pearl jewellery. Following is a breakdown of the common shapes you'll find in our fine pearl jewelry and in other stores. We know that the larger the size, the higher the price. But price jumps between pearl sizes are often uneven. As the size reach the 8 - 9mm or above, pearl prices tend to increase much higher. When judging pearls for shapes, take into account the type of pearl you are looking at. For example, expensive natural pearls are typically baroque, whereas cheap cultured pearls with thin nacre (pearl coating) are generally round. That's because natural pearls don't contain a round nucleus bead, and cultured pearl beads that are hardly coated with nacre don't have much of a chance to grow irregular. Following are the some shapes of Pearl :
- Round Pearls - Round Pearls are rarely perfect spheres unless they are of gem quality or imitation. The longer the pearl remains within the oyster or mussel the more chance there is of it developing an irregular shape. The term off-round is used to describe pearls which are 'roundish' to the eye but have a slightly oval or flattened shape. They can still have excellent qualities in terms of lustre or lack of blemish.
- Baroque Pearls - Most natural wild pearls were off-round or baroque (a general term for irregular shape). The most valuable baroque pearls are South Sea and Tahitian. Due to the length of time under cultivation a high percentage of the pearl harvest is baroque.
- Bead nucleated pearls - Bead nucleated pearls (pearls seeded with a round shell bead) may develop a tail on one side.
- Keishi Pearls - Keishi Pearls are accidents which happen when the mollusc rejects the nucleus and grows a 'free form' pearl.
- Biwa - Biwa became a generic name for all freshwater pearls regardless of their shape. Technically it is incorrect to call pearls Biwa unless they actually come from Lake Biwa.
- Oval Pearls - Are sometimes known as rice pearls. It comes from the very early days of Chinese freshwater pearl production when large numbers of low quality pearls entered the market and were derided as 'rice-crispies' after the cereal. Oval pearls can form when two pearls in the same mollusc join together.