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What Are Baroque Pearls?

By Kristeen Moore
Updated Feb 15, 2024
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Baroque pearls are irregularly-shaped pearls that sometimes occur naturally. They are popular due to their uniqueness, as each one is different than the next. Most baroque pearls are derived from freshwater pearls, as opposed to the saltwater versions. These types of gems are also the least expensive, making them the most accessible for all pearl lovers. Pearls are a great accessory for virtually any outfit.

Natural pearls begin their lives as pieces of debris that unintentionally enter a mollusk’s shell. In an effort to defend itself, the mollusk secretes several coats of nacre. Also called mother-of-pearl, nacre thickens up over time to form a pearl. Traditional pearls are often known for their round shapes, but unusual baroque shapes are very common. Baroque versions get their shapes naturally when the original debris becomes lodged in the mollusk’s muscle tissue.

Some baroque pearls get their shapes unnaturally through a culturing process. Once the pearl starts to form inside of a mollusk, an object is inserted to interfere with the gem’s shape. Both saltwater and freshwater pearls can be baroque, but most of the culturing takes place in freshwater gems. The resulting gem can either be in the shape of an oval or a pearl, as well as a completely unsymmetrical pearl.

The more round a pearl is, the more expensive it will be. Perfect pearls are considered a delicacy, so consumers expect to pay more for them, particularly for larger ones. Baroque pearls are not as expensive because of the high occurrence of irregularities. These gems are in high demand, which is part of the reason why they are often cultured. Tahitian baroque pearls are among the most expensive in this category.

Baroque pearls might be one of the least expensive types of gems on the market, but they hold historical significance. The pearls received high recognition by Renaissance jewelers, who often used them in to create artistic designs. Not only was baroque jewelry popular among the wealthy, but members of royalty from different countries also sometimes used the pearls to adorn their crowns. Baroque pearls are also prized for their organic status because they are derived from living creatures.

Pearls are still a favorite among gem lovers due to their delicateness. Jewelry made from pearls can come in the form of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, as well as headpieces and pins. Baroque pearls are subtle enough for any formal wear, but they can also dress up a more casual outfit without making one seem overly done.

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