Variety of Pearls
Freshwater Mussels reside in lakes, ponds and rivers and are not your conventional source of Pearls from saltwater. The difference between Freshwater Pearls and Saltwater Pearls are that they are not as round and do not have the same luster and shine.
On the other hand, Freshwater Pearls are produced in a broad range of shapes, sizes and natural colours and are less expensive than Saltwater Pearls. Due to these advantages, Freshwater Pearls are very popular in today’s market and are used more in fashionable designs for younger audiences.
The Pearl is of solid nacre and is not bead nucleated like other cultured Pearls, such as the South Sea and Akoya Pearls. Due to this growth process they are not perfectly round. Because Freshwater Pearls are solid nacre, they are more resistant to chipping and are extra durable.
They are also known as “Seawater Pearls” and are cultivated in the Akoya oysters known as Pinctada Fucata Marbensif.
They are found mainly off the Southern and Western coastal areas of Japan and China. Known for their luster, Akoya Pearls are considered to be ‘Classic’ Pearls and are more commonly White or Cream coloured with overtones of silver or rose. Their sizes range from 2mm to 9mm and are more constantly round or near round in shape.
Produced in the black lipped oyster 'Pinctada Margaritifera' in and around Tahiti and the Frendi Polynesia, the Tahitian Pearls are one of the most exceptional Pearls in the world. Their natural dark colour magnetizes Pearl lovers from all corners of the globe.
South Sea Pearls are amongst the largest commercially harvested cultured Pearls in the world, with an average size of a South Sea Pearl being 13mm with most harvests producing a range of sizes from 9mm to 20mm.
The South Seas lie between the Northern coast of Australia and the Southern coast of China. These waters are the native territory of a large oyster known as Pinctada Maxima. The particular oyster grows up to 12 inches in a diameter and can be nucleated with a much larger bead than the other saltwater oysters. Furthermore, it is harvested for a minimum of two years. The South Seas are filled with 'Plankton' which is the Pinctada Maxima's preferred food source, which along with being surrounded by clean water; speeds up the nacre production.
The South Sea Pearl grows this large due to the size of the oyster complimented by the warm water which hurries up the metabolism of the oyster. In addition to that, the large size occurs due to the length of time the oyster is left to grow and the size of the bead which is implanted.
Large and luminous White South Sea pearls from Australia and the Philippines are the largest and rarest of all cultured pearl types in the world. Pearls cultured in the Pinctada Maxima saltwater oyster, which can grow up to a foot in diameter at maturation, routinely obtain sizes that range from 9.00mm up to an astonishing 21.0mm! The pearls golden and white colors are completely natural, needing no dyes or artificial enhancements.
Cultured South Sea pearls are also known for their soft, satiny glow which is due to their thick nacre layers acquired through as much as 4 years' cultivation time.