Traditionally, the standard for pearl jewelry has been to use white or near-white cultured pearls, freshwater pearls, or natural pearls that are perfectly round. The white, round beauties have been treasured because, in the world of pearl jewelry, they are rare. Increasingly, however, women are appreciating the uniqueness and versatility of pearls in a variety of shapes and colors – just as nature makes them. If you’ve always thought of pearls as white and round, it’s time to think again.
Round – Traditional round cultured pearls are often used for pearl bridal jewelry, the traditional pearl necklace, and other cultured pearl jewelry, like pearl stud earrings.
Rice – Rice pearls are small and shaped irregularly, and have crinkled surfaces.
Potato – As its name implies, potato-shaped cultured pearls have irregular oblong shapes.
Oval – Shaped like an egg, these saltwater or freshwater pearls are usually white.
Mabe – This pearl is flat on one side, giving it a dome shape.
Keshi – Also known as poppy seed pearls, these are tiny freshwater pearls.
Button – This round freshwater pearl is flat on one side.
Coin – Like the button pearl, except it is flat on both sides.
Baroque – These freshwater pearls are completely free form, having no pre-determined shape.
Circle – Also called the ring pearl, this saltwater pearl has concave, concentric lines.
Freshwater pearls, which are often used for fashion pearl jewelry, grow in virtually every color of the rainbow. They are an affordable – though no less beautiful – alternative to traditional white, round saltwater Akoya pearls. Black Tahitian pearls, which are also saltwater cultured pearls, have overtones of peacock and silver and are most often have semi-round, baroque, and circle shapes.
Pearl Fashion Jewelry – What’s Hot Now
Freshwater pearl jewelry offers women an incredible variety of accessory options. This season, look for multi-strand keshi (seed) pearl necklaces that combine different colored pearls, such as pink, peach, hazel, and brown for a stunning fashion statement. For formal occasions, multi-strand necklaces featuring a single color of keshi pearls – such as gray or black – are the perfect accessories.
Black Tahitian pearl bracelets and shimmering oval freshwater pearl bracelets are adorning the wrists of fashionistas this season, while brides are selecting classic Akoya pearl stud earrings as well as fashion forward freshwater pearl wedding jewelry that incorporates light pink or golden pearls.
The next time you treat yourself – or someone special – to the gift of pearl jewelry, remember that the beauty of pearls comes in many shapes and colors.