South Sea Pearls
One of the most beautiful pearls, they are cherished for their pearl luster and beauty. Cultivated in the large white-lipped, silver-lipped or golden-lipped variety of the pinctada maxima oyster, these are the rarest and largest pearls in the world.
South Sea Pearls Come from Australia Coasts
Harvested from the waters off Australia coasts, Pinctada Maxima, the oysters that grow South Sea pearls, are the largest and rarest oysters in the world. These special oysters produce the most beautiful nacre and the smoothest pearls. Pinctada Maxima oysters only exist in a small area known as 'the South Sea', which includes the Indian Ocean around Northern Australia, Southern Indonesia and the Southern Philippines. With the world’s cleanest coasts, north Australia is the area that produces the loveliest South Sea pearls.
South Sea Pearls - The Ultimate Pearl Present
These pearls are huge, beautiful, exceptional in quality and therefore command a slightly higher price than other pearls. . With their luminous cream, gold, and white, hues, they are perhaps the loveliest of all pearls. Tending to be exceptionally large, these gems have mirror-like, flawless surfaces. The rarest of all pearls, the golden South Sea is especially stunning and chic.
The Colors of South Sea Pearls
Cultured south sea pearls come in an array of shades that include whitish, almost silver color, or white with silver overtones. While the commonly available colors are white, silver, cream and golden, these pearls can also come in shades of yellow or blue-gray with pink or green overtones. However selective customers may like to know that among all colors, the natural golden shade of South Sea pearls considered the rarest and most valuable.
South Sea Pearls' Size
As the oyster that produces South Sea pearls is much larger than oysters that produce Akoya pearls and Freshwater pearls, the pearl produced is of a larger size, too. Their sizes ranges from 10mm to 15mm or at times up to 20mm too. These South Sea pearls are thus much larger than average pearls, a factor that makes them highly prized.
South Sea Pearls, the "Noble Pearls"
Due to their unparalleled quality, South Sea pearls have been termed “noble pearls” and called “the queen of all cultured pearls.” An oyster takes roughly three years to produce a pearl. The end product is huge with thicker nacre, smoother and of rounder shape than an average pearl’s. Their quality is also revealed by the thick, nacreous coating of the pearl.
Costs of South Sea Pearls
The South Sea oyster itself is also rare and sensitive, thriving only in warm, deep, unpolluted waters. Since it takes so long for each pearl to produce an oyster and because of their rarity, South Sea pearls tend to be more expensive than other cultured pearls.
Origin of South Sea Pearls
Primarily cultivated in, the waters of North Australia, the Philippines and Indonesia, South Sea pearls are cultivated for nearly three years, the thick nacre accumulating layer by layer. Buyers must be careful not to mistake these South Sea pearls with Black South sea pearls that are found from the waters of Tahiti and French Polynesia. The distinction between the two types of pearls lies in the oyster they are cultivated in. Read about Pearl Cultivation.
South sea pearls are considered the queen of all cultured pearls today because of their beauty and rarity. If you are seeking pearls that are extraordinary, chic, and exotic, South Sea pearls are the best bet.
Sizes and Shapes of South Sea Pearls
South Sea pearls are the largest pearls in the world. Due to the thickness of nacre produced by their shells, the South Sea pearl is also famous for the variety of unique and desirable shapes often found. The shapes of South Sea pearls include round, teardrop, semi-round and baroque. Each one is unique product of nature.
The Rarity of South Sea Pearls
Pinctada Maxima oysters are the rarest oysters in the world. They only exist on an extremely limited number of shell beds found in the warm tropical seas sometimes referred to as the South Sea. Pinctada Maxima oysters are solitary and sensitive. They won't survive in densely populated communities. The oyster shell beds are located in deep waters of extremely remote locations. South Sea pearl oysters produce thick nacre surrounding pearl nucleus only when they are presented with ideal natural conditions.
The Australian government has a strict control over production of pearls. Each oyster is issued a license number. Only a limited number of oysters are cultivated each year.
South Sea pearls require the most labor intensive cultivating process of all pearls.
Cultured South Sea pearls account only for 1% of whole global productions of cultured pearls.
Colors of South Sea Pearls
South Sea pearls come with a wide range of beautiful colors: white, silver, cream, yellow and deep gold. They also display a special overtone color including pink, blue or green. Dark blue South Sea pearls are very rare and they can be called "black pearls". The colors of South Sea pearl are totally natural.
Distinctive Characteristics of South Sea Pearls
South Sea pearls are distinguished from all other pearls by their magnificent thick natural nacre. The nacre produces an unequalled luster - a luster that not only delivers shininess as with other pearls - but a complex luster which resembles a soft creamy voluptuous appearance which changes mood under different light conditions.
Value of South Sea Pearls
Due to the extremely thick nacre of South Sea pearls, their quality is similar to a natural pearl's. The fineness of nacre has big impact on the value of South Sea pearls. Other factors such as pearl size, shape, color also determine the pearl's value.
How to buy South Sea Pearls
Five factors need to be considered when buying South Sea pearls: pearl luster, size, shape, color and surface.
Luster is the most important factor in determining a pearl’s value. A pearl’s luster gives the pearl iridescence and depth. Luster is determined by the thickness of pearl nacre. Very lustrous pearls have a deep-mirror like surface and bright shininess. Pearls with low luster look dull. South Sea pearls possess a thick, creamy nacre and are famous for their rich and silky luster.
Shapes of South Sea pearls include round, teardrop, semi-round, circle, oval and baroque. Perfect round and teardrop shapes are extremely rare and are the most valuable. Though other shapes are less valuable, they do have their own unique appeal. Baroque pearls, for instance, are popular for their uniqueness, size and casual character.
The general rule is: the cleaner the surface, the more valuable the pearl is. Flawless South Sea pearls are very rare and they command a high price. As pearls are a natural creation, they tend to have some natural imperfections. When buying South Sea pearl jewelry, examine the pearl surface carefully. Avoid big flaws on the surface.
Most common sizes for South Sea Pearls are 10-15mm. South Sea pearl farmers have begun to cultivate smaller pearls down to 7mm to capture more of the Japanese market. South Sea pearls in 16mm-20mm are very rare and they are extremely valuable.
Body colors of South Sea pearls include warm white, silver, cream, yellow and sparkling gold. Overtone colors include pink, blue and green. Combinations of the most beautiful and rarest colors such as white- pink, silver- pink and deep gold are the most south-after colors. South Sea pearls in these color ranges command a top price in the market.