Rocking with Baroque Pearls

How baroque pearls have changed the way we think about pearls

by Reema Farooqui

Baroque pearls are the rebels of the pearl world. They defy the idea of the perfect pearl – a flawlessly spherical, uniformly symmetrical orb. Instead they charm us with their imperfect, spherically challenged, asymmetrical shapes, and we fall under their spell.

Baroque is a Shape

When we talk of baroque pearls, we are in fact talking about a pearl shape rather than a type of pearl. The baroque shape is organic and irregular. And while all pearls are unique, baroque pearls are especially so. No two baroque pearls look exactly like each other, making them truly one of a kind.

Some baroque pearls have smooth but free form shapes. Others feature distinct pearl growth featured like knobby bumps and tips. Still others have grooves or circles on their surfaces. These extra features add to the charisma of these perfectly imperfect pearls.

However, the one thing that these pearls do have in common is their superb luster and stunning overtones. This is because the uneven shapes and bumpy surfaces of these pearls create many more angles at which light hits their surface. The result is luster and iridescence that is nothing short of radiant. It’s no wonder then that baroque pearls occupy a special place in the jewelry world.

All the different types of pearl, including Freshwater, Akoya, Tahitian and South Sea, have this shape. Baroque Freshwater pearls with their gorgeous, multicolor overtones and flashing luster are a popular gem choice for pearl lovers. Similarly, baroque South Sea and Tahitian pearls with their deep, satiny luster and multi-tonal overtones are another fast favorite of both jewelry designers and wearers.

However, these days, its baroque Akoya pearl that are carving a special niche for themselves in the jewelry world. Cultured Akoya pearls have always been prized for their symmetry and round shapes. But recently, silvery-blue baroque Akoya pearls have started gaining a loyal following of jewelry lovers, given their sharp luster and superb overtones.

Are Baroque Pearls Valuable?

Compared to their perfectly round siblings, baroques are more affordable. This is because they are not very rare. In a typical cultured pearl harvest of saltwater pearls, almost 40% – 50% of the pearls will have a baroque shape. Compared to this, perfectly round pearls account for only 5% – 10% of a similar pearl harvest. Given this difference in availability, baroques are more budget friendly.

Even so, it is the unusual shapes and sharp luster of these pearls that makes them both interesting and captivating. And they are fast becoming an indisputable staple of every jewelry collection.

Baroque Pearl Jewelry

The truth is that baroque pearl jewelry is not something new. Before pearls were cultured, all pearl jewelry was set with natural pearls and by and large these pearls had baroque shapes.

The irregular shapes of baroque natural pearls inspired exceptionally creative jewelry design. Their fascinating, organic shapes allowed jewelry designers to think outside the box and let their imagination soar. The results, very often, were figural jewelry pieces of staggering beauty.  

It was only when pearl culturing and farming started, and with it Kokichi Mikimoto’s quest for a round and symmetrical pearl, that baroques were discarded as inferior and aesthetically unattractive.

But that’s no longer the case. In fact, these last three decades have once again seen a renewal of interest in baroque pearls.

Baroque Pearls in Contemporary Jewelry

Today, jewelry designers are again tapping into the unique beauty of these pearls and setting them in contemporary jewelry pieces that are not only striking, but truly one of a kind.

Given their shimmering luster, multi-hued overtones and distinctive shapes, these pearls are ideal as focal points of jewelry pieces. While it is difficult to find exactly matching baroque pearls, a “matched” pair in earrings is as impactful as it is attractive.

Worn as rings, the uneven shapes of these pearls easily translate into statement jewels. Set on their own or in a surround of diamonds and colored gemstones, baroque pearls in rings stand out for their unusual shapes and alluring luster.

Baroque pearl pendants are chic and effortlessly embody minimalist luxury. However, a full necklace of these pearls is something extraordinary – a mélange of irregular shaped, high luster pearls, awash with an abundance of colorful overtones. It’s not surprising then, that baroque pearl necklaces have lately become an iconic jeweled accessory.

Some jewelry designers have taken to embellishing these pearls with diamonds, colored gemstones or precious metal motifs. This added dimension subtly changes to the overall look of baroque pearls, making them even more compelling.

The tradition of using these pearls in sculptural jewelry pieces continues to thrive even today. As in the past, very often the jewels that fully embrace the irregularity of these pearls become incredible works of jeweled art.  

Pearl Love

Baroque pearls continue to inspire jewelry designers with their unusual shapes, superb luster and attractive overtones. Worn singly, paired or in strands, these pearls are the quintessential statement gem.

Featured Image: One of a kind Statement Pearl Necklace, Stella Flame Jewelry

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