South Sea PearlsSouth Sea pearls are the largest, rarest and most expensive of all pearl types.
White and Golden South Sea pearls are the ultimate in luxury cultured pearl jewelry.
South Sea pearls are characterized by their large size and warm luster. South Sea pearls grow inside a large white-lipped oyster called Pinctada Maxima, which has roughly the size of a dinner plate. This mother of pearl or nacre is responsible for the color of the pearls that the oyster can produce. Water temperature, plankton and sediments determine which color variety is more common in a given area.
South Sea pearls are measured in whole millimeter increments; the most popular sizes are 9.0-10.0mm, 10.0-11.0mm and 11.0-12.0mm for earrings and pendants.
South Sea pearl necklaces typically feature a marked graduation rate, usually about 3.0-5.0mm in range.
The highest quality White South Sea pearls are cultured in Western Australia in the silver-lipped Pinctada maxima saltwater oyster which can grow up to 12-inches in diameter.
Growth times for South Sea pearls average about 3 years from the time of nucleation to harvest, which allows the oyster to lay down very thick nacre layers around the nucleus, creating lustrous pearls that are known for their soft, somewhat satiny appearance.
|White South Sea pearls feature natural white body colors that range from deep cream to a bright, neutral white, and the most common overtones include cream, silver and rose, which is the most rare and valued.|
The natural golden color of Golden South Sea pearls ranges from a pale Champaign to a deep 24k golden tone, which are very rare and highly valued. Common overtones for Golden South Sea pearls include bronze, gold, silver, green and rose.
|Both Golden and White South Sea pearls come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. From the classic smooth rounds to symmetrical drops and highly asymmetrical baroque shapes, these large and rare pearls offer something for everyone to enjoy.|
Tatsuhei Mise was the founder who commenced pearl culture with the South Sea pearl oyster in 1916. The project was discontinued at the beginning of WWII before significant productions of pearls were achieved. After WWII, new south sea pearl projects were commenced in the early 1950s cultivated in the tropical lagoons at Kuri Bay and Port Essington in Australia. Japanese companies were involved in all projects using technicians from the original Mitsubishi -Tatsuhei Mise South Sea pre-war projects.
Kuri Bay is now the location of one of the largest and most well-known pearl farms owned by Paspaley, the biggest producer of South Sea pearls in the world. In the past two decades, cultured pearls have been produced using larger oysters in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.
In 2013, Indonesia supplied 43 percent of South Sea Pearls international market. The other significant producers are Australia, Philippines, Myanmar Malaysia, Burma, Fiji and Tahiti.