While AAA-quality pearls garner top grades for their round shapes and virtually flawless surfaces, “baroque”, or irregularly shaped, pearls remain a type to treasure among pearlers in the know. That’s because the freeform-silhouette beauties known as baroques bear marvelously uncommon, organic, and completely unique—even one-of-a-kind—shapes that capture the immediate attention of viewers for far-out aesthetics that pave the way for conversation-starting encounters.
The word baroque comes from the Portuguese word “barroco,” which refers to a pearl with an elaborate shape. It was during the Baroque era that these non-round pearls were first used in jewelry, hence the name, which doubles as a reference to the luxuriant art and architecture of the period.
Though the nature of baroque pearls is consistently inconsistent regarding sizes and shapes, one metric is guaranteed: baroque pearls will be beautiful and an ideal subject of scrutiny for a designer’s creative eye. Some of Assael’s favorite baroque looks? Pebble-like undulating strands (some offset by tiny gemstones), pillowesque baroque-pearl drops on diamond earrings, and massive boulder-shape numbers that perch regally from mountings doubling as wearable pearl thrones. Plus, the baroque pearls that Assael uses feature some of the most lustrous, mirror-like surfaces on the market in sizes as large as 20 mm per pearl from South Sea oysters.
The orient, or play-of-color, evident in all pearls is further enhanced in baroques through one-off curves that let light dance off surfaces in a majestically silent fireworks-like display of iridescent rainbow colors. For sure, baroque-shape pearls may not be considered perfect by graders’ standards, but their uniqueness in hues and shapes makes them just as collectible (if not more) than their perfectly round-figured friends.