THE VARIETY OF CULTURED PEARLS
- Akoya Pearls,
- South Sea Pearls,
- Tahiti Cultured Pearls,
- Freshwater Cultured Pearls
- plus other types like Mabe Cultured Half Pearls
- and Keshi Pearls.
- Because the oyster is relatively small, its pearls generally grow from 2 millimeters to 9 millimeters, or very rarely, 10 millimeters.
- Today, the majority of Akoya pearls are cultivated in Japan, and China.
- The term Akoya refers to nucleated saltwater pearls cultivated in the Akoya oyster.
- Tahiti cultured pearls are cultivated using the local species of the black lipped pearl oyster Pinctada Margaritifera (ranging in sizes between 12 to 15 centimeters).
- The more common sizes of the pearls are 9 to 13 millimeters.
- The exuberant colors of these pearls range from gold through green to aubergine or purple, to dark hues including jet black.
- Generally, the darker the pearl, the more valuable it is.
- True peacock black pearls are quite rare and expensive.
- Only a limited quantity of Tahiti cultured pearls develop as a round or a perfect drop.
FRESH WATER PEARLS
- Freshwater cultured pearls are cultivated in several species of pearl mussel.
- Freshwater mussels are common throughout the world, but those used for pearl cultivation are mainly found in freshwater rivers, lakes and ponds.
- Colors come in white, champagne, cream orange, pink, purple, lilac, mauve, dark blue and brown.
- However, the bewildering array of attractive colors in which these pearls are presently being marketed strongly suggests that color treatments are being performed on these pearls.
- Mabe is a term commonly used in the pearl trade to describe a cultured half-pearl that is grown on the inside of a shell.
- Depending on the form of the nucleus the farmer inserts into the oyster, several shapes can be produced, including round, oval, cushion, drop and heart.
- Keshi pearls are naturally formed in the soft tissue of most cultured pearl bearing oysters.
- However, these pearls are the by-product of a culturing procedure, and must be recognized as such.
- Keshi pearls from both white and black South Sea pearl oysters can reach any size from 4 to 10 millimeters above.
- The fact that it is the only pearl resulting from seawater cultivation without a man-made nucleus makes the Keshi pearl special and appreciated by true pearl lovers worldwide.
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