Going for Baroque



We love pearls. Those luminous round orbs of magnificence. They are one of the few organic gemstones prized since ancient times. Harvested from the depths of fresh and salt water bodies around the globe, these lustrous gems provide us with endless jewelry types that never go out of vogue.

Nothing Ordinary Here
Traditionally one used to think of creamy white strands of delicately round balls when the word pearl was mentioned. But the last several decades have proven to us, that pearl can mean just about any color, and size that one could dream up. The most astonishing trait pearls give us, however, is that their shapes are boundless.

We're talking baroque here. A baroque pearl is asymmetrical. As Lady Gaga said, "I was born that way." While all pearls develop in secret beneath the murky water, deep within a mollusk of some sort, we may be surprised to discover what they actually look like when harvested. Most cultured pearls were embedded with bead nuclei to aid in a round spherical pearl. With baroque pearls, however, they are usually mantle-tissue nucleated, which results in baroque shapes we adore.



Round -v- Baroque 
It has been suggested that truly round pearls occur infrequently in pearl production. Baroque, or free form pearl shapes may occur in up to 40% of Tahitian cultured pearl harvests. Lucky for pearl aficionados. Because the baroque is always original. Like the people wearing them, there are no two baroque pearls exactly alike.

That's all part of the eternal fascination for this organic marvel. The unique shape of a baroque pearl can inspire the most creative jewelry artist. Looking at its possibilities, a designer can imagine it as part of an opulent jewelry piece. The final piece is only limited by the jewelers vision.

Working with baroque pearl's unusual shapes to create a piece is hardly new. We can see examples of ancient jewelry featuring baroque pearls dating back some thousands of years.

17th century baroque pearl jewelry in Metropolitan Museum of Art
 But these captivating free-form jewels are also as new as tomorrow morning. Modern jewelry artists bring their own perspective into play when working with these alluring gems.

Robb Darula
Jewelry designer Robb Darula, owner of From Earth to Art makes extraordinary use of his pair of baroque pearls featured in his pearl and sapphire earrings shown up top. The similarly shaped baroque pearls are the perfect foundation from which a sparkling cascade of colored gemstones cascade down along the wearer's neck. With such understated casual elegance, these pendant earrings are as much at home with stylish jeans as they are with evening gowns.

I think we'll never see the end to their design potential. We certainly will never become blase' about these miniature treasures. We only have to wonder what will the ocean beds deliver us next?

Naming them "Cloud Earrings" for their charming billowy white features, they are anything but overcast. These lively ear pendants sparkle with every subtle turn of the head, drawing radiance to the sides of the wearer's face.

Cloud Earrings; white freshwater baroque pearls, zircon, sapphire in 18K white gold; Courtesy Robb Darula, From Earth to Art

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