserve their value and beauty, pearls should always be strung on silk thread. Here’s why:
Pearls can be part of your wedding day in a number of ways, from extravagant and complex to subtle and original.
Wedding season is upon us, but it’s far from over, and brides-to-be are still looking for more ways to incorporate class and originality into their wedding day.
There is an old tradition that says wearing pearls on your wedding day ensures happiness and no tears throughout your marriage. With that in mind, it is common for mothers to pass down pearls to the bride to wear as she walks down the aisle.
Pearls not only represent traditions, history and fashion, but they also are known for adding a special kind of elegance to any outfit.
While pearls are commonly worn as necklaces, earrings, rings, headbands and bracelets, they can also be used in numerous ways to decorate for the wedding ceremony or reception.
With the summer wedding season coming to a close, we have researched some of the looks, venues, and details that you will be seeing throughout the 2019 wedding season.
Cultured pearl come in a variety of colors and shapes from round to baroque. image c/o shutterstock
Pearls aren’t just for necklaces anymore.
A tradition the world over, pearls are often passed down through families, expanding their reach. But their uses have expanded, too. Growing popularity in fashion and decorations make pearls versatile and elegant items.
They can be seen worn with casual or formal wear or as part of wedding, home or party décor.
While pearls can been seen just about everywhere, different pearls can be used for different occasions.
Understanding the different types of pearls is the first step to finding the perfect pearl for any event or space.
A wild, natural pearl is extremely rare, so if you get your hands on one, hold on to it!
Natural pearls are made almost completely of calcium carbonate and conchiolin, with no human assistance.
These pearls come in a variety of shapes, and perfectly round ones are the rarest.
You are probably familiar with cultured pearls, which are created on a farm and made in either freshwater or saltwater. Not all mollusks create pearls, and when they are created, they may not be of high quality.
Cultured pearls are typically a uniform shape and size, but can be dyed any color.
Cultured pearls are sold at a variety of prices based on quality and rarity of the type. There are 4 distinct types of cultured pearls. They are Akoya (saltwater), freshwater, South Sea and Tahitian. Here’s a closer look at each.
Commonly seen with white color and rose overtones, the finest Akoya pearls come from Japanese pearls farms.
The roundest and most lustrous of these saltwater pearls are considerably more perfectly round and smoother than other types of cultured pearls.
South Sea Pearls
Found in Australia, Philippines and Indonesia, the South Sea pearls are among the rarest and most valuable of pearls. South Sea pearls are hard to miss and they stand out from other pearls usually due to their ability to grow larger than other types of cultured pearls.
South Sea pearls are large in size and range in color from optic white to a deep, honey gold. These pearls have a soft, luxurious reflection.
Be prepared to pay a pretty penny for these rare, but high-quality pearls.
These pearls are known for their natural exotic black color — but don’t be fooled, they can come in any color including light creamy white, greens and deep black. The color comes from the oyster’s black lips.
Tahitian pearls are farmed in French Polynesia, not Tahiti like the name suggests.
This varietal of pearl grows in mussels that live in rivers and lakes and are most commonly found in China. Mussels can create more than one pearl at a time.
Pearls found in freshwater will look less lustrous and glossy than saltwater pearls.
Freshwater pearls come in a variety of shapes and colors and are usually cheaper than saltwater pearls therefore they are commonly used for multi-strand necklaces and bracelets.
Now take this knowledge — and your pearls — and go impress some people at your next party.
Alyssa Groh, 22CM Boost
single cultured pearl with high luster / shutterstock image
Pearls are categorized and sorted based on 7 value factors: size, shape, color, nacre, luster, orient and surface quality. Nacre and luster are the most important indicators of quality; however, most people do not understand what nacre is. Nacre is the hard, iridescent coating that oysters (and some mollusks) use to line the inside of their shells. Nacre is also what pearls are made of.
Having trouble thinking of a perfect baby gift for your friends/family? Here’s just a few ideas to inspire you!
Karla and her husband Jason with Madison, age 10, and twins Callie and Cooper, age 1. (photo c/o karla Marion)
This is a tradition that my 10 year old daughter, Madison, wanted to start with her new baby sister, Callie. She gifted her the first pearl on Callie’s 1st birthday. I look forward to the day that she hands the necklace over. What a special moment between sisters. Thank you for making that moment possible! We look forward to ordering for many years to come.
COMPLETED PEARL NECKLACE, PHOTO C/O DAWN FLOWERS GRATZKE
My mother told me about the add-a-pearl necklace and when my niece was born. I bought the gold chain with the single pearl. I added pearls every year for her birthday in January. Usually i added anywhere from 3-6 pearls trying to gauge what might be needed to finish the necklace at 16".
With a little care, pearls can last a lifetime – or two or three. In many families, it’s traditional to pass cultured pearls from one generation to the next. Cultured pearls are not the most durable of gems, but if they are properly cared for, they can retain their original beauty for generations.
Dressing it up or dressing it down, adding pearls to your attire is as timeless as it is attractive
It is no secret that women put a lot of time and effort into deciding what to wear on a daily basis. We care, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Whether you are heading to an important business meeting, a wedding, run errands or a backyard barbecue, your look matters. And adding a pearl can help.
Before deciding on the type of pearl you want to wear, it is important to already have your outfit picked out.
Finding the perfect photographer for your baby is like finding a needle in a haystack. The right place, right price, and right person poses quite the challenge. We’ve covered below some of the most important topics and questions you need to be asking before you hire.
Pearls’ beauty is in the eye of the beholder — and these 5 characteristics
Pearls here, pearls there, pearls everywhere. Cultured pearls, natural pearls; freshwater pearls, saltwater pearls.
When does it end? (hopefully never!)
Pearls are popular. But all the quantity can make it difficult to determine the quality.
Depending on how you are planning to use your pearls, you are going to want the highest quality for your dollar.
We’re here to help you figure out what you’re looking for:
Kim with her husband Caleb and their Goddaughter Brianna (photo cred Kim Weaner)
This necklace was actually given to me by a family friend as a baby in 1979 with 3 pearls but my parents didn't add to it. My mom gave it to me a few years ago and when my sister asked my husband and me to be godparents I knew I wanted to give it to her. Our Aunt gave her granddaughter an add-a-pearl necklace at Christmas and at the time, I didn't realize what it was or that what I had was an add-a-pearl necklace. After doing some research and talking to my mom, I figured it out and was so happy to pass this on. We added 4 pearls for her Baptism and will continue to add on each year.
Written by: Kimberly Weaner, Spring City, PA.