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Article: What Are Baroque Pearls?

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What Are Baroque Pearls?

Why people love baroque and irregular pearls

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We hand make irregular and baroque pearl necklaces, matching irregular pearl bracelets and organic shaped earrings. For special occasions, events and for everyday wear. 

We love baroque pearls. This is why we honour their beauty by crafting our baroque pearl pieces with gold filled (100x thicker coating of gold than plated or vermeil) or sterling silver, and by using only the best and highest quality pearls. For us it’s important to create pieces which not only look great when first bought, but also last without tarnishing. Using quality materials also ensures our pieces stay kind on sensitive skin. 

And it’s not just us! People love baroque pearls (sometimes referred to as misshapen or irregular pearls) because people love to own (and wear) something unique. We wear jewellery to express something about ourselves, to express our individuality. It’s true with all pearls, but especially true with baroque pearls, that no two pearls are the same. So it makes a lot of sense that people are attracted to baroque pearls, which by their very nature are individual. The delicate way the light plays on the lustre, the curves, the varied angles, different shapes and sizes. Baroque pearls are one of nature’s mesmerising creations. And this is before we go into the variety of ways they can be worn.

Whether as earrings, necklaces, bracelets the options are infinite. Here at Kiri & Belle we tend to lean towards contemporary, but still timeless styles. So think chunky hoops, single baroque pearl pendants, keshi pearl studs, single pearl bracelets amongst others. But that’s not to say you won’t also find more traditional designs in our collections. 

It’s interesting to note how trends for pearls have evolved over time. Round pearls were immortalised by celebrities from our parent’s (and grandparent’s) generations (think Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy with their round pearl necklaces), but many of today’s celebrities favour baroque pearls. Perhaps none more famously than Kate Middleton, who has been spotted wearing baroque pearl earrings for some of the most special moments in her life. 

Baroque pearls are the antithesis to mass produced jewellery. Most things we purchase, either as gifts or for ourselves, are mass produced. Baroque pearls give the consumer the chance to step outside of this, to own something which can’t be produced in a factory. It feels great to wear something natural, crafted by human hands into a wearable object. 

Another thing we feel strongly about is ethical sourcing. For us ethical sourcing means having confidence that people and planet are not hurt in the process of creating and shipping our jewellery. Our pearl and precious metal suppliers have passed independent audits which ensure their work practises are ethical. This  gives us assurance over several aspects of their workplace and work practises (topics including child or slave labour, worker health and safety and environmental). In addition to this, wherever possible we also use recycled materials in our packaging (the majority of which is also recyclable or biodegradable).

We send out all orders beautifully packaged, with a personal note from us (we like to keep things personal!), an option for a free gift message written by you if you’re sending direct to a loved one, and wrapped in our bespoke Kiri & Belle branded super soft storage pouches.

Shop now at for a truly unique piece of jewellery.


What Are Baroque Pearls?

The traditional image of pearl jewellery is one of perfectly round white spheres. Baroque pearls (in our opinion) are much more interesting! They take many years to form and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and no two are exactly alike. In short, traditional pearls are round and everything else can be called baroque.

The resurgence of pearl jewellery has largely come from a more contemporary attraction to natural shapes and forms. Rather than being rigidly restricted to traditional spherical pearls, we believe that these differences are to be celebrated.

Baroque Pearls

The Subtypes of Baroque Pearls Explained:

Within Baroque Pearls there are several different subcategories. All with their own qualities:

Keshi pearl

The word Keshi comes from the Japanese word for poppy. Keshi pearls are gorgeous. They are typically formed by older mussels, which result in a slower growth of the pearl. Because of this they tend to have some of the highest lustre and iridescence. They are formed without a nucleus which causes them to grow in very varied and unique shapes. We embrace this variety in our Dot stud earrings.  We feel showcasing these pearls on a simple stud really lets their beauty shine!

Fireball pearl

Fireball pearls take their name from the comet-like tail which trails behind a fairly spherical body. We love jewellery pieces which use the fact that these pearls have a clear “direction” enhance the overall design.

Rice pearl

As you might expect these pearls resemble grains of rice! Small, elongated ovals.

Potato pearl

A not so pretty name for a very pretty variety of pearls! Potato pearls grow as short ovals, but with one end slightly larger than the other, like a squashed egg shape. This slight asymmetry attracted us to use them in our Mia earrings, where we drill them sideways to showcase this subtle quality.

Coin pearl

Also called button pearls or flat pearls. Coin pearls have round disk-like shapes. They are formed by the pearl farmer inserting a small disk as a nucleus into the mussel.

Biwa pearl

Also called stick pearls. Biwa shaped pearls originally take their name from Lake Biwa in Japan. However these days, most “Biwa” pearls (like the vast majority of all cultured freshwater pearls) are grown in China. The terms now generally refers to highly elongated shapes, rather than the place of origin.

Teardrop pearl

Another fairly obvious name! This type of baroque pearl tapers at one end to a point. We use teardrop baroque shapes on our drop earrings, where the slim and more vertical design suits the elegant teardrop pearl shape.

Baroque pearl

Somewhat confusingly baroque is a subcategory of all baroque pearls. These tend to be relatively oval in shape and more uniform than Keshi pearls, but still beautifully varied. We use baroque pearls in almost all of our hoop and drop earring designs. From Olivia, which showcases a single large baroque pearl and can be worn everyday through to Arabella, with up to 9 large baroque pearls suitable for special events and weddings. We love baroque pearls!


Baroque Pearls on Pouch


As you might imagine the subtypes listed above often cross over. A pearl could be part one type and part another, for example a short biwa pearl might be called a large rice pearl, or a fireball pearl with a finely tapered tail might be classified as teardrop. You get the idea!

And this is just a selection of the different shaped pearls which now exist. You can get cross shaped pearls, and even heart shaped pearls! The list goes on.

Look at this way, if all people were exactly the same our lives would be numbingly predictable. Similarly if all pearl jewellery only featured the same round balls it would become repetitive and boring. I hope that in reading this you can understand why we are fascinated by baroque pearls and why we think they make such strikingly beautiful pieces of jewellery.


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