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The Wide World of Pearls, Our 105th Issue: What Are The Differences Between Akoya and Freshwater Pearls?


Pearls of Joy Pearl Quote of the Week: "If you roll a pearl around your mouth it slowly reveals the dreams of oysters, memories of the Sea." -  Chloe Thurlow



Eye Candy

Weekly Eye Candy Spotlight: Pumpkin Colored Baroque Freshwater Pearls



These freeform Freshwater baroque pearls pack a colorful punch. They take the term "peach" and rev it all the way into actual pumpkin - perfect for October!


You Asked ...

Every day we receive questions from customers all over the world about pearls. We decided to post our answers here for every one to read!


What Are The Differences Between Akoya and Freshwater Pearls?

Choose Akoya or Freshwater Pearls



We Answer:

You’re out shopping for the perfect white pearls, and things are going good but then come to a screeching halt.

All of a sudden you realize: Should I Buy Freshwater or the Akoya pearls?!

It’s an almost agonizing question, and one that can be difficult to answer. No one wants to have their options limited but we also don’t want to spend the next year figuring it out!


Learn About Akoya Pearls


Akoya Pearls

Cultured Akoya pearls are the first major pearl type all pearl shoppers should know about. These are the pearls that most people think of when they close their eyes and think of a pearl necklace.

Akoya pearls can be distinguished by their small to moderate sizes, mirror-like or ball-bearing glossy luster, perfectly round shape and near-perfect matching throughout a necklace, bracelet or pair of earrings.

Akoya pearls are grown in the pinctada fucata martensii pearl oyster in Japan. Some varieties were grown in China (especially the smaller sizes under 7.5mm) and colorful Akoya in natural shades of blue and gold are cultured in Vietnam. However, the vast, vast majority of Akoya pearls you'll come across today derive from Japan. 


Akoya Pearl Facts

Pearl Sizes . . .  Akoya pearls range in size from 2.0-3.0mm up through 9.0-9.5mm, and very rarely, 9.5-10.0mm. 

Pearl Colors . . . Traditional Akoya pearl colors are most famously white, but also include natural Silvery-Blue and even Golden hues.

Common Treatments . . . Dyed black Akoya pearls are also very common, and feature a very distinct Midnight Blue-Black color. 

Pearl Shapes . . . The most valuable and traditional Akoya pearl shape is a true, perfect Round, but free form Baroque shapes are also available. 

Price Range . . . Prices range from $75 to the high thousands, depending on the jewelry type, size and quality of the pearls. 

Good To Know . . . The BEST Akoya pearls are known as “Hanadama” Akoya which in Japanese means “Flower Pearls”.


 Learn About Freshwater Pearls


Freshwater Pearls

Cultured Freshwater pearls are from China, and are grown in freshwater ponds, lakes and rivers as well as man-made aquaculture ponds that growers use to also raise fish.
Freshwater pearls range a little higher in size than saltwater Akoya pearls but not by much! Their largest sizes are generally top out around 11.5-12.0mm or so. These pearls are tissue-nucleated meaning that a tiny piece of mantle tissue is used to irritate the mussel into forming a pearl sac and begin the pearl creation process.
In recent years, pearl farmers have begun experimenting with bead nucleating their pearls in order to create larger, perfectly round pearls that can compete with South Sea pearls ... these are called "Edison" pearls, and have many subsets and brilliant colors, with sizes reaching up to 16.0mm! However these are still considered collector's items and are not easily available (or affordable!) for the general public. 

Freshwater Pearl Facts


Pearl Sizes . . . Freshwater pearls range in size from 2.0-3.0mm up through 11.0-12.0mm, with new experimental varieties attaining sizes of 14.0-15.0mm! 

Pearl Colors  . . . The Freshwater pearl mussel produces a variety of natural colors, most typically pastel shades of pink, peach, lavender and white. 

Common Treatments . . . Dyed black Freshwater pearls are commonly referred to as Peacock due to their highly iridescent blue-green and violet hues. Other dyed Freshwater pearl colors include red, gold, green, purple, blue and pink. 

Pearl Shapes . . . The most valuable Freshwater pearl shape is as close to a true round as possible, but symmetrical and free form Baroque shapes are also widely available. 

Price Range . . . Prices range from $30 to the high thousands, depending on the jewelry type, size and quality of the pearls.

Good To Know . . . MOST cultured Freshwater pearls are “tissue-nucleated” meaning that a small, 1.0mm square piece of donor mantle tissue is used as the nuclei to begin pearl cultivation inside the mussel. As the pearl grows, the donor tissue degrades, leaving a pearl that is nearly 100% solid crystalline nacre. This means that Freshwater pearls are VERY durable!


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Featured Pearls 


 Weekly Product Spotlight: White Akoya Pearl Necklace 8.5-9.0mm



White Akoya Pearl Necklace, 8.5-9.0mm

Decadence for the decolletage is this 8.5-9 mm white Japanese Akoya pearl necklace. Its reflective luster is stunning in whichever overtone you choose: silver, rose, or ivory. Take pleasure in the graceful transition of wearing these pearls from day to night.

Available in AAA grade quality, all our strands are hand-knotted between each pearl for security. The pearls in this necklace are strung with 100% silk thread and finished with a 14K white or yellow gold clasp.


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