From Prism Volume I 2024: From the Vault, Baroque Splendor from Mastoloni Pearls

By Jennifer Heebner, Editor in Chief

Fran Mastoloni knows that some Pearls don’t always find homes straight away, especially the uncommon ones. A case in point: six pillowy soft-looking cultured baroque South Sea Pearls that have been in his inventory for upwards of 15 years.

“They’re all so unique and large that I don’t want to sell them unless I find the right buyer,” explains of one the principals at Mastoloni Pearls.

Mastoloni bought the largest one—a cultured white 23.3–28.6 mm South Sea Pearl—from a Japanese jewelry manufacturer in Hong Kong in 2005. The Pearl was so large and such a standout that the seller just didn’t have a place for it in his inventory.

From Prism Volume I 2024: From the Vault, Baroque Splendor from Mastoloni Pearls

The golden baroque, a cultured 15.5–14.7 mm number, is likely of Burmese origin and was purchased from a New York City–based jeweler who died and whose wife was liquidating inventory.

“His name was Arthur King, and his wife had a bunch of unusual Pearls,” says Mastoloni. “This one could be 30 years old.”

The longer cultured white South Sea baroque Pearl is 17.5–25.5 mm in size and was acquired in Sydney 15 years ago.

“That one is Australian, and I bought it because it was a cool-looking long Pearl and I’d never seen one that long that wasn’t a freshwater,” he says.

A 17.6–22.7 mm cultured white South Sea baroque Pearl, meanwhile, was purchased from an Indonesian seller in Hong Kong, and a 19.0–21.3 mm cultured white South Sea baroque Pearl has a subtle triangular shape to it with a little cleft. And while the cultured Tahitian baroque Pearl is indeed “cute,” says Mastoloni, he can’t locate any records or history on it. No matter, he’s fond of each for their distinctive appearances.

“I bought these shapes because they appealed to me, and that’s part of what makes Pearls unique,” he adds. “They don’t have to be round to be beautiful.”

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This article first ran in Prism Volume I 2024. See the flipbook by clicking here.