Unconfigured Ad Widget

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

South Sea Pearls

Collapse
X
Collapse
  •  

  • South Sea Pearls

    South Sea Pearls Defined

    A South Sea pearl is pearl produced by the Pinctada maxima mollusk. They are currently cultured in areas throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans, primarily in Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar.

    Before Contacting Us
    This page generates a lot of emails to us with questions about various South Sea pearl sellers and their grading. Although we are an education website and here to help, we are volunteers and we aren't able to respond to every email, every day.

    If you are looking for advice, before reaching out to us, these are three online companies I can say with certainty import true Australian South Sea pearls and grade fairly: Pearl Paradise, Pearls of Joy and Pure Pearls. There have been hundreds of conversations on our community forum about these companies (and others) if you would like to do more research.

    Caitlin Williams
    Pearl-Guide Admin
    South Sea Pearls - Among The Largest In The World

    South Sea pearls are among the largest commercially harvested cultured pearls in the world. The average size of a South Sea pearl is 13 mm, with most harvests producing a range of sizes from 9 mm to 20 mm.

    The South Seas lie between the northern coast of Australia and the southern coast of China. These waters are the native habitat of a large oyster known as Pinctada maxima. This oyster grows up to 12 inches in diameter, and can be nucleated with a much larger bead than other saltwater pearl oysters such as the akoya.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	bagofloosesouthseapearls.jpg Views:	1 Size:	39.3 KB ID:	449866
    Photo of South Sea Pearls courtesy of Kevin Canning of Pearls of Joy.

    South Sea Pearls Come From Two Varieties Of Pearl-Producing Mollusks

    There are two varieties of Pinctada maxima, the silver-lip and the gold-lip. The two are distinguished by their distinct coloration of the outer edge of the interior shell. This type of shell is also known as mother-of-pearl, and is responsible for the coloration of the cultured pearls produced, therefore the name.

    Unlike the akoya pearl oyster, the South Sea pearl oyster will only accept one nucleus at a time. The oyster is nucleated when it is only about half developed, from 4.7 inches to 6.7 inches in size, or about 24 months old. Although the South Sea oyster will only handle one nucleus at a time, this oyster (like the Tahitian pearl producing Pinctada margaritifera) can be nucleated up to three times over the course of many years.

    Why South Sea Pearls Grow So Large

    There are four reasons South Sea pearls can grow to such large sizes, dwarfing many of their other saltwater pearl counterparts. These reasons are: the large size of the Pinctada maxima, the size of the implanted bead, the length of time the pearl is left to grow in the oyster, and the oyster's environment.

    Due to the size of the oyster, it is able to accept a large bead. The gonad of the Pinctada maxima is several times larger than that of the akoya. Because of this larger gonad, the South Sea oyster deposits nacre around the nucleus at a much quicker rate, especially in warm water, which speeds the oyster's metabolism.

    The South Seas are also extremely clean, and filled with plankton - the Pinctada maxima's favorite food source. The clean waters and abundant food supply also speeds the nacre production. The growth period for South Sea pearls is also substantially longer than that of the akoya. Akoya pearls are harvested after only 9-16 months, where as South Sea pearls are harvested after a minimum of two years allowing for a larger size.

    What Makes South Sea Pearls So Unique?
    South Sea pearls have several distinct characteristics that are unique to this gem. The nacre is unusually thick, ranging from 2 to 6 mm, compared to the 0.35 to 0.7 mm of an average akoya pearl.

    South Sea pearls have a soft, satiny luster that comes from large aragonite platelets and rapidly deposited nacre due to the warm waters of the South Seas. South Sea pearls also have a subtle array of colors; typically white, silver, and golden - colors that are rare in other pearl types.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	rare burmese South Sea pearls.jpg Views:	1 Size:	173.7 KB ID:	449867
    Metallic Burmese South Sea pearls courtesy of Pearl Paradise.

    Related Articles and Forum Threads:
    Last edited by CortezPearls; 03-15-2021, 11:53 PM.
      Posting comments is disabled.

    Categories

    Collapse

    article_tags

    Collapse

    There are no tags yet.

    Latest Articles

    Collapse

    • DIY Project: Make your very own Pearls in Half!
      by CortezPearls
      You have probably seen those photos of beautiful pearls that have been "cut in half" so you can see their inner structure, and you probably wondered how those are worked: are they sawed off? maybe a machete?


      Well, wonder no more! This little video explains in detail how you can make your very own, very nice...pearls in half.

      You will need:
      1. Sandpaper sheets, one of each: 60 (very rough), 80 (medium grit) and 220 (fine grit, also called "water
      ...
      10-26-2021, 07:30 PM
    • Pearls in the Web of Life - Part 2
      by CortezPearls
      In a sense, pearl oysters might be a “small ecosystem” of their own, a self-contained biome where a tug of war ensues and leads to eventual stability. But why does this happen? And does it hurt the mollusk? One of my Marine Biology teachers -Dr Fernando Manrique, a friend of Jacques Cousteau- once told us that the Ocean was teeming with Life, and that the hardest thing for many lifeforms to find was an “available apartment”, a place to settle and that would help them avoid being tossed...
      10-11-2021, 05:12 PM
    • Mabe Pearl Grading - 7) Dome Height
      by CortezPearls
      Part of the beauty of a Mabe pearl comes from its “dome” (height). When a Mabe pearl displays a low dome it most closely resembles a piece of mother-of-pearl shell than an actual pearl. Unfortunately, many Mabe pearls today are grown too flat, due to the intrinsic characteristic of the host shell: Pinctada shells are usually flatter than Pteria shells (the shells being much more concave) which does not allow for the use of tall implants, since these will touch the opposite shell and will cause the...
      08-23-2021, 11:20 PM
    • Mabe Pearl Grading - 6) Nacre Quality
      by CortezPearls
      The most important factor here is nacre thickness. Many Mabe are cultured for short periods of time (4 months) to obtain the most perfect shape, but at the expense of their nacre thickness and durability. On the other hand, there are producers that grown them for too long (over 12 months) and end up having pearls that have thick nacre, but their shapes are not standardized, and they may display one or more of the surface imperfections we discussed in the previous paragraph. There is usually a middle...
      08-23-2021, 03:47 PM
    • Grading Mabe Pearls -5) Surface Quality
      by CortezPearls
      As with other pearls, surface quality is an important attribute: the cleaner the surface is, the more desirable the Mabe is and more valuable too. The usual surface imperfections found in these are:

      • Missing Nacre: whitish, bite shaped marks.
      • Spots, pinpricks: dark or light-colored pin-prick markings.
      • Rippled surface: these are markings caused by the growth of the abductor muscle on top of the blister pearl. This marking causes the appearance of wavy...
      08-23-2021, 03:30 PM
    • Grading Mabe Pearls - 4) Mabe Luster
      by CortezPearls
      Mabe pearls are not very known for their great luster, although many of these pearls may display amazing luster. Mabe usually display a more silky or subdued luster, especially in the Pinctada species and is most shiny in the Pteria species…but luster is usually enhanced by means of a final polishing, done with a high-speed cloth-wheel and a polishing compound, although much care must be taken to avoid excessive polishing that leads to heat and may ultimately damage the pearls by “burning”...
      08-23-2021, 03:26 PM
    Working...
    X