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A Brief History of Pearls: Quality Factor Three : Shape


  A brief history of pearls

QUALITY FACTOR THREE: SHAPE


As with other gems, the classification of pearls is a long, arduous process. However, with pearls, it can be even more difficult; that's because unlike gemstones, pearls are not cut before they are processed for jewelry and other adornments.

One of the most important quality factors of any pearl is its shape. In order to make well-matched strands, earrings or other jewelry, pearls must have the same general shape. However, even when pearls are similarly shaped, they must still be broken down into further categories.

Shape Categories for Pearls

Pearl experts use a pearl's shape as one way to measure its value. Pearls can fall into one of eight general categories, which include:


  • Round
  • Drop
  • Button
  • Oval
  • Semi-round
  • Circle or ringed
  • Baroque
  • Semi-baroque

In most cases, round pearls are more valuable than pearls of other shapes. Pearls that are perfectly round are extremely rare (and therefore extremely valuable). However, baroque pearls - although they can be less costly - can be just as lustrous and appealing as round pearls.

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Quality Factor Three: Shape
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Quality Factor Four: Color
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