Akoya means saltwater in Japanese. In the early 1900s, the Japanese first developed the cultivation of saltwater pearls.
Akoya pearls are produced in Akoya Oyster(also called Pinctada Fucata Oyster). They are mainly grown in ocean salt waters of Japan and China.
Akoya Pearl Value
Akoya pearls are considered valuable because their production rate is fairly low in comparison with the bounty of the freshwater pearl harvest. Only one nucleus can be inserted into an Akoya oyster, and the successful production rate is only 20%. Among all the produced Akoya pearls, only 5-10% of them are high quality pearls.
Akoya Pearl Size
Akoya pearls range from 2-10mm in size. Suitable for a work environment, small pearls are more subdued while larger pearls can achieve a luxurious look. Akoya pearls over 9mm are very rare and they command a top price in the market.
Akoya Pearl Color
Colors of Akoya pearls include body color and overtone color (or hue color). Body colors are white, cream, pink, yellow, golden and silver. Overtone color is one or two colors that overlie the body color. You can see overtone colors in the central areas of the pearls under light. Overtone colors include pink and green. The most desirable color is white with pink overtones because it flatters the widest range of skin tones. Akoya pearls have the most beautiful combination of body and overtone colors among all pearls.
Pearl Luster and Nacre
Akoya pearls contain Calcium Carbonate (CaCo3) (91.6%), water (4%) and other organic materials (4%). Thousands of layers of thin calcium carbonate crystals form Akoya pearl nacre. Nacre thickness affects color, luster and durability of an Akoya pearl. If an Akoya pearl has a thick coating of nacre, its beauty will last a life time.
Akoya Pearl Shape
The basic shape for Akoya pearls is round. Round is considered the best shape, followed by semi-round, semi-baroque and baroque.
Akoya Pearls are Popular
Akoya pearls are the most popular among all types of pearls. They are highly valued for their rich color, radiant deep luster and appealing roundness.
Seven factors determine the value of Akoya pearls: luster, nacre thickness, surface quality, size, shape, color, and pearl matching.
High quality Akoya pearls possess a mirror-like finish, radiant brilliance, very clean and smooth surface, and perfectly round shape.