Tahitian Pearl Shapes

An assortment of pearls of many shapes and sizes


Tahitian black pearls vary wildly in shape from perfect rounds to the amorphous and elongated. Note that in the following definitions, an axis of symmetry means that you can drill it from one end through to the other, spin the pearl along that axis and not see it wobble.

Shapes can be described in the following categories:

  • Round pearls are the most classic and a good starting point. To be classed as round they must have a diameter variance of less than two percent. This means that a 10mm pearl cannot be larger than 10.2 or 9.8mm if measured across a different diameter.


  • Semi-round pearls are usually mixed with rounds because of they look almost the same. They are allowed a diameter variance of two to five-percent, which is when the difference becomes noticeable to the eye. Most pearls have an axis of symmetry.

  • Semi-baroque is a large category that covers everything with only one axis of symmetry. This means that drops, buttons (a sort of squashed round that’s flatter on one side), ovals and all of their variations. Most agree that a perfect drop is every bit as valuable as a perfect round, no doubt due to its rarity.
  • Baroques have no axis of symmetry, meaning that they can be anything from a round pearl with a bump on the side to wild, wavy or bulbous shapes. They have a lot of personality and are our personal favorites. Nowadays many people have begun calling circled pearls "baroques" but here at Kamoka these are two very different classifications.




    • Circled pearls have concentric rings etched into the form of the pearl. Some circled pearls may only have a small percentage of surface covered in these rings while others may be etched all over. It's unknown why but circled pearls are by far the most colorful. Many people have begun calling circled pearls "baroques" recently but here at Kamoka these are two very different classifications. 


    • Keshi pearls are usually small (measuring under 8mm) and misshapen although rarely they can be round or near-round and also quite large. Because keshi pearls don't have a nucleus they can sometimes be quite wildly shaped.