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Monday, August 8, 2016

Pearl Jewelry: Going For Baroque

Freshwater soufflé pearl sliced and lined with seed pearls and reclaimed rubies set in 14k rose gold by the jewellery design firm, Little h

Luxury jewelry artists and designers are finding new ways to create contemporary, edgy jewels made with baroque pearls. These irregularly shaped pearls were once limited to inexpensive fashion jewelry because of their abundance and affordability. However, in recent years, jewelers have found new uses for these pearls.

Baroque pearls are cultured freshwater pearls from China (although there are saltwater varieties) that are mantle-tissue nucleated. Cultivated round pearls (whether freshwater or saltwater) are created by inserting a bead along with the mantle-tissue into the nacre-producing mollusk. The bead creates the spherical shape. Not including the bead results in pearls with all kinds of unusual shapes. There are additional ways to manipulate the shapes of pearls.

Keshi pearls in a necklace and matching earrings paired with gold and pave diamonds by Yvel

In addition to unusual shapes, baroque pearls also can exhibit subtle rainbow-colored luminescence, similar to an opal. Some jewelry artists like the organic nature of the pearls. High jewelry designers are pairing them with traditional precious metals and gems. 

For example, Hisano Shepherd, founder of Little h, is taking soufflé pearls (baroque pearls with hollow centers), cutting them in half and filling them with micro pearls and tiny diamonds, rubies sapphires and other precious gems. Appropriately named the “Pearl Geode Collection,” she has created a grouping of earrings, pendant necklaces and rings with many styles, shapes and color combinations. The result is an organic and elegant look. 

Yvel, takes a particular kind of baroque pearl, the keshi (non-nucleated pearls typically formed as by-products of pearl cultivation), and uses it to create a niche artistic, high jewelry brand, matching them with precious metals, diamonds and other gems. 

This bracelet by pearl jewellery brand, Mizuki, uses two simple baroque pearls capped with 18k yellow gold that dangle from either end of an 18k yellow gold thread 

Mizuki can take one or two baroque pearls and pair it with strands of gold for fashionable, elegant jewels that can be worn throughout the day. 

Granulated cuff by Michou with one baroque pearl serving as a centrepiece but almost hidden within a granulated sterling silver cuff layered with blue topaz, African amethyst, and iolite woven in tendrils of gold vermeil wire that looks like vines

The company, Michou, inspired by Balinese jewels and jewelry-making techniques, takes an artistic approach with these pearls. For example its Spring Frost collection, featuring granulated silver layered with blue topaz, African amethyst and iolite all set within tendrils of gold vermeil wire that appear like vines. Baroque fresh water pearls can be centered within the rest of the structure or appear like drops with other colored gems. Either way the work has a frosty appearance.

The Capri ring by Yoko London uses 18k rose gold sprinkled with paved diamonds and topped with a colourful natural baroque freshwater pearl

Yoko London deals primarily in traditional round pearls of varying colors. However, the company has no problem using baroque pearls paired with precious metals and other gems. 

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