Pearl Education

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Pearl Education

Nearly all pearls sold today are cultured pearls. Cultured pearls are a product of pearl farmers helping nature. Several inventors at the beginning of the 20th century discovered techniques of pearl cultivation.

Cultured pearls can be from saltwater or freshwater mollusks. Pearl farmers introduce a shell bead into the oyster or mussel and the mollusk deposits layers of nacre around the bead. Many people use the term cultured pearls to refer only to pearls produced from saltwater oysters. However, the process to make freshwater pearls is the same. The correct usage is freshwater cultured pearls or saltwater cultured pearls.

Pearl Type

At Haniken Jewelers we are offering a variety of cultured pearls. Choose from Freshwater, Akoya, South Sea and Tahitian types of pearls.

Freshwater Pearl
While most pearls are cultured in oysters that live in salty sea water, freshwater pearls are cultivated in mussels that live in the freshwater lakes, ponds and streams of China. Using a special harvesting process, a number of pearls can be produced by a single mussel.



Akoya pearls are the most popular and classic of white pearls. They are the also most lustrous of all cultured pearls and boast the greatest shine. Akoya pearls are cultured from saltwater mollusks in Japan and China called Pinctada Fucata. An Akoya pearl larger than 7mm is considered extremely rare and jumps significantly in price.

South Sea Pearl

South Sea pearls are cultured in the northern waters of Australia, Southeast Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines. These pearls are produced by the silver-lipped or gold-lipped variety of the Pinctada Maxima oyster.

Tahitian Pearl

Tahitian pearls are known for their unique dark color and large size. They are typically cultured in either the French Polynesian lagoons or the Cook Islands. Tahitian pearls are produced by the large black-lipped variety of the Pinctada Margaritifera oyster.

Freshwater Pearl Color: Depending on the mussel, what the mussel is fed, and the minerals in the local water, freshwater pearls can vary in color from white, purple, lavender and pink, to peach, plum and tangerine.

Akoya Pearl Color: Akoya pearls can display a rose, gold or blueish hue, but are typically white with a rose overtone.

Tahitian Pearl Color: Although they are frequently referred to as black pearls, Tahitian pearls come in a wide array of dark purple, green, gray, silver and blueish hues.

South Sea Pearl Color: South Sea pearls have the largest range of color, with the silver-lipped oysters producing pearls with overtones of silvery white or bluish white and gold-lipped oysters producing pearls with overtones of gold, cream or silver.

Freshwater Pearl Size:
Ranging in size from 2-16mm in diameter, their average size is 7-8mm.

Akoya Pearls Size:
They can range from 2mm to 11 mm in diameter, though the average size is 6-7mm.

Tahitian Pearl Size:
Ranging in size from 8-16mm in diameter, the average size of a Tahitian pearl is 9-10mm, making it a bit smaller than the South Sea pearl, but larger than the Akoya.

South Sea Pearl Size:
They are also the largest variety of cultured pearls, ranging from 9-20mm in diameter, with an average size of 11-13mm. In addition to their size, they are also notable for their smooth, round form.

Quartz is the most versatile gem family, spanning the spectrum from well known gems like purple amethyst, green amethyst and golden citrine, to lesser known varieties like chocolate brown smoky quartz, pink rose de france amethyst, lemon quartz, rose quartz, and clear rock crystal, which we group under quartz. As beautiful as it is affordable, quartz is an irresistible addition to your jewelry wardrobe. All quartz gemstones are durable and suitable for everyday wear. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the gem where dust can collect.

Freshwater Pearl Shape:
Freshwater pearls are typically not as round, lustrous or shiny as other cultured pearls, however, they are considerably more durable.

Akoya Pearl Shape:
Overall, Akoya cultured pearls are the most even in size, color and shape, which is why they are such popular fine jewelry adornments.

Tahitian Pearl Shape:
Most Tahitian Pearls are 8-14mm. However, less than half of Tahitian pearls are actually round or near round. About 20% are symmetrical, meaning an oval, button, or drop shape and the remaining are baroque and semi-baroque.

South Sea Pearl Shape:

Due to their remarkable size and shape, their beautiful satin finish, the rarity of the Pinctada Maxima oyster, and the sensitivity of these oysters during harvest, the South Sea pearls are the most expensive cultured pearls on the market.

Pearl Jewelry Care
When taking off pearls, wipe them with clean lint-free cloth. The cloth may be dry or damp. Let the pearls dry before you put them away. Pearls can be cleaned with mild soap, never use anything that contains ammonia or strong detergents. Do not use abrasive cloth. This may wear away the nacre that gives its shine. Do not use ultrasonic cleaner. Take off pearl rings before putting on lotion or cream. Put on pearls after applying makeup and perfume.


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