- Feb 29, 2012
Could someone give me the TL;DR on what is the practical difference between a south sea and an Akoya pearl? Thank you.
Thank you both. That is exactly what I wanted to know.1. Luster. Akoya pearls have sharper, harder luster due to being farmed in cooler waters. The nacre crystals are smaller and are laid down more slowly. Rather like more pixels / higher resolution.
2. Size. Akoyas are smaller...the largest are about 10mm, whereas 10mm is on the small side for SSP, which get up to 20mm or so. The oyster in which akoyas are cultured are small, whereas for SSP it's Pinctada Maxima, a huge shell.
3. Nacre thickness. In akoyas, 0.5mm is considered very thick, while that would be thin for SSP, which typically have 1-2mm of nacre thickness.
4. Pre-treatments. Akoyas are typically bleached and pinked to remove undesirable gray or greenish colors, and then pinked (although those sold as "natural white akoyas" are neither.; they are just whiter naturally.) SSP typically do not receive this sort of treatment.
5. Scarcity. SSP are more rare. This, plus size, translates to higher prices.
You know, I am going on a cruise next month. Mikimoto at every stop!Mikimoto offers South Sea pearls & some of their jewelry pieces use both types. So if there's a Mikimoto boutique or authorized retailer within a convenient drive, that could be an easy way of comparing , in real life, the difference in luster for yourself:
(I personally prefer the "softer" luster, or gleam, of South Sea pearls, but I think I may be in the minority here on PS in that regard.)