Philippine South Sea Pearls
Philippine South Sea Pearls grow in the Pinctada Maxima oyster. It is one of the largest oysters in the world. Both cultured and natural pearls grow in this oyster. These oysters can be found in the wild, but most of the oysters used for culturing are grown in hatcheries.
The most astounding thing is that only one pearl can be cultured in a Pinctada Maxima oyster at a time. And, because it takes 2-3 years for one pearl to grow, these pearls are the most rare and expensive pearls in the world.
The adult oyster can be up to 30cm across. Most of the pearls range in size from 9-16mm, with a rare pearl up to 18mm. The Philippine Seas are known for their gold lipped oysters that produce Golden South Sea Pearls. The deeper golden color are more desirable and costly. Usually the pearls produced in an oyster have the same color and quality of the mother of pearl, or inside surface of an oyster. And, this would be why the gold lipped oyster produces Golden South Sea Pearls.
The non-bead cultured pearls are called keshi and they range from a seed pearl (less than 2mm) to 10mm.