I appreciate all of the shared knowledge and honesty on this forum, it is a very helpful resource for uninformed consumers such as myself.
Even though I've read most of the associated posts, I'm still a little confused about the pros and cons of akoya handama v. freshadama. With the naked eye, are the two types easy to tell apart or are they distinct (shape, color)? I assume they weigh more but would consider that a pro, not a con.
Based on the posts I've seen here, I wonder why I would ever buy an akoya strand - even if cost wasn't a major issue. It seems too easy, am I missing something?
Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
Marina del Rey, CA
As a seller of both I can point out some very distinct aesthetic differences.
Hanadama Akoya have a different type of shine than the freshadama. The color is not the issue here, as coloration distinction does not make or break the grade. What sets the grade with Hanadama is the luster, the surface quality, and the nacre depth.
The shine of the Hanadama is more of a metallic, reflective shine. This is reflecting from the surface of the pearl - it has the often-quoted ball-bearing look. An intense reflection.
The freshadama does not have this same type of luster. Instead it has orient. The light is not simply reflecting from the surface of the pearl, it is reflecting of the linear layers of nacre from within the pearl - in other words, the reflection comes from within the pearl instead of from the surface of the pearl. It diffracts from within, and exhibits a very beautiful coloration.
So which looks better? It is completely discretionary. Which do you prefer? Yes, the freshadama is composed of solid nacre, so from a durability standpoint it is much better than the Hanadama, and no one can honestly say it is not an investment grade - it certainly is, and from the durability standpoint, it is a better investment.
We actually visited a high-end jeweller today and had the chance to play with akoyas and South Seas... From your compare and contrast as offered above would you say that the 'freshadama' quality pearls have more in common with SSPs (refraction, etc) or is that an altogether different story?
I hope you say they are relatively similar as Mrs. Drop has acquired a strong preference for the South Sea variety (she already has a strand of Tahitians...). My value-oriented shopping strategy may be going out the window if not ;-)