– a modern twist on an old classic
Do you view pearl jewelry as classic, or even dated? When my mimi (my mom’s mom) passed away, I inherited, along with a few other small items, a pearl necklace that she had worn. It is simple, just a single strand of uniform pearls, about 20 inches long.
While I appreciate the sentimentality of owning her pearl necklace, I have never worn it in the past 18 years, and I seriously doubt I ever will. Why? Because it’s not “me”. It is beautiful, sophisticated and elegant, with a real gold clasp, but it’s just not my style.
After receiving these pearls and realizing I would never wear them, I began to think I just didn’t like pearls. But then I discovered baroque pearls and fell in love. Baroque pearls are not uniform, they are extremely irregular in fact, even imperfect. Sometimes they remind me of opened popcorn kernels, each one completely unique and different. They vary in size and color as well. Baroque pearls are real pearls that do occur naturally and are also cultured.
Are cultured pearls real pearls?
Cultured pearls are genuine pearls, still produced by a mollusk or oyster, but with the assistance of humans. All pearls, natural and cultured, are formed by oysters or mollusks when an irritating substance such as sand gets inside the shell. The difference is that natural pearls occur by accident, whereas with cultured pearls, a pearl farmer purposefully puts the irritant inside the shell.
You may hear people refer to cultured pearls as “fake”, but this is not true, cultured pearls are real pearls. We could compare it to farmed honey, versus honey found in the wild.
What are the advantages of cultured pearls over natural pearls?
- COST: Naturally occurring pearls are very rare and costly. The majority of available pearls today are cultured, and cultured pearls are still quite valuable, while generally being more affordable than natural pearls.
- SUSTAINABILITY: There are not many naturally occurring pearls left in the seas anymore, as most have been harvested. Harvesting natural pearls generally means the mollusk or oyster doesn’t survive. Aside from the irritant being placed inside the shell, everything else about the growth process of a cultured pearl is natural. The pearls can then be harvested without harming the creature, and it can then go on to produce more pearls in the future.
What’s so special about baroque pearls?
Now that we’ve established that cultured pearls are in fact real pearls that are truly valuable, you may be wondering, what makes baroque pearls so special?
Baroque pearls are usually misshapen, irregular, often with dents or discolorations. You may think this means they are flawed, but actually these imperfections are what make baroque pearls special. Each pearl is unique and individual, seen by some as a symbol of overcoming adversity and growing and changing into something beautiful.
Very much like sea glass, baroque pearls teach us that we can be beautiful, not in spite of our physical imperfections or differences, but because of them. There is beauty in what makes us unique. The same applies to our inner person, when we allow life’s challenges to soften and shape us, we can become more beautiful and stronger than ever. The term “perfectly imperfect” certainly applies to baroque pearls.
What makes a pearl “baroque”?
If a pearl isn’t a perfect sphere, it is considered baroque. Often, these are freshwater pearls, but really baroque pearls can come from freshwater or saltwater, they occur naturally and are also cultured.
What factors contribute to the value of baroque pearls?
Baroque pearls come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, colors, and lusters. Some colors such as gray and pink are rarer and have more value. You should also consider the metal used to set the pearls in a piece of jewelry. High karat gold will obviously have more value than silver or gold-plated metals. Generally, the larger the pearl, the more valuable it will be as well.
What is the best way to wear baroque pearls?
Once I discovered baroque pearls, I realized I actually really do like pearls, but I needed to figure out how to style pearl jewelry. The great thing about baroque, imperfect pearls is that they have that classic pearl look, yet they are funky and fun as well, making them the perfect day-to-evening jewelry.
I wear my favorite “not your grandmother’s pearl earrings” with my linen pants and a t-shirt during the day, then wear them with a dress to go out to dinner that same night. In fact, when I go on vacation, these are usually the only earrings I take with me because they are so versatile.
Can you wear your baroque pearls with jeans? Absolutely! Little black dress? You bet! With a chunky sweater and hat? Yes, please! You will get tons of compliments on them, no matter what you wear them with. Baroque pearls are the perfect way to show people that you see the beauty in imperfections, in not looking just like everyone else, in fact you celebrate those differences!