Tag: free-form pearls

Baroque Pearl Pendant with Wire Wrap

Pearl Spotlight: Baroque Pearls

Baroque pearls are a subcategory of pearls given their name due to their non-symmetrical shapes. They often have uneven surfaces with anywhere from minor to severe lumps, ridges, and curves. In today’s market, the more round a pearl is, the more valuable it is considered to be.  Consumers expect to pay more for a rounder pearl, and particularly for larger round pearls.  Therefore, most baroque pearls have been fairly inexpensive due to their “imperfections,” even in the larger sizes.  Baroque pearls, however, have become extremely popular in recent times due to their uniqueness and artistic allure, so we are seeing rising prices due to increased demand.  Now is the time to buy baroques!

Baroque Pearl Pendant with Swarovski Crystal

Baroque pearls are generally cultured freshwater pearls that are mantle-tissue nucleated, meaning a tiny piece of mantle tissue from one oyster is placed in another oyster to form the irritant which gets the pearl started. This is perhaps the closest humans have come to imitating nature in pearl cultivation because a pearl that forms in nature is usually started from some type of non-uniform organic debris that gets lodged inside an oyster.  The wild oyster makes itself more comfortable by coating the debris with nacre to make (usually) an irregular-shaped pearl!

The one-of-a-kind beauty that is seen in a baroque pearl can provide a great centerpiece for expensive and highly sought-after jewelry.  Their completely unique shapes are often used en solo or for the centerpiece of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets to show off their distinctive shapes.

Baroque pearls are often a favorite among pearl lovers due to their exclusive forms.  No two are remotely alike!  They are powerful enough to adorn formal wear, but can also be worn with casual outfits as an artistic piece without seeming overdressed.

Pearls for Men

Pearls: The Final Frontier in Men’s Fashion?

Did you know the fetish for pearls goes as far back as 520 BC, when the oldest known pearl jewelry was buried with the sarcophagus of a Persian princess?

We were inspired about the history of pearls, and in our travels, we came across a great article over at www.howtobeswell.com. The article made it clear that pearls on men can be totally sexy and would make a great gift for your best guy!

Pearls have a long and storied history, but we think the most interesting thing about pearl fashion is that until very recently, pearls were worn by men as often as they were worn by women!

There was nothing effeminate about the men who wore these pearls. They were the handsome, rich, and powerful leaders of their times, and the pearls they wore only served to underline their influence in their societies. The wealthier you were, the more pearls you could afford. A man wearing ropes and ropes of pearls would have turned heads everywhere he went!

Men didn’t go small with their pearl jewelry, either!  The trend was “more is more” and old portraits show dashing gents simply dripping with the gorgeous jewels. The multiple strand look has proved to be timeless, as you can see even today in the lovely layered look you find on (women’s) fashion runways the world over.

Pearls were prized by men of nearly every major culture, and historians have found evidence of the use of pearls as adornment from places as varied as Britain, China, Greece, and India.


Prince Rana of Dholp
Prince Rana of Dholp: Doing his best to wear as many pearls as possible across his manly muscly chest.
Crown of Henry VII
Recreation of the crown of Henry VIII of England: This guy was the manly-man of his age. No sissy stuff here!
Prince Charles of Wales
Prince Charles of Wales knew how to rock a masculine pair of pearl earrings!
Pearl Merman
This manly merman is made of pearls!

Modern pearl jewelry for men focuses more on increasing the masculinity of the setting the pearl lives in. Leather, chunky metal, and inlay often make an appearance in today’s jewelry. It’s a great balance between the soft satin look of the pearl and the harder edge that today’s men’s fashions require. Pearls easily go from trendy to finely elegant, as seen in these examples:

Men's Pearls
Whoa, studmuffin alert! Look at that pearl! This picture says it all for the man that may be new to wearing pearls. Seriously guys, pearls look hot on you!
Pearls for Men
Wowza! Those pearl cufflinks, rings, and necklaces would make us melt (It might just be his razor-sharp jawline)!
Steven Tyler Pearls
Trend-setting the Steven Tyler way. If Steven can look good in pearls anybody can! We daresay he looks fantastic sporting multiple layers of rugged pearls on leather rope.
Pearl Cufflinks
Pearls have always been a symbol of wealth and prestige. The only factor that has changed is the fashion trend and how we wear them today.

Pearls for every man and every look is the trend for this holiday season.  Timeless, classic, elegant, trendy and sexy.  For the man that has everything, give him a set of pearls!

Since we think it’s important to start teaching “real men” to wear pearls when they are REALLY CUTE LITTLE BOYS, we leave you with this adorable little tyke, rocking the pearl look!

Little boy with pearl


Beautiful Pearls

Pearly Whirly Pearl Fact – Oyster Health

Did you know harvesting pearls from mollusks does not kill the animals? Pearl farmers are very careful to preserve each oyster in order to re-use the animal to create more pearls. A harvester carefully slides his or her blade in between the bivalve and gently pries the shells apart. A plug is inserted to keep the mollusk open while the pearl can be extracted. The oyster is then left to recuperate before another irritant insertion.

Gorgeous Pearls

We want your opinion on the NEW AND IMPROVED Pearls International!

Howdy there!

If you’re looking around today, you’ve probably noticed that there have been quite a few changes at Pearls International! That’s because we’ve completely overhauled the way this website looks and functions in order to give our customers the very best online shopping experience.

Here are a few of the cool new features:

Better security.

Our customers’ security and privacy online is of the utmost importance. Our new site provides even better protection for your personal information during online transactions. We are committed to protecting your information to the greatest degree possible. When you shop online at Pearls International, you can be absolutely your information is safe and secure. Check out our Privacy Policy for more information!

User-Friendly Menus and Search.

Our new drop-down menus make it easier than ever to find the products you’re looking for! Simply select the appropriate category and you can navigate to any type of product we sell. You can also choose to view all of the products we carry by clicking the Shop Now button!

Simple Sharing and Syndication.

You can now share content from anywhere on the site, using the handy buttons located next to the search box at the top of each page. Want to subscribe to the content on our site? The RSS button makes it easy! For all you Pinterest addicts, you’ll now find a “Pin It” button at the bottom of each product page!

Mobile Support.

Get your Pearl Fix on the go with our new mobile functionality! You can view Pearls International on both iPhone and Android platforms and the responsive layout will adjust to any screen size.

Comprehensive Content.

Our customers asked for more information about pearls, and we have delivered! At the bottom of each page, you’ll now find plenty of resources for the Pearl Addict and Novice alike! Check out our Pearl Library and Pearl Buying Guide for helpful tips and information!

Let us know what your favorite part of our redesign is, and you’ll be entered to win our monthly prize drawing! Be sure to leave your contact info so we can let you know if you win!

Inserting the irritant between the oyster's shells

Pearly Whirly Pearl Fact – How Are Pearls Made?

Contrary to popular belief, pearls do not come from a grain of sand! Often, it is depicted that pearl formation is due to a grain of sand that has made its way into the oyster. This is hardly ever true. Formation is due to the intrusion of an outside substance that is organic in nature.  The invasion can be the result of an injury or an intruding parasite, kind of like a splinter to the oyster. The oyster’s natural reaction is to cover up that irritant to protect itself. It covers the irritant with layers of the same nacre substance that is used to create the shell. Nacre, a calcium carbonate substance, is very similar to the main ingredient in antacid tablets like TUMS. This material is combined with special proteins to create nacre. As layer upon layer of nacre coats the irritant, a pearl is formed! Light that is reflected from these overlapping layers produces a pearl’s characteristic iridescent luster.

Cultured pearls are created with the same process as natural pearls, but are given a slight nudge by pearl harvesters. To create a cultured pearl, the harvester opens the oyster’s shell and makes a small incision in the mantle tissue. Small irritants can then be inserted under the mantle. In freshwater cultured pearls, cutting the mantle is enough to induce the nacre secretion that produces a pearl, whereas in saltwater cultured pearls, an irritant has to be inserted to induce nacre secretion.

The Perfect Pearl Pick

going pearl shopping, a girl can really get swept away in a fantasy of beauty, and could easily find herself with a wolf in sheep’s clothing. With so many different varieties of pearls today who can possibly know which are the real deal? Before you take a look in that jeweler’s case, you’d better read on.

A white pearl necklace.
A white pearl necklace. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tips in finding the Perfect Pearl Pick:

What kind of pearl are you looking at? Always know that a pearl is either cultured or natural. A natural pearl comes directly from an oyster with no human interference, while a cultured pearl has been created through human influence.

Know if it’s worth the money! Usually the best value for cultured pearls are Chinese freshwater pearls. These pearls have a higher quantity of nacre, so they have a better luster, and their low-cost cultivation makes them less expensive, too!

Is that color real? Note to self: not all pearl colors are natural! Those pretty hot-pink pearls you see are often dyed or treated, and that color doesn’t come from Mother Nature!

What the heck is luster? Luster: the thing that brings you closer to the jewelry case, the physical attraction you feel to the necklace you can’t afford! Well that’s sort of the definition; luster is the glow, or the shine that a pearl has. It’s created by the nacre content of the pearl and it’s very important. Luster has a huge effect on the worth of the pearl. Bottom line, if the pearl looks like it slapped on an extra coat of lip gloss, the more the better!

All pearls are round right? If that was your final answer, you would be the Weakest Link! Pearls come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and Pearls International carries them all!

Pearls don’t have flaws? Even though we would like to be the first advocate of the perfect pearl, just like Mr. Right, there are no ‘perfect’ pearls, at least not in this reality! Be sure to really look at a pearl before purchasing, no pearl is one hundred percent completely round. (Note to self: Check to be sure some of my ‘real’ pearls aren’t fake!). Ladies, the pearl industry is a booming business–real pearls have flaws, whether in their luster, dents, shape or form, not all pearls are perfect, but there are some the come pretty darn close!

Cheap pearls…no way!!! Let me put it this way, if it sounds to good to be true then it probably is! You get what you pay for! While it’s wise to bargain hunt, it’s wiser to get more bang for your buck. Just because something is on sale, or on clearance doesn’t mean it’s worth your penny. Make sure when you buy pearls to go to someone who actually knows about the jewel, and can answer all of your questions. If you want to buy pearls to pass down for generations to come, make an investment so that your purchase may one day be seen as an inheritance.

Good luck ladies! On your quest to find the perfect pearl, may Pearly Whirly be with you…

Pearly Whirly Pearl Fact – Are All Pearls Round?

Did you know…that pearls come in funny shapes?

Shape Categories

They sure do! Here at the shop, we have cases full of crazy looking pearls.

There are Biwa pearls that are cross or ‘X’ shaped. Originally farmed in Lake Biwa, Japan (hence the name), these awesome pearls are now found all over.

Chocolate Freshwater Biwa Pearl Cross Pendant


Keishi pearls happen when the pearl rejects the nucleus during the culturing process. Keishi pearls are cool because they are as close as a cultured pearl can get to a natural pearl, since they no longer have any evidence that they were created by man. They are often called by their nickname, “potato chip pearls” because they end up being mostly flat. But don’t let that unappealing name fool you – the flat surface reflects lights amazingly well, creating even more luster than traditional round pearls.

Freshwater Keishi Pearl Bracelet with Mabé Clasp
This double strand keishi pearl bracelet with a mabe pearl clasp showcases just how beautiful irregularly shaped pearls can be.

You can also find stick pearls and coin pearls, which look exactly as they sound. Rice pearls are small and oval in shape (like a grain of rice). Seed pearls are amazing because of their teeny tiny size. “Nugget,” or potato pearls, are chunky, off-round pearls. Ring pearls occur when the oyster didn’t rotate the pearl quite right in its’ shell while it was being formed, creating indented rings around the middle of the pearl.  Some enterprising pearl farmers have even developed pearls shaped like hearts!

Mabé pearls are pearls that form against the side of the oyster or clam’s shell. The pearl farmer will then chip them off of the side of the shell, freeing the gorgeous and unique pearl for jewelry use. These can appear found like a traditional pearl, only flat on the back, or they can be more baroque in shape. “Baroque” is the umbrella category that all these funny-shaped pearls fall into, which we use to describe any pearl that doesn’t quite fit any of the descriptions above. Check out our Aphrodite Collection for some examples of how these seemingly-strange pearls can actually be quite beautiful!

All of these funky, twisty, wobbly shapes look amazing after we turn them into a beautiful piece of jewelry. They certainly do make a unique fashion statement!

Of course, at Pearls International we still carry classic round pearls, and there is just no denying how lovely they can be!