In order to find the perfect pearl I believe a little information is in order. For in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Knowledge is power.” Bacon may have not been referencing pearls or any type of jewelry for that matter, but knowledge is key when searching for anything that is as unique as a pearl. So this blog post is all about the popular pearls available, so you can make the right decision for you.
Acknowledged as the queen of the sea because of its grand size, South Sea Cultured pearls are housed by the gold lipped oyster as well as the silver lipped oyster. They are exotically the world’s largest pearls, getting anywhere between 16-20mm in size. Originally cultured in Australia these rare pearls are now also cultured in Indonesia, Burma and the Philippines. These pearls take about 2 years to culture depending on how large and how thick of nacre is desired. The nacre of these pearls spans between 3mm-6mm thick. South Sea Pearls are established at the higher end of pearls because of their rarity and larger size as well as the orient hues they come in, which include stunning white pink, silver pink and dark gold. The varieties of shapes they come in also accentuate the uniqueness of these pearls. The South Sea Pearl will fulfill a craving for a rare and unique pearl.
The black lipped oyster creates the uncommonly beautiful Tahitian pearls. Cultured all the way in French Polynesia these pearls have a striking black hue with either a peacock green overtone or grey and purple overtone. These pearls sizes can range anywhere from 8 to 13mm and take around 18-24 months to culture. Because of the Tahitian pearls sensitivity to the pearl culturing process they are rare pearls and join South Sea Pearls on the high end of pearls.
What is known in the jewelry industry as the ‘classic’ pearl, the Akoya oyster is the smallest pearl producing oyster used in pearl culturing today. The Akoya is deemed classic because of its white color with soft pink undertones accenting every woman’s natural skin tone. When engineered, more often than not Akoya pearls are round, which is optimal when it comes to jewelry. Though the Akoya oyster is small it makes up for its size in the number of pearls it produces, which can be 4-5 at a time. Depending on the culture time which is anywhere from 6-18 months, these pearls can be between 2-10mm. Cultured largely in offshore Japan these classic pearls land as the third most valuable on our list, behind South Sea and Tahitian pearls because of their truly classic look.
Freshwater pearls are considered the close relatives of the other pearls on our list, due to the fact that these pearls are produced by mussels instead of Oysters and can astonishingly produce up to 100 pearls simultaneously. Because of their enormous availability Freshwater Pearls are relatively inexpensive when it comes to pearls, making them popular and accessible in the jewelry industry. Freshwater pearls come in a variety of colors such as grey, blue, gold, pink, and white, so there is a color for every preference. Even though they take about 3-5 years to culture, which is also slightly longer than the others, these mussels produce pearls that are 100% nacre, so not only are they tough, they will surely last a lifetime.
The Mabe Pearl Oyster produces the unique semi-spherical Mabe pearls. Last but not least on our list these pearls are the most desirable for placement in jewelry because they are essentially half a pearl with a flat side, which also makes them the least expensive out of our bunch. The vast difference between Mabe pearls and the others is how they are cultured. To get their semi-spherical shape an irritant is inserted in the side of the oyster. Cultured in China, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, and French Polynesia these pearls take about 6-24 months to culture and can range in size from 8mm-20mm. Even though their most desired color is white with pink undertones they come in a variety of colors which include but are not limited to a dark smoky blue color. So if you are looking for an inexpensive beautiful pearl that’s perfect to put in a piece of jewelry than the mabe pearl is for you.