Akoya Pearls Defined
Akoya pearls are bead-nucleated cultured pearls produced in the Pinctada fucata martensii and Pinctada fucata chemnitzii primarily in Japan, China, Vietnam, South Korea and Australia, with most production (>95%) taking place in Japan.
The Classic Pearl
Renowned for their luster, akoya are considered the classic pearl. When one envisions a perfectly round, shiny white strand of pearls, one is almost certainly envisioning a strand of akoya pearls.
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A common question faced by many pearl buyers today is whether a particular strand of pearls is composed of freshwater or cultured pearls. This question cannot have a definitive answer because freshwater pearls are in fact cultured pearls.
Freshwater Pearls Are Cultured Pearls, But They Are Not Akoya
The reason so many buyers distinguish cultured pearls from freshwater pearls, is because "cultured pearls" is a trade term still used by many today...
Freshwater Pearls Defined
Freshwater pearls are pearls which grow in non-saline environment in freshwater mussels.
Freshwater Pearl Grading
There currently is no internationally recognized grading standard for freshwater pearls. Every system in use is subjective and unique to the company or organization that creates the system.
The Chinese government has begun work on a system, but the tremendous number of variants strongly discourage adaptability. In addition, the system only accounts for...
The Genus Pinctada, Roding 1798
The family Pteriidae is composed of nine or ten genera, and pearl oysters belonging to the Pinctada and Pteria genera are the most important from our point of view. We start off with the firts of these genus.
Pinctada History and Discovery
Historically, there is a large amount of duplication among the names of pearl producing mollusks. This is partly due to independent geographical discoveries that were later found to be the same oyster. Furthermore, the...
The "classic" piece of pearl jewelry is, of course, the pearl necklace. Akoya pearls are the most traditional type of pearl used in necklaces, but freshwater pearls, Black Tahitian pearls, and large South Sea pearls are also used, often to stunning effect.
Akoyas, of course, exhibit the traditional white, silver, or cream colors, while Tahitians and South Sea pearls yield pearl necklaces ranging from bright white to darker tones. Freshwater...