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South sea vs akoya

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 29, 2012
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9,145
Could someone give me the TL;DR on what is the practical difference between a south sea and an Akoya pearl? Thank you.
 

EC8

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 19, 2006
Messages
224
Besides size? Akoya’s basically top out at the bottom of SS, around 8-9mm.
 

pearlsngems

Brilliant_Rock
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Jan 4, 2010
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1,160
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.
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 29, 2012
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9,145
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.
Thank you both. That is exactly what I wanted to know.:wavey:
 

cmd2014

Ideal_Rock
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Aug 6, 2014
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2,460
Also, SS tend to be more white (true white, white). Akoya are almost all pinked, which makes them look white on the neck, but they can have quite a pink overtone. Even the Natural White ones sold by PP that are not pinked have a natural degree of pinkness to the white.
 

pearlsngems

Brilliant_Rock
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SSP colors are on a spectrum ranging from silvery white to white to cream to yellow to gold. Some SSP have more than one color-- part may be white, part cream or part cream, part yellowish. The value varies with the color. Silvery and cream are less valuable than white; yellow is less valuable than gold. Light gold is less valuable than deep gold. However, you should get the color that suits you most.
 

MollyMalone

Ideal_Rock
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Jun 2, 2013
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2,999
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:
https://www.mikimotoamerica.com/mikimoto-boutiques
https://www.mikimotoamerica.com/authorized-retailers

(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.)
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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9,145
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:
https://www.mikimotoamerica.com/mikimoto-boutiques
https://www.mikimotoamerica.com/authorized-retailers

(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.)
You know, I am going on a cruise next month. Mikimoto at every stop!
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Aug 14, 2009
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20,092
14-17mm SSs from Graff - visiting with LLJsmom :kiss2:

They were insanely lustrous - and at that size... I didn’t ask how much they cost :mrgreen2:

B6CA8AD9-F96A-4823-81BA-AF54B6D0064D.jpeg
 

Hounddog

Brilliant_Rock
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Oct 7, 2015
Messages
572
Great question and answers, thank you for asking, I’ve learnt a lot.
I quite fancy some more pearls, I have a lovely inherited classic white necklace and a Grey/Silver Tahitian pearl pendant...but so far no earrings! Wink..wink!
 

amoline

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 11, 2018
Messages
323
There was a beautiful strand at the Mikimoto store when I went to Las Vegas this summer - it was somewhere in the 13-16mm size gradation I think - and it was $150,000.

Just to give you an idea. :shock:
 
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