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Enrich Yours Knowledge of South Sea Pearl


South Sea pearls are refered to pearls that originate in southeast Asia, Indonesia, Persian gulf, the south Pacific and Australia. South Sea pearl is extremely favored by consumers. They are mainly cultivated in the biggest oyster in the world.


History of South Sea Pearl Cultivation

south sea pearl jewelry


Sourcing from the silver-lipped and gold-lipped 'Pinctada Maxima' oyster of Australia's waters, South Sea pearls have been searched for by aboriginal fishermen who dove for the oysters to use their meat, shell and pearls. However, by the late 1800s ustralia's natural South Sea pearl resource had depleted. Fortunately, a new method that revitalized Australia's South Sea pearl industry as well as pearl production was found off the north-eastern coast of Australia.

William Saville-Kent, the British marine biologist, made great contribution to the technique of forming a new kind of pearls. That is to graft one oyster's mantle tissue and insert with a nucleus of shell into another oyster's mantle. As a result, a pearl sack and nacre was produced, with the latter that covering the nucleus to form a spherical pearl.

In 1916, The Japanese entrepreneurs, Tokishi Nishikawa and Mikimoto Kokichi, joined forces to produce in a large scale by using Saville-Kent's technique to cultivate the Akoya 'Pinctada Fucata' pearl oyster, which marked the beginnings of a boom in Japan's pearl industry. By 1935 Japan had produced more than 10,000,000 cultured pearls.


The Five Virtues of Fine Pearls

There are five most important grading factors to consider when selecting and evaluating South Sea pearl product; natural size, natural luster, natural shape, natural color, and natural surface.

The most obvious factor associated with South Sea pearls is their size. South Sea pearls are often grow as large as 22 mm with their average natural size 13 mm. When all other grading factors are equal, the larger the pearl the more valuable it is.

Natural luster is used to refer to the quality and quantity of light reflected from the surface of a South Sea pearl. Due to the thickness (0.5 to 1.5 microns) and coarseness of the aragonite platelets of which the pearl is composed, the luster of it isn’t typically as sharp or bright as that of an akoya pearl. But South Sea pearls have a warmer, more muted luster, enable them to used as elegant and regal attributes. The higher and sharper the luster is , the more valuable a south sea pearl is.

The shape of a South Sea pearl is also very vital in evaluating its quality. South Sea pearl generally have a very thick nacre layer, often up to 5 mm, which makes a difference in making variation in the natural shape of the pearl as a result. Commonly, round pearls or tear-drop shapes are quite rare. They always come in button, oval, drop, baroque or circled shapes. The more perfect the shape, the more valuable the pearl.

Color of South Sea pearls are another important factor. It can be divided into body color and overtone. Body color is the main color of the pearl while overtone is the secondary color that floats on the surface of the pearl. South Sea pearls are always bright white, silver and deep gold, including rare color combinations such as white and silver pink.

More visible natural surface blemishing will be causeed because of the thick nacre layers of a South Sea pearl rather than in other bead-nucleated pearl types, such as akoya pearls. However, there are rare perfectly clean pearls. pearls usually have three kinds of surfaces: exceptional skin, fine skin, and marked skin.


South Sea pearls are the rarest and most valuable of all cultured pearls sold today. Therefore if you want to own a South Sea pearl, you must make sure that you have conducted a thorough research.


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