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Cultured pearls are distinguished according to their geographical origins or the kind of mussels that grow them. The mussels determine the colours and sizes of the pearls. We distinguish between saltwater and freshwater pearls. The main pearl types that are grown in saltwater are Akoya- Southsea- and Tahiti cultured pearls. Pearls grown in fresh water are called freshwater cultured pearls.
are the classical white to creamy coloured pearls from the bays of southern Japan, which are also grown today in China and Vietnam. Good quality pearls have a high lustre. The name, ‘Akoya’, is the Japanese expression for the mussel in which the pearls are cultivated. Pearl sizes range from 5 – 10mm.
On the one hand, the term includes the white to golden coloured South Sea Cultured Pearls, grown off the north shore of Australia, the seas around Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar. South Sea Pearls are grown in mussels called Pinctada Maxima. Pearl sizes range from 5 – 10mm. On the other hand, this term includes the Tahiti Cultured Pearls.
Tahiti is the term for the grey to greenish-black coloured variety of the South Sea Cultured Pearls from the South Pacific around the archipelago of Tahiti (French Polynesia) – grown in the Pinctada Margaritifera, generally known as the black lipped pearl oyster. Pearl sizes range from 8 – 20 mm.
The pearls are grown in bays and the shores of rivers in China, in the area of Shanghai. They are unusually shaped, and their large variety of fine pastel colours make these cultured pearls very popular. They are increasingly cultivated with a nucleus, and they can grow to sizes of over 20 mm.