I keep reading this thread, and I just see you digging yourself in
deeper and deeper. At the risk of playing armchair psychologist, it
seems that you’re dealing with a woman who believes what she wants to
believe. I’ll bet that when you show her the process you went through
to “restore” her “pearls”, there is a very good chance that she is
going to resent you for popping her bubble of fantasy, and I can’t
state this strongly enough: you will be blamed. It seems clear that
you don’t want to tell her the truth at this point, because she
doesn’t want to hear the truth. Believe me, she won’t want to hear
it later either. She will resent you for turning her real pearls into
You said in an earlier post, that no matter what, she will believe
that they are real pearls, and will wear them.
Now, if you’re are certain that that is the case, and since you have
already missed the chance to turn down the job in the first place, it
seems to me that you have two choices:
You could show her the glass beads now, and tell her exactly what
has happened, and show her your documented evidence. If you go
further, with the painting project, it looks as if you’re somehow
covering up your own mistake, which you are not.
Option two is simply giving her what she wants. You could buy a
bunch of cheap “pearls”, same size, same amount, string them with
your new hand made clasp, which will give her great bragging rights
about her talented daughter-in-law. Now if you want to include some
of Grandma’s pearls in the new necklace, just for the sake of
posterity (and ease your conscience a bit), you could possibly paint
some of the original beads silver or some color, and insert them
either next to the clasp, or incorporate them into the clasp. Your
MIL will be pleased, but never be the wiser. You and your husband
will have a nice family secret, and a bowl full of Grandma’s glass
beads, which you will always share a giggle about.
Full disclosure is absolutely the most important ethical quality a
jeweler can and must have. But when we are dealing with relatives,
and especially M’sIL-in-denial, you just have to do what you have to
do. There are times when sparing someone’s feelings is the most
important thing. The rules don’t always apply to all situations.
Consider the cost tuition.
I wish you the best, and do keep us informed.