a) Akoya pearls:
Prized for their brilliant lustre and rich color, Akoya Cultured Pearls are a traditional symbol of elegance and beauty. Produced by Japan´s Akoya oyster, they are the most popular of all Pearl types. Depending on the size of the mother oyster, they grow from 3-10 mm. Colours range from White, cream and pink to light Green, blue and silver.
b) Black South Sea Cultured Pearls (Tahiti Pearl):
The breathtaking color of these naturally black pearls is produced by black-lipped oysters in the waters off tahihi and Okinawa. Sizes begin at 8 mm, in round, oval, teardrop or unique baroque shapes.
While characterised as black, the rich, dark colours actually range from slate grey, silver and pistachio to peacock Green and midnight black with overtones of Green, rose or blue.
c) White South Sea Cultured Pearls:
The magnificent, satiny lustre of these fantastic White pearls is produced by the silver-lipped South Sea oyster. Their subdued opalescent appearance subtly changes under different light conditions, making them a constant marvel to behold. Harvested in sizes from 9mm upwards, theis shapes range from round, oval or teardrop to free-form baroque.
d) Freshwater Pearls:
Freshwater pearls are cultivated in mussels rather than oysters, and most of the world’s supply are farmed in the lakes, rivers and ponds of China, often along the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) river. The history of the Chinese Freshwater pearl is vast. It has been reported that in 2206 BC, pearls from fresh sources were already being paid as tributes, and descriptions about them can be seen in records such as the Chinese dictionary ‘Kangxizidian’, which dates back to the 18th century.
They are easier to grow than salt water pearls; one freshwater mussel can grow a multitude of pearls at a time, compared to salt water oysters that usually produce only one pearl. That said, the cultivation of Freshwater pearls is still a labour of love; mussels are often cultivated in farms in southern regions where pearl formation is faster, and then moved to northern farms (that have slower cultivation) to produce a compact nacre for better colour and lustre. They come in a range of colours including white, peach, pink and purple.