Honoring My Own Standards

by Suzan Evans.
(Lakefield, Ontario, Canada)

Suzan Evans of Zhea’s Creations

I recently did a jewellery show in a seniors’ residence. An elderly resident asked me if I could restring her pearl necklace.

I told her I would take a look at it and tell her if I would be able to repair it. Her husband had given it to her fifty years ago so it held a great deal of sentimental value.

I looked at it. It was a very old three strand necklace.

I pointed out to her that it was not knotted, and the clasp would need to be changed.

I told her I could fix it – but that it would be done as it was, not knotted. I felt confident that I could repair it for her so I brought it home.

For the past two days I have agonized over this necklace.

I managed to salvage the clasp, but never having worked with pearls on silk thread, I could not get it to look right, no matter how hard I tried.

She told me when I took it, “I trust you”.

What I learned from working on it was how to do it, but I was not able to get it to look right, no matter how much I tried.

I picked up the phone and called Helen (the owner of the necklace) and told her that no matter how hard I tried, I could not get her necklace to look right.

I was very open with her and she said, “at least you are honest.”

I simply could not give her what did not meet with my standards – and my standards are quite high.

I cannot tell you how relieved I felt and how proud I was of myself to honor this part of me.

Suzan Evans
Zhea’s Creations


Good for you, Suzan!
by: Rena

I was stressing out right along with you while reading your story here.

It’s so hard to not be able to provide customers with what they ask for (especially when they are sweet elderly people who honor you with their trust!).

It must have been so hard to pick up the phone and tell her you wouldn’t be able to do what she asked.

But how lucky Helen is that you do have such high standards and honesty!

I too am proud of you for honoring your standards without wavering. Your integrity shines through in everything you do in your business, and customers can always sense it.

Thank you so much for sharing your story here, Suzan, and how you resolved it.

pearl necklaces
by: AnneKD

My husband’s grandmother asked me to restring her pearls, and I’d never worked with pearls before. The pearls were knotted in place, and I knew it was too important to her to use this piece as a learning experience. So, I suggested to my mother-in-law that she get it done by a professional. When she took it to a jeweler, he said he couldn’t do it but he sent it to the local major city to have it done. It’s much better to be honest about abilities or the lack thereof!

Well done!
by: Patricia

Honesty is an important of the foundation for any successful venture, in my opinion. While it is sad that the woman’s necklace could not be fixed the experience is uplifting and you got to both learn something and make a strong connection with someone.

by: Sue Runyon/Sue Runyon Designs

Suzan, you really did the right thing and handled it very well.

I string pearls professionally for my business and even though the knot used to string pearls is a simple overhand knot it takes many, many hours of practice to get it right. It also takes a great deal of trial and error to get the right size of silk thread for those particular pearls, to attach them to the clasp in a secure and lasting way and to weave the thread back through the pearls properly. Adding knots to a previously un-knotted triple strand necklace would also probably involve removing some pearls to get them to drape properly and would change the length of each strand. There are so many variables involved that it is no wonder it was frustrating. I’m sure she appreciated that you tried!

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  1. I appreciated the difficulty you faced in the attempt to string the pearl necklace. I also would not have been able to do this. Fortunately, I live near Chinatown and go there for all my pearl needs. They have made necklaces for me, and re-strung necklaces with the knots, for a reasonable price. Would you be able to find someone who could repair that woman’s pearl necklace for a reasonable price? It would be so good to see her being able to wear that again.

  2. You did the right thing. You gave it your best attempt and knowing in your heart it wasn’t up to your standards, you returned the necklace. Sometimes people who do not make jewelry assume you can repair or make anything jewelry related. I was recently sent (through my unknowing husband) a completely broken rosary which supposedly only needed a new clasp. The whole piece is strung (I don’t string) and needs to be made all over again. I could make it from scratch by linking the beads with wire but don’t know if I want to go through all that work. I should probably return the whole thing as it was going to be a free favor. I know there is a lot of sentimental value to this piece. What to do!

  3. Donna Lucas says:

    Learning to knot pearls with silk is not difficult. I learned in a class in buttons beads and beyond on Cory avenue St. Pete. I recall you need six times the length silk. This teacher taught a method she used in New York City. After the beginning knot the pearls to be strung were all loaded on the string of six ply smoothed silk. One at a time the knot was looped all the beads through tying on the first pearl. A pair if thin tweezers were available to pull the knot close to that first pearl. Then one at a time repeat. It is easy with a demonstration. I did the long irregular water pearls first! And if I can do those you can do regular. There are most likely instructions better some where and you can practice with anything. Even beads hang more naturally knotted.

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