South Sea pearls are considered the "Rolls Royce" of saltwater pearls. Grown in warm waters of Australia, The Philippines and Indonesia, they are also some of the rarest and most valued pearls in the world.
South Sea pearls are some of the rarest and most valued pearls in the world. They are distinguished predominantly by their large size and are generally the largest cultured pearls on the market. The majority of South Sea cultured pearls are about 13.0 mm in diameter, whereas most Akoya cultured pearls are 6.0 mm to 7.0 mm.
South Sea pearls are cultured in the warm South Sea waters of Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar (formerly Burma), and Thailand, with sixty percent of South Sea pearls coming from Australia.
South Sea pearls come from Pinctada Maxima oysters of either the gold-lipped or silver-lipped variety. The gold-lipped variety produces corresponding pearls of "golden" body color (yellow to yellowish orange); the silver-lipped variety produces pearls with white or cream body color.
Due to the warm climate and longer harvest time, South Sea pearls have exceptionally thick nacre ranging from 2.0 mm to 6.0 mm. The thicker layers of nacre in South Sea pearls create more of a satiny luster than the mirror-like sharpness of an Akoya pearl. They tend to glow from within rather than reflect.
South Sea pearls are not treated or bleached in any way post harvest and are prized for their unusual natural body color
South Sea pearls generally range in size from 10.0 mm to 15.0 mm but can reach upwards of 20mm. These sizes are considerably larger then Akoya or Freshwater. Because of this, South Sea Pearls never go unnoticed. Their size ranges make them unique and create lasting impressions.
South Sea pearls come in unique shades of colors ranging from a bright white to a deep yellowish orange. 90 percent of South Sea pearls produced are white, cream or silver. They can exhibit overtones of rose, green and blue. The overtone on a South Sea pearl is usually less apparent than the body color. South Sea Pearl's most striking characteristics are their unusual color and larger size. They represent the most expensive pearls on the market.
This system grades pearls on a scale from A to AAA.
|AAA||Round to the eye. Brilliant luster, 80-90% free of any blemishes or marks.|
|AA||Medium luster with surface defects over not more than 60% of the surface area.|
|A||Noticeably off round. Very little to no luster, 70-90% free of any blemishes or marks.