Pearls are known for their rarity, elegance and care with which it is formed. Generally, pearls are extracted from clams, oysters, and mussels across the globe. They are found in white, pink, cream, black, blue and green colours and are generated through natural as well as cultured processes.
Natural pearls vs Cultured pearls
Natural pearls are harvested by natural process and the mussels are not disturbed during the process, while in cultured pearl irritants are added artificially in the pearl farms. Moreover, pearls are also classified as freshwater and salt water. Saltwater pearls are harvested in sea beds whereas freshwater pearls are cultured in inland water bodies. Check it out here; know about different types of pearls.
The Akoya saltwater pearls
Earlier freshwater pearls were known as the gem-quality pearls, but Akoya pearls proved it to be wrong. These pearls come from small Akoya saltwater grown in Japan. A fully grown Akoya pearl ranges from 2-8 mm and are normally white, but they can also be seen in shades of pink, green, silver, blue and yellow as well. They can be round, oval and semi-baroque in shape.
These are grown in mussels in ponds and rivers in China, Japan, North America, and Europe. Their size ranges from 4 – 10 mm only and can have very high to very low quality of lustre. Triangle shelled mussel is the common freshwater type of pearl that can yield 30 – 40 pearls.
Southern sea pearls
Found in Australia, from the Indian Ocean to tropical western Pacific with a pearl size of 9-20 mm, they are the largest pearl yielding oysters. They can be seen around, oval, drop, semi-baroque, circle, and baroque shapes and in shades from white to golden. The southern sea pearls are known for their luster and subtle array of colours.
These pearls are produced by black-lipped oysters. They produce pearls of size 8-12 mm, twice the size of Akoya oyster. These are found in Baja to Peru- eastern Pacific.
The pearl size ranges from 8-12mm and has low shine and a range of metallic colours.