I started in my last email illuminating on the first of the Pearl Qualities, Size. This time we will talk about Shape. Usually, the more round and symmetrical the shape, the more value the pearl will have. Round, Off Round or Potato Pearls, Drop, Baroque, and Circle Pearls are the run down in order of value for shapes of Pearls. There are some pearls with very distinctive shapes that are desirable.
Round pearls are actually very rare. The different shapes of pearls is caused by a number of factors in the growth of the pearl. Akoya and South Sea pearls are cultured by the insertion of a round nucleus into the gonad muscle of the oyster. Hence these pearls are already beginning with a round base. The shape also can be determined by where in the oyster the nucleus is placed. If it is too near the shell, it will develop with a flat side and that is a button pearl. Pressure on the shell can also cause the development of rings in the growth of a pearl and those are ringed or circle pearls. All irregular pearls are actually Baroque pearls, which means irregular. But within that definition, there are the classic Baroques with the fireball tail and also drop pearls. The most famous drop pearl is La Peregrina, a gorgeous natural drop pearl that has an elaborate history. Please check my previous blog about La Peregrina. Baroque pearls are not usually the most valuable, but because of their undulating surface, their luster can be a major positive asset.