Pearl Perfection- Types

Here are a few of the most common types pearls:


Akoya Pearls- Akoya pearls are primarily grown and farmed in Japan and China, but are also found on a much smaller scale in Vietnam, Australia and South Korea. They are cultured in the Pinctada fucata martensii, also known more commonly as the Akoya oyster. Because the pearls are grown in cool to temperate waters, highly uniform mineral crystals form which result in a brilliant luster. The Akoya is the smallest pearl-producing oyster used today generating near to perfectly round pearls from 2 to 11 millimeters. For this reason, Akoya are considered the classic pearl by many experts. Akoya pearls are typically white or cream colored, but can also be found in shades such as rose, silver and gold.

Tahitian Pearls- Tahitian pearls are farmed in and around Tahiti and the French Polynesian islands. They are grown in the Pinctada margaritifera mollusk, also known as the Black-lipped oyster. The Black-lipped oyster is one of the larger species of oysters, and as a result produces pearls from 8 to 18 millimeters in size. Most "black" Tahitian pearls are not actually black, but are dark shades of grey, silver, charcoal, blue and peacock. Absolute black Tahitian pearls are extremely rare.

South Sea Pearls- South Sea pearls are one of the largest commercially harvested types of pearls, and are found in the South Seas from the northern coast Australia to the southern coast of China. They are grown in the Pinctada maxima mollusk that includes the Silver-lipped and Gold-lipped oysters. These pearls are the largest and rarest pearls grown and can reach sizes from 9 to 20 millimeters. The most common colors of the South Sea pearl include gold, silver, pink and white.