Characteristics and value of pearls are usually identified by their size, luster, and surface. Size is usually measured in millimeters. Luster is the amount of reflection due to the natural skin of the pearl. The amount of blemish also affects the value of the pearl.
Most Freshwater pearls come from China but also from Japan. Those are known as Akoya. They are the product of an elaborate process in which a single resilient mussel can be harvested many times, yielding several pearls at a time. Our pearls are of good levels of quality usually set in 18k and 14k gold.
South Sea cultured pearls are exceptional quality pearls from the South Sea with a whitish, almost silver color.
They are known for the size. They are much larger than the average pearl, and the quality of smoothness and roundness of these pearls are supreme.
South Sea pearls come from the white-lipped variety of the pinctada maxima oyster. This oyster is much larger than the oysters that produce Akoya and Freshwater pearls, so the pearl is much larger as well. Cultivation of these pearls is much more difficult and rarer, making them more expensive.
These pearls are traditionally black, but their color can range from a metallic silver, to the color of graphite. Within this range of colors they can also a have bluish, purplish, or greenish overtones.
Tahitian cultured pearls are cultivated from the black-lipped variety of the pinctada maxima oyster which reaches a foot or more in diameter, and produces very large pearls. This oyster is very sensitive to the pearl culturing process, which makes the pearls very rare and beautiful.