Pearl Guide

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...

Akoya Pearls

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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.

Akoya pearls were the...


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Freshwater Pearls vs Cultured Pearls

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Am I Getting Freshwater or Cultured Pearls?

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

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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...

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