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Cultured Pearl Shapes

A perfectly round pearl is the most sought after and the most rare of cultured pearls. So rare are round pearls that only 5-10% of a pearl farm's harvest will be even and round. The rest of the harvest will vary from semi-round pearls to asymmetrical baroque pearls. Below is a brief description and picture of the most common shapes.

Note: The pictures below are of Tahitian pearls but these shapes can be found in all pearl types.

round pearls Round pearls are perfectly spherical -- the shape most people think of when they think of a pearl. This is the most desirable shape for a cultured pearl and the most expensive. All high grade Akoya pearls should fall into this grouping.
 Near Round:
near round pearls Near round pearls are not perfectly round but very close to round. To the untrained eye they have the appearance of perfectly round pearls but are considerably cheaper. Most Freshwater pearls on the market will fall into this category.
button pearls Button pearls are symmetrical pearls that appear to be flattened or squashed to some degree. This shape of pearl is not that common except for Freshwater pearls where a round nucleus is not used.
drop pearls Drop pearls are symmetrical in shape but have a tear drop shape. These pearls are most often used in pendants and earrings.
baroque pearls Baroque pearls do not have a definitive shape, except for the fact that they are non-symmetrical or irregular in shape. Baroque pearls can range from off round circle pearls to stick or cross shapes.
circle pearls Circle pearls are baroque pearls but as the name suggests they have visible "circles" or "rings" around the diameter of the pearl. This shape of pearl is most common in Tahitian and South Sea Pearls and are gaining popularity because of their unique look.

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