Pearl Education

Today's Market for Tahitian Pearls

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Tahitian Pearls, The Early Years

Tahitian pearls retained popularity throughout the South Pacific as a gem of beauty and rarity, but the pearls were, for much of their early years, unheard of in Western markets.

Jean-Claude Brouillet Starts a Tahitian Pearl Farm

It was not until businessman Jean-Claude Brouillet purchased a South Marutea atoll and started a Tahitian pearl farm in 1975 that Tahitian pearls began to infiltrate the world market.

Brouillet began working with a well-known...

Tahitian Pearl Farming

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Culturing Tahitian Pearls
By Josh Humbert of Kamoka Pearls (

Tahitian pearls are cultured in lagoons surrounded by atolls in French Polynesia using the Pinctada margaritifera mollusk (pearl oyster).

Collecting the Baby Oysters

Oysters start their lives as free-swimming plankton in the lagoon. After three weeks of swimming, they begin to grow shells and search for a surface onto which they can attach. Farmers set out collectors during strategic times of year (usually...

Kokichi Mikimoto

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Kokichi Mikimoto

Kokichi Mikimoto's contribution to the cultured pearl industry cannot be overstated. While he may not have single-handedly invented the industry, he played a pivotal role in its development and widespread acceptance of the Japanese akoya pearl. Born in Toba City, Japan, in 1858, Mikimoto's father sold noodles for a living. Little did he know that his passion for pearls would shape his destiny and revolutionize the world of jewelry.

Mikimoto's journey into pearl cultivation...

Japanese Akoya Pearls

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Japanese Akoya Pearls Defined

Japanese Akoya Pearls is a term often used as a misnomer to describe all cultured akoya pearls. This is no longer an industry accepted term as akoya pearls are now also grown in China, South Korea, Vietnam and Australia. Japanese akoya pearls is the correct term applied to akoya pearls grown in Japan, and often applied to akoya pearls that have been processed in Japan, regardless of provenance.

An example of a very fine akoya pearl strand, Pearl Paradise


Hanadama Akoya Pearls

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Hanadama Akoya Pearls

Hanadama is a Japanese word for "Spherical Flower" and is the term used to describe high quality and highly valued akoya pearls from any given harvest. These pearls are separated from typical class grading prior to auction and are sold as individually separated lots.

Although there is no standardized, definitive grading system that accurately represents and compares the value characteristics of akoya pearls, there is a one-word description of the best akoya pearl...

Innovation Continues in Chinese Freshwater Pearl Culture

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CBSB "Fireball" Pearl Culture and the Return of the Biwa Pearly Mussel
by Jeremy Shepherd and Doug Fiske

In April of this year, CEO Jeremy Shepherd and GIA writer Doug Fiske traveled with GIA photographer Valerie Power to the Weitang and Zhuji regions, centers of the Chinese freshwater pearl industry. For nearly a week, we interviewed farmers, traders, and even the chairman of one of the largest freshwater pearl production companies. The information we gathered gives a...

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