Look closely at the pearls above. Each seems belted or cinched across the middle like a trussed Christmas goose. These beauties, with grooves and ridges around their circumference, have come to be called circled pearls. One may easily guess why. Circled pearls, sometimes referenced as ringed pearls, are characterized by the regular streaks or concave rings that run perpendicular to the pearl’s axis of revolution.
As an organic gem, pearls are at the mercy of the mollusk in which they form. This goes a long way toward understanding why pearls do not always emerge perfectly round. In fact, very few are impeccable spheres. Most often, the oyster or mussel leaves a unique fingerprint on the pearl, indicative of the tumult that has been raging beneath the shell. An irritant within the mollusk starts the process. To protect itself and sooth its delicate tissue, the mollusk wraps layer after layer of nacre around the intruder, forming in time the lustrous pearl.
But because the pearl spends years turning as a spindle within the viscera of the mollusk, disruptions may occur. Uneven accumulation of nacre, an infection, or even a good jostle may lead to unbalanced pearl rotation. The pearl then begins to elongate along an axis – akin to rolling dough into a baguette – and concentric striations appear. This is a far more common occurrence in larger mollusks, like the Tahitian and South Sea oysters filtering the waters of French Polynesia, Indonesia and Australia. Nearly a quarter of all Tahitian pearls are circled pearls.
Circled pearls make excellent gems and truly signature pieces of jewelry for several reasons. The pearls’ individuality and rich luster are particularly appealing; the ridged surface intensifies natural iridescence. Rings are more often apparent on oval, oblong or drop pearl shapes, which may be harnessed in stunning Spey pendants, earrings and strands. Consider adding circled pearls to your wardrobe for a revolutionary look!