Can Pearls be Added to a Necklace

pearls being strung and knotted with silk thread

There might come a time when you want to add pearls to an existing necklace either to create a longer necklace or you recently discovered pearls stored away in your jewelry box. Before you decide to add pearls, you’ll want to be sure the new found pearls are compatible with your existing pearl necklace. This means the new and existing pearls match each other in size, shape, type and color. First look at the pearls, by casual observation, do they look the same to you. If so, the next step is to enlist the judgement of jeweler to evaluate subtle differences between your pearls.

An experienced jeweler will determine if the new pearls will blend into your existing necklace by examining your pearls for 5 factors, pearl type, color, shape, size, and drill holes.

Pearl Type

First off, you’ll want to be sure the types of pearls are the same species. If your existing necklace is comprised of natural pearls yet the additional pearls are cultured pearls, you might not want to combine the two types of pearls. Mixing the two types of pearls alters the look and value of your necklace for better or for worse. Either way, you’ll want to be aware before you make a final decision.


On top of being the same type of pearls, you’ll want your pearls all the same color. Pearls are available in a multitude of colors from pink, green, purple, or blue. Often they are dyed, other times the color is natural. Traditionally, white is the most popular color for a classic strand of pearls. On top of the obvious base colors, pearls have exhibit a secondary color called overtones which appears on the surface of pearls when light catches them. This special iridescence displays multiple subtle overtones of color. White pearls frequently have overtones in varying intensity of cream, rose and silver or grey. Older pearls often exhibit golden or yellowish overtones. Before you add pearls to an existing necklace you’ll want to confirm the colors are the same.


Most people think of pearls as being round, however, just like pearls come in an array of colors, they also come in myriad shapes. Typically, perfectly round pearls are the most popular shape. There is, however, a category called near-round which closely resembles perfectly round, especially when strung together as part of a necklace. Commonly, freshwater pearls fit into this category. The distinction between round and near-round can often be difficult to ascertain meaning it’s a job best left to a knowledgeable pearl expert. More obvious shapes are button shaped, oval and baroque. Any of those non-symmetrical shapes although beautiful on their own, would be incompatible with a classic strand of round pearls. Irregular shaped pearls are best suited for specialty designs or unique custom pieces of jewelry.


If all your pearls are the same size, a skilled pearl stringer will use a millimeter gauge to carefully measure and properly position the pearls for perfect gradation.

Drill holes

Pearls found at the Pearl factory in Disney or Hawaii usually are undrilled, meaning there is no drill hole for the pearls to be strung. Your precious souvenir will need to be drilled if you want it strung on a necklace. If not, it can be affixed onto a post for a ring for pendant.

Reasons to Add Pearls to a Necklace

Style Changes

With a popular trend towards layering, you might want to update the look or lengthen your pearl necklace so you can wear multiple necklace at one time. With a longer pearl necklace, you can layer multiple shorter gold necklaces to wear at the same time. Or, you might prefer your pearl necklace lengthened for more personal comfort and easy movement around your neck. Similarly, a longer necklace might be easier to put on and take off.

Family Heirloom

As part of an estate or death of a loved one, you might have inherited a pearl necklace in addition to the one you already own. Now you have two! It’s entirely possible, if the pearls match each other, to combine necklaces to create a double or triple strand necklace, adding beautiful pearl dividers and a diamond clasp to create an original and sentimental piece of jewelry. On occasion, several family members might want to evenly distribute a few pearls from a precious family heirloom or a divided estate by gifting a handful of pearls to several different people. If you’ve been the lucky recipient of a portion of grandma’s pearls, it’s possible they can be incorporated into your existing necklace. Look for reputable jeweler or pearl professional should to confirm compatibility with your existing necklace.

Broken Jewelry

You might have discovered loose pearls tucked away in the back of your jewelry box that were once attached to a ring, pendant or earring. It’s possible the pearls can be incorporated into your existing pearl necklace.

Finders Keepers

Have you been to Disney Springs, or Hawaii’s Pearl-in-the –oyster excitement builds as you pick an oyster, tap 3 times and feel the thrill of seeing your gorgeous new pearl revealed. There you have the opportunity to have one of their experts craft your new pearl jewelry into a perfect vacation souvenir. If you decide to bring your pearl home in hopes of adding it to an existing necklace, you might be disappointed only to find out can’t be done. All pearls require two drill holes to be strung on a necklace. Pearls from the popular oyster dive are typically undrilled.

One Pearl at a Time

You’ve been lucky enough to be the recipient of an Add-A-Pearl necklace. Now, you have accumulated pearls for many years since you were a baby and would like them added to your starter necklace.

How Are Pearls Attached to a Necklace

How do you add the new pearls? Can the pearls be added at home? When it comes to your personal valuables such as fine jewelry, Do-it-yourself is strongly discouraged. Pearl stringing is a special skill that takes many years of experience to perfect. Most often, pearls are strung on silk thread with very small individual knots between each pearl to prevent loss in case the necklace breaks. If your pearls slide across a chain, it’s possible you can add the pearls to the chain yourself if the clasp is removable by a twist-off mechanism. Take a look at the clasp to see if it can be removed. If not, a reputable jeweler will need to remove the clasp for you.

The Add-A-Pearl Company uses a proprietary stringing technique that has been used for all Add-A-Pearl necklaces since 1915. Our pearl experts will examine the pearls to ensure the pearls match each other. From there, with the proper tools and a team of experienced stringers, your pearl necklace can be transformed into the necklace of your dreams.


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