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What are Akoya Pearls?

Apr 19, 2017

If pearls are the Queen of the gem world, the Akoya pearl is the Queen of the Queens. It’s often called the perfect pearl. Produced by oysters native to Southeast Asia, Akoyas thrive in the cooler saltwater oceans off the coast of Japan, China and other parts of Southeast Asia and are usually harvested during […]

Ben Bridge Jeweler

If pearls are the Queen of the gem world, the Akoya pearl is the Queen of the Queens. It’s often called the perfect pearl. Produced by oysters native to Southeast Asia, Akoyas thrive in the cooler saltwater oceans off the coast of Japan, China and other parts of Southeast Asia and are usually harvested during winter months in order to produce pearls with the best quality nacre.

Akoya pearls are some of the most beautiful pearls on earth because of their deep luster, rich color and round shape. But in order to harvest Akoya pearls farmers have to be patient because Akoya pearls can take longer to produce than other pearls.

The Akoya pearl was the first type of pearl that Akiko Mikimoto, an early pioneer in the pearl industry, began experimenting with in the late 1800’s when he tried to cultured pearls.

These were also the pearls that eventually revolutionized the jewelry world when Mikimoto succeeded. He experimented with implanting various seed pearls made from wood to different metals into oysters until he succeeded with seed pearls made from shells of mussels.

Those same techniques, invented more than 100 years ago are still in play today, and nearly all of the seed pearls used in cultivated pearls come from the same source, mussel shells harvested in or around the Tennessee River in America.

The Chinese began trying to cultivate Akoya pearls in the late 1950’s and while it has taken them a while to equal the quality of the Japanese cultivation techniques, the qualities of Akoya from both countries are about equal today, with larger Akoya pearls still coming from Japan, and the smaller sizes coming from China.

Learn more about Pearls

Saltwater Vs. Freshwater Pearls

Tahitian Pearls

South Sea Pearls

Mikimoto Pearls

Shop for Akoya Pearls >

 

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