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Common Knowledge of Akoya Pearls

Having been a jewelry staple for centuries, as a matter of fact, pearls were one of the first natural gems ever to be discovered. Thanks to their simplicity and classic beauty, pearls enjoy a great amount of popularity throughout the years. Naturally, pearls themselves are formed within oysters. At the beginning of the 1900's, a way that enabled pearls, specifically akoya pearls, to be predictably harvested, was created. Over time, cultured akoya pearls became known for their superior beauty and luster.

No matter cultured or occurring naturally, all pearls are formed in the exact same way within an oyster. When introduced within the shell of an oyster a small grain of sand or small parasite, it will cause a small cyst to form. The oyster then responds by secreting a substance know as nacre will build up slowly within the cyst. This milky white substance is extremely hard, comprising the actual pearl itself.

akoya pearls


Pearls were discovered merely by chance before pearl farming began. In the 1900's, however, a gentleman, whose name was Kokichi Mikimoto, changed all that. Mr. Mikimoto created a method of pearl culturing which predictably forced the creation of a pearl within the actual oyster itself.

This did take Mr. Mikimoto many years. He finally perfected a technique for creating a perfectly round pearl. According to hs new method, a live oyster would be carefully opened and a small round piece of shell would be placed within the body of the oyster itself. After this nucleation process was completed, the oyster would then be placed back in the sea for a period of time while the pearl formed.

As the culturing process continued to be perfected, the akoya oysters, a specific species of oyster, was discovered that know as produced the best quality cultured pearls. The akoya oyster is found naturally near the southern coast of Japan. Pearl farmers now raise these oysters in hatcheries. Therefore, all of the aspects of their growth and habitat can be carefully monitored.

akoya pearls


It takes about 10 to 18 months for a cultured pearl to fully form within an oyster. Nonetheless, the culturing process itself is not always successful. As oysters can be very fragile creatures, the oyster does not even survive the process of nucleation most of the time. However, once successful, the end result can be well worth the wait.

Of all cultured pearls, akoya pearls are believed to have the highest luster and quality. Off the coast of Japan where these oysters are primarily found, the ocean temperatures are often 10 to 15 degrees, which is cooler than other locations where pearls are farmed and cultured. People believe that these cooler temperatures will cause the oyster to secrete the nacre coating more slowly, resulting in the formation of a harder and more compact pearl. The compact structure allows more light to reflect off its surface, which leads to a more beautiful and lustrous finish.

There is only one percent of pearls sold in the market found naturally occurring in the wild. The other 99 percent sold are cultured varieties. When presented with a beautiful, quality cultured pearl, it is easy to see why these gems have become so popular. With the help of these beautiful akoya pearls, every woman can be stunning.

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