Let's talk about South Sea Pearls

Let's talk about South Sea Pearls...

 What makes them so special & how do they compare to other types of pearls?

Good question! Lol! Like white South Sea pearls, Goldens are typically larger than other saltwater pearl varieties. The Golden's host shell is the largest pearl-producing oyster and is able to grow a huge pearl. Like other saltwater oysters, the Pinctada Maxima is nucleated with a single, nacreous bead. White and Golden South Sea pearls are both nucleated using a perfectly round mother-of-pearl bead nucleus. The nucleus is surgically placed into the gonad of the oyster, along with a tiny, 1.0mm square piece of donor mantle tissue from a different oyster. 

 However, the growth period for South Sea pearls is approximately 3-4 years, unlike the Akoya pearls, which develop in one to two years, and Tahitian pearls (also, single-nucleated) which develop in approximately two years, depending on the size. Both, South Sea and Tahitian mollusks (Pinctada margaritifera and Pinctada maxima) accept only one nucleus at a time. That's a long time to wait for a single pearl! But since they do not die at harvest - like the Chinese freshwater pearl producers which can produce up to 50 lower quality pearls at a time do - the Pinctada species may be re-nucleated. Yay!

Carved mother of pearl from the Silver Lip Pinctada Maxima - notice the lutrous overtones & rich colors! *Feel free to contact the store for more South Sea & Tahitian Pearls. Barb knows the right questions to ask, to find you The Perfect Pearls!

The value of a Golden South Sea pearl is heavily dependent upon the color; the deeper the golden color, the more valuable the pearl. The overall value of these pearls is much higher than Akoya or Tahitian, and very comparable to White South Sea pearls. The deepest golden color often referred to as 24 Karat, is considered the most valuable color of all South Sea pearls. Remember: Shape, surface texture & lustre play a big part in determining value, too!


Here are some of our incredible Tahitians - all, natural colors & WOW! ...Look at that chatoyance! 

Did you know that there's no standardly-recognized grading system in pearls? It's true! That's another reason to purchase from a reputable, trusted source... Also, there are sadly, plenty of folks on the internet, who are selling dyed freshwater pearls, as South Sea Goldens and Tahitians - they are not the same. In this case, it's a good rule of thumb that if it seems 'too cheap', it probably is.
Of all the cultured pearl varieties on the market today, South Sea pearls are the undisputed leaders in value. Their large size, combined with the relative scarcity, make them among the most desired as well. A perfect strand of deep golden South Sea pearls in a large size can sell for more than $100,000.
Pearls produced by the Gold-lip South Sea pearl oyster range in colors from a creamy white to deep gold. The varying hues in between are often referred to as yellow and champagne. Each of the colors may be beautiful in its own right, but the most valuable is gold. The color of course, is determined by the shell.
South Sea pearls are quite large, and they tend to have very thick nacre. For this reason, not all golden South Sea pearls are as perfectly spherical as other saltwater pearl varieties. In a typical pearl harvest, there will be a large number of drop pearls, button pearls, baroque pearls and circle or 'ringed' pearls.

Of course, personal preference is what matters most!
I actually once held an incredibly rare, Gem-quality, Round, 25mm Golden South Sea Pearl in my hand!! Pearls like that are sold loose & never drilled. Value: Well over $100k... Needless to say, I'm still saving up for that one! Lol!
While White South Sea pearls predominately come from Australia, golden South Sea pearls are now primarily grown in the Philippines and Indonesia, with Australia making up only a small percentage. I myself just learned this recently... I'm so grateful for the endlessly fascinating world of jewelry & pearls - I learn something new, every day!

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