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Seven Distinctive Pearl Shapes

There are seven general shapes of pearls, all have a distinct look but still beautiful in jewelry.

Round Pearls – Perfectly round pearls are the rarest and most valuable type of pearl. They are the most sought after but because of their high cost few rarely purchase them.  and the rarest of cultured pearls. Because they are rare and the "classic pearl" appeal, they are typically the most highly valued of the pearl shapes. Only 5-10% of a pearl farm's harvest will actually result in a pearl that can be qualified as round.

Near-Round Pearls – Near-round or semi-round pearls have the appearance of being perfectly round, even more so when worn on in a necklace. If the pearls are not perfectly round but close to round they are considered “near-round”. The majority of freshwater pearls on the market will fall into this category. These pearls are used in necklaces or in pieces where the shape of the pearl can be disguised to look like it is a perfectly round pearl. They are beautiful in appearance and a perfect alternative to a round pearl jewelry piece.

Button Pearls – Button pearls are symmetrical in shape and have a round appearance from the front, but appear to be flatter with a side view. The shape is noticeable when strung as a necklace or bracelet, but the button shape can appear as round when used as stud earrings, cuff links or pendants where the back half of the pearl is covered, making it look like a larger, rounder pearl. Button pearls are less expensive than round pearls.

Oval Pearls – Oval pearls are elongated and symmetrical and not perfectly round. They have the appearance of an elongated round pearl and are considerably less expensive than round pearls. Oval pearls have their widest diameter found at the center of the pearl.

Drop Pearls – Drop pearls are symmetrical in shape and have a tear-drop appearance. Drop and pear-shaped pearls are sometimes referred to as tear-drop pearls. They are most often used in earrings, pendants, or as a center pearl in a necklace. They are similar to ovals but have one end noticeably thinner than the other. Some tear-drop pearls even come to a distinct point at one end. A perfect tear-drop pear-shaped pearl can be very valuable, especially in larger sizes, and may even cost more than round pearls.

Baroque Pearls – Baroque pearls are non-symmetrical and have no specific shape except that they are irregular. Shapes can vary from off-round to pebble-shaped to irregular drop shapes. Baroque pearls have a unique appeal for their irregular, unique and interesting shapes. The demand for baroque pearls has steadily increased as more and more consumers and designers are drawn to the wide range of unique shapes.

Circle Pearls – Circle pearls are distinguished by visible concentric circles or rings around the body of the pearl looking like a small ridge. They come in a variety shapes including button, baroque, drop, and near-round. Each Circle Pearl has its own signature and are most often found in South Sea and Tahitian Pearls. Like Baroque Pearls, Circle Pearls are gaining popularity because of their unique appearance lending to one of a kind pieces of jewelry. They are also very affordable.

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For more interesting information and details about Pearls visit Wikipedia