A Brief History of Pearls: Quality Factor Three : Shape

  A brief history of pearls


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.

How pearls form in oysters
How pearls are harvested
How pearls brought to market
Know your Akoya pearls
Akoya Pearl Cultivation
Akoya Pearl Harvesting
Akoya Pearl Processing
Akoya Pearl Evaluation
Quality Factor One: Luster
Luster of Akoya Pearls
Quality Factor Two: Surface
Surface of Akoya Pearls
Quality Factor Three: Shape
Shape of Akoya Pearls
Quality Factor Four: Color
Color of Akoya Pearls
Quality Factor Five: Size
Size of Akoya Pearls
Know your South Sea pearls
South Sea Pearl Cultivation
South Sea Pearl Harvesting
South Sea Pearl Processing
South Sea Pearl Quality Evaluation
Luster of South Sea Pearls
Surface of South Sea Pearls
Shape of South Sea Pearls
Color of South Sea Pearls
Size of South Sea Pearls
Know your Tahitian pearls
Tahitian Pearl Cultivation
Tahitian Pearl Harvesting
Tahitian Pearl Processing
Tahitian Pearl Quality Evaluation
Luster of Tahitian Pearls
Surface of Tahitian Pearls
Shape of Tahitian Pearls
Color of Tahitian Pearls
Size of Tahitian Pearls
Gift Giving Occasions

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