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Tahitian "Circle" Pearls, What's The Deal?

I recently wrote a blog post about Tahitian pearls (Tahitian Pearls - 3 Facts You Must Know). I received a lot of really great comments, but two comments in particular caught my eye...

" I love pearls, except for the circle pearls...what is the deal with those? "


"I'm in love with the circle Tahitians, the colors are awesome!"

Clearly one person loves Tahitian pearls with circle shapes, the other... not so much. That's fine, almost expected. There's so many different pearls, shapes and colors. Not everybody is going to love them all like I do.

Fair enough...

But like any fine gemstone, I think the more one knows about pearls, the more they can appreciate the many varieties and variations. So with that in mind, I thought I'd do a quick write about circle shaped Tahitian pearls and why some of us absolutely love them.

What's the deal with "Circle" Pearls?

Clearly there's a bit of a divide here. Some people love circle pearls and some people hate them.

It's not surprising really. For decades we've been told/sold that pearls need to be round, to be "valuable".

And in the 80's we saw tons(literally) of very low quality Chinese Freshwater circle pearls. They had low luster, heavy blemishing that left you feeling a little "meh".

In a phrase, they were junk.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about. Dull luster, potato shapes and "circles"
freshwater circle pearls

Kind of "meh" right? If this is your experience with circle pearls, I get the lack of interest. Nobody is going ga-ga over pearls like that.

Tahitian "Circle" Pearls Are Different.

Tahitian circle pearls are all about color, and many pearl collectors go crazy for them. There's one thing for sure, when you see a strand of circle Tahitians, there's no wondering if they are real pearls or plastic beads. Even total pearl novices can spot circle pearls as real pearls.

circle tahitian pearls

What Causes The Circles?

I wish I had a better answer, but the truth is nobody really knows for sure.  We assume the pearl is rotating within the oyster, leaving rings or circles in the pearl's nacre. But farmers still can't predict or control when this happens. In reality it's probably more complex than we understand, we are dealing with a living oyster and Mother Nature after all.

What we do know is the grooves and circles that form tend to be saturated in color, while the raised areas of the pearl will be lighter with strong overtones. This contrast of colors and the way light can reflect from many angles at once is why circle Tahitian pearls are usually the most colorful pearls. 

circle tahitian pearl necklace

Some people love them, some hate them.

Leave a comment a below and let me know how YOU feel about them?

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