Our Pearl Types

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The four pearl types we use in our jewelry:

Akoya Pearls

Considered the classic among cultured pearls, Akoya pearls are primarily round or oval in shape and most commonly measure 5 to 8mm. They are cultured in many parts of the world, but most commonly in southwestern Japan and China. Their colors range from pinkish white to creamy shades of silvery blue.

Akoya Pearls

Chinese Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater pearls are grown in an amazing variety of delicate shapes, ranging from round and oval to button, drop and baroque. Their colors vary from pure white to orange and rosy violet.

Freshwater Pearls

Tahitian Pearls

Tahitian pearls are synonymous with magic and perfection. Most come from the atolls and lagoons of the South Pacific. They tend more toward drop shapes than round and vary in size from 8 to 14mm, and some can occasionally reach 16 or even 18mm. They can be black, silver, dark or light gray. The rarest color is "peacock green" – the greenish black color of a peacock feather.

Tahitian Pearls

South Sea Pearls

The South Sea Pearl is unquestionably the rarest and finest cultured pearl in the world. No other pearl can equal its natural beauty and size. South Sea pearls range in size from 9mm up to 20mm, and come in many varied shapes and colors. Among all of the South Sea pearls, the Australian are especially prized and generally more valuable.

South Sea Pearls
Summary of Pearl Types
  Akoya Freshwater Tahitian South Sea
Where Cultivated Ocean salt waters of Japan and China Lakes and rivers, mostly in China Named after one of the tropical French Polynesian Islands, Tahiti The South Sea, including the Indian Ocean around Australia, Southern Indonesia, and the Southern Philippines
Oyster Name Pinctada Fucata Martensii Margaritifera margaritifera. The most common species may live up to 15 years. Pinctada Margaritifera oyster can live 30 years. Pinctada Maxima is the largest and rarest pearl oyster in the world.
Oyster Size 4 to 5 inches Approximately 8 inches wide by 12 inches long Grows up to 12 inches, and weighs up to 11 pounds Sometimes found in excess of 12 inches in diameter
Number of Pearls per Oyster One pearl per oyster except in the smaller sizes; under 5mm they can produce two pearls in one oyster. Can tolerate nucleation once because of its small size; however, can yield as many as 35 to 40 nuclei from one shell, depending on the size of the shell. About 20 percent of the oysters can be nucleated a second time. Can be nucleated up to four times, each time yielding a larger pearl, but the quality may decline. Can take a large bead and produce the largest pearl.
Growing Time (cultivating to harvest) 2 to 3 years depending upon the producer and the conditions 8 to 10 months 2 years 2 years
Size of Pearls 5mm to 8mm 2mm to 13mm 8mm to 14mm 9mm to 20mm
Nacre Thickness .50 mm Almost 100% nacre 4mm to 6mm 4mm to 6mm
Summary of Pearl Types
(Tap to select)

Cultivated:
Ocean salt waters of Japan and China.

Oyster Name:
Pinctada Fucata Martensii

Oyster Size:
4 to 5 inches

Number of Pearls per Oyster:
One pearl per oyster except in the smaller sizes; under 5mm they can produce two pearls in one oyster.

Growing Time (cultivating to harvest):
2 to 3 years depending upon the producer and the conditions

Size of Pearls:
5mm to 8mm

Nacre Thickness:
.50 mm

Cultivated:
Lakes and rivers, mostly in China.

Oyster Name:
Margaritifera margaritifera. The most common species may live up to 15 years.

Oyster Size:
Approximately 8 inches wide by 12 inches long

Number of Pearls per Oyster:
Can tolerate nucleation once because of its small size; however, can yield as many as 35 to 40 nuclei from one shell, depending on the size of the shell.

Growing Time (cultivating to harvest):
8 to 10 months

Size of Pearls:
2mm to 13mm

Nacre Thickness:
Almost 100% nacre

Cultivated:
Named after one of the tropical French Polynesian Islands, Tahiti.

Oyster Name:
Pinctada Margaritifera oyster can live 30 years.

Oyster Size:
Grows up to 12 inches, and weighs up to 11 pounds.

Number of Pearls per Oyster:
About 20 percent of the oysters can be nucleated a second time.

Growing Time (cultivating to harvest):
2 years

Size of Pearls:
8mm to 14mm

Nacre Thickness:
4mm to 6mm

Cultivated:
The South Sea, including the Indian Ocean around Australia, Southern Indonesia, and the Southern Philippines.

Oyster Name:
Pinctada Maxima is the largest and rarest pearl oyster in the world.

Oyster Size:
Sometimes found in excess of 12 inches in diameter

Number of Pearls per Oyster:
Can be nucleated up to four times, each time yielding a larger pearl, but the quality may decline. Can take a large bead and produce the largest pearl.

Growing Time (cultivating to harvest):
2 years

Size of Pearls:
9mm to 20mm

Nacre Thickness:
4mm to 6mm