A guide to Pearl Shapes

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Everyone knows that pearls are round.  However, in reality, naturally formed round pearls are extremely rare and quite expensive. 

Pearls come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Here is a listing of some common shapes:

Button pearls are not completely round and have one side that is usually somewhat flat.  Jewelers often use these pearls in earrings, rings or pendants where only the rounded side is viewed and gives the appearance of a perfectly round pearl.  To be strung on necklaces holes are drilled from the round top to the flat bottom .

Coin shaped pearls have a round circle shape and are flat.  They are usually about the size of a dime.  Holes are drilled from side to side and jewelers use them in earrings and necklaces.

Potato or semi-round pearls have an oval shape.   These pearls are rounder than rice pearls but can be lumpy.  These pearls are drilled either lengthwise or widthwise.

Rice shaped pearls are smaller than potato pearls and are oval in shape.  They are typically drilled lengthwise to be strung on necklaces.

Stick shaped pearls are long and thin with many irregularities.  However, they can add interest to a piece of jewelry.  These pearls are drilled either lengthwise or widthwise.

Teardrop or pear shaped pearls are wider at one end.  They can be drilled either across the top or along the length of the pearl.  Sometimes they are drilled diagonally across the top for an interesting frilled effect when they are strung.

Even though these pearls are not round they can still be combined into a beautiful piece of jewelry.  It might be interesting to note that a pearl necklace made of natural round pearls can sell for thousands if not millions of dollars.  If you still want a necklace made of round pearls that is affordable you can always get some of the better quality imitation pearls such as those made by Swarovski.

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