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What makes a good baroque pearl?

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  • What makes a good baroque pearl?

    Just curious. I'm a fan of baroque Tahitians myself because of all the colors and I've seen a few interesting south sea baroques as well. I'd be curious to know though with dealers and most buyers what is sought after as far as baroques go.

  • #2
    Hi Casey!

    My personal favorites are Baroque South Sea pearls in Deep Golden hues from the P. Maxima oyster, and Baroque Freshwater pearls from the H. Cumingii mussel. I like a saturated 18K Gold tone showing orient in a smooth drop-shape the best; finding a gem-quality strand of these pearls will cost a pretty penny, but ultimately are very worth it! The colors are unique unto themselves. I try to stay away from strands that are heavily circled for my own, personal collection, but I do stock baroque strands in a variety of qualities to suit everyone's budgets and tastes.

    I think that the most important factor to consider when purchasing a fine strand of baroques (all attributes being equal) would be the luster of the pearls, and whether or not the pearls display the irridescent color play that's such a pleasure to look at! That's also why I so highly recommend CFWP to anyone who asks: the solid nacre composition translates into a pearl that will display orient and a depth that you don't need to be a pearl expert to by entranced by and enjoy. Their affordability doesn't hurt either

    Next up on the priority list is color saturation. In South Sea pearls, I prefer a nice buttery, golden yellow with hints of orange to try to mimic 18K and 22K Yellow Gold. In baroque strands, I sometimes see pearls that also appear to have a natural 'fade' from the deeper gold into a nice cream which can also be really interesting to look at. In CFWP, I like the Ivory-Rose colorations, I feel that it gives the pearls more depth.

    Pearls should be luminous, glowing from within. A good word to describe them would be 'Orb'- I think it conveys the almost mystical qualities that attracts and holds the eye.

    Lastly, I evaluate the overall surface quality of the strand. I am more than willing to accept folds in the nacre and some pinprick inclusions if my above two qualifications have been satisfied. With Baroque pearls, inclusions are a part of the pearls' character; as long as the inclusions are not overwhelming or threaten the integrity of the pearl's surface, I don't consider them to be a deal breaker. Although an extremely clean strand of South Sea Baroque pearls will take your breath away, the individuality that comes from natural inclusions can easily make a strand "all mine", and distinguishable from all the rest!


    • #3
      Great answer Thanks Ashley!


      • #4
        Mine isn't an expert answer, and comes from a buyer's perspective...

        I think few would dispute that shape is a factor: 'baroque' is better in billowy, convex volumes and closer to a 'deformation' of a classic shape (off round, drop, oval) rather than thin. It takes a few words to describe, but I'm sure the picture is clear (a plump pearl).

        Some may not agree that size really matters. Personally, I don't agree subscribe to this view, but it does seem to be out there - the usual compromise is shape versus size: i.e. if one goes for baroque shape is in order to get really large pearls. And this makes small baroque ones vanish from sight on some seller's lists altogether.

        Of course, the color, surface, orient etc. go on top of these shape and size preferences. Somewhere, somehow, a strand of baroque pearls might well be getting all things right. Lucky who has it! O have not even seen such a thing: the most impressive nacre quality I have seen was on freshwater pearls of wacky shapes, the large plump examples didn't quite cut it for nacre, and the larger the size, the worse everything gets.

        I wonder if the shapes considered great for cultured baroque pearls (esp. the nucleated) are not in fact the shapes of fine natural pearls - considering that perfect geometry only became a practical choice for relatively thin-nacred nucleated pearls. Compared to those, everything but a few exceptions among naturals would NOT be 'baroque'!

        My 2c.

        I find it quite confusing when 'baroque' and 'keshi' are used to describe SHAPE rather than the nature of the pearl. There might be strong association - with keshi resulting from the cultivation of nucleated pearls sharing typically thin shapes, and cultured baroques highly recognizable and distinct from that... With non-nucleated cultured baroque pearls increasingly prominent, this usage seems more and more frequent, as much (=little) as I can tell. There has been some discussion about this on this forum already.