If it aint baroque, don't fix it!

Joshua Humbert

Posted on October 02 2011


 This post is a nod to one of my favorite types of Tahitian pearls: baroques.  

By definition a baroque pearl has one single trait that other pearl types (round, semi-round, semi-baroque and circled) share: no axis of symmetry.
In a recent post about circled pearls, I mentioned the confusion in the name "baroque" that I think can be attributed to the retail pearl scene.  It makes sense that retailers would want to simplify the world of potential pearl buying customers by calling circled pearls "baroques," surely in the logic that a circle is round and that would lead people to expect circled pearls to be round.  Imagine your  outrage at buying a strand of circled pearls, expecting them to be round and instead getting pearls with bands around them?

Truthfully, it's hard for me to imagine that sort of outrage because whether I bought something in a brick-and-mortar or online store, I would expect to see it first.  I guess this wouldn't be the first time things were dumbed-down for the buying public.  But what a tragedy!  If we call circled pearls baroques then what do baroques become?  If true baroques don't get their own name how do we go about celebrating what is so wonderful about them?

To me it's their quirky, free form that I like best.  Sometimes it can be subtle, throwing them just off of round and other times they can be far wilder.  We have seen pearls that look like Mickey Mouse, doves, hearts, baseball caps, seals... the list goes on an on.   Unlike all other pearl types, if you drill it through a baroque's roundest axis, it will wobble once spun on that axis.  The fun is in the wobble in my eyes because it is what protects them from looking like everything else.

And to me not looking like everything else is the single most glorious trait of Tahitian pearls.  Tahitian pearls break the mould of our very idea of what a pearl is supposed to look like.  Dark, rich colors are the predominant reason of course, but to me we should not leave the baroque out in the cold.  It should be celebrated for it's diversity of form and its break from our obstinate idea of a round pearl being the most sought after.


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  • Josh Humbert: May 10, 2012

    That’s how I feel Nancy. Personality in pearls is way under-rated. :D

  • nancy: March 14, 2012

    go baroque… i adore these pearls! so interesting, organic and just plain fabulous.

  • Josh Humbert: November 09, 2011

    Thanks Kathleen! Pearly minds think alike. :)

  • Kathleen Branson: November 09, 2011

    I completely agree with you Josh on the unique beauty of the baroques! Love the photo of the ‘tadpoles’. Not to take away from the glorious round Tahitians in any way, but my heart is in the Circles and Baroques as I find them far more interesting.

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