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freshwater pearls


Freshwater pearls encompass all types of pearls cultured in mussels from rivers or freshwater lakes. Some varieties of mussels can accommodate up to 60 pearl grafts at a time. These beads vary between 1mm (seed pearl) and 30 mm for very large baroques. Several shapes of freshwater pearls are available on the market such as: round, semi-round, potato, button, semi-baroque, baroque, keshi, fireball, as well as certain shapes cultured using preformed cores such as pellets, hearts, stars or flowers. They are found in white, cream to slightly silvery to a wide variety of shades of pink, purplish and coral. China is   to date, and by far, the largest producer of freshwater pearls although they are also found on very small scales, among others, in Japan, the United States States and Vietnam.



Akoya pearls


Cultured saltwater pearls from the Akoya oyster (Pinctada fucata martensii). These pearls are typically round, with a color varying from very pale pink to white, to more or less pronounced cream and rarely to bluish grey. On the market, we mainly find Akoya pearls between 6 and 8 mm although they exist between 4 and 9 mm and exceptionally up to 11 mm. Japan is the main producer of Akoya pearls, but Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam and Sri Lanka also produce them in smaller quantities. The term " Japanese pearl " usually refers to this type of pearl.



South Sea Pearls


In general, this term refers to all saltwater pearls produced in the region between the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and French Polynesia.   However, South Sea pearls mainly represent pearls from oysterspinctada maxima. You might also hear the term gold-lipped or silver-lipped oyster to describe this same mollusk. These pearls are usually large (between 8 and 19 mm) and vary in color from white, to silvery white,  to gray and golden white up to bright gold. The main producing countries are Burma and Australia.


Tahitian pearls


Also called black pearls, Tahitian pearls exist in a wide variety of natural colors, ranging from very light gray (even sometimes white) to very dark gray through a wide variety of colored reflections: green, golden, copper, bluish, pink or purplish.   These pearls come from oysterspinctada margaritiferaand as the name suggests, is found primarily in French Polynesia. It is usually found between 8 and 18 mm, but more frequently between 9 and 12 mm.   Although we are recently seeing Tahitian pearls on the market between 6 and 8 mm, these sizes are still rare and marginal.


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