Akoya Pearls vs. South Sea Pearls. Which is Right For You?
Pearls are easily the most sought after gem in the fashion world these days. There is much confusion for buyers over the differences between Akoya and South Sea Pearls. It is best to understand what the advantages and properties are of each of these pearl varieties.
There are four distinct different types of white pearls.
There are Natural Pearls that grow a pearl with no human intervention. They are beautiful, but very very rare these days.
Freshwater Pearls are grown in a mussel rather than a saltwater oyster and, as you might imagine, in freshwater, such as a lake. Freshwater Pearls spend less time in their shells and are harvested more quickly than south Sea Pearls or Akoya Pearls, and therefore, have a thinner nacre. Nacre is the substance that makes a pearl, a pearl. Freshwater Pearls are a good choice for the more budget minded buyer.
The most beautiful forever pearls are Akoyas and South Sea Pearls. Each has different characteristics.
The majority of Akoya Pearls are from Japan and are the classic pearl strands that WWII soldiers brought home to their wives or girlfriends. Akoyas are known for their perfectly round shape and mirror luster. Usually there are only 2 pearls per oyster that are harvested. Freshwater pearls can produce up to 35 pearls in a single mollusk! Each pearl ranges from 2mm to 10mm, with 7mm being the predominant size. With the larger sizes comes the additional cost. Akoyas are grown in an oyster from 10 to 18 months.
South Sea Pearls start in the 8-9mm size range and grow up to 20mm and over. This is your pearl pick for a larger more commanding necklace.
The majority of White South Sea Pearls are cultured in the NW coast of Australia and the Golden South Sea Pearls are from the Philippines and Indonesia. Their large size, small growing localities and the length of time to grow, make South Sea Pearls among the rarest and most expensive. Because of the extended growing period, South Sea Pearls have the thickest nacre of all pearls. Their growing period is from 2 to 4 years.
The colors range from silvery white to a deep gold. Their luster is silky and luxurious.
It is common for fine South Sea Pearls necklaces to range from $10,000 up to $300,000.