Types of Pearls
South Sea Pearls
Tahitian pearls form in the Tahitian black-lipped Pinctada margaritifera Oyster. In a black-lipped oyster, there is a thick band of black. If the pearl forms near this band the pearl will be black. Colors range from gray to black, shimmering with peacock green, gray, and purple overtones.
Hailing from Japan, Akoya Pearls are salt-water pearls. The most valued Akoya pearl colors are white and white with pink undertone that are round in shape and have no blemishes.
Though originally produced in Japan, 90% of the world’s freshwater pearls, formed in a freshwater mussel, now come from China. Supply is plentiful, as each shell can produce up to 100 pearls simultaneously. While typically irregular in color and shape, freshwater pearls are the most affordable of pearls.
Japanese Mabé, sometimes called blister pearls, are found in mussels and some oysters. They form on the inside of the shell, rather than in the tissue. The most desirable color is white with pink undertones, but dark, smoky, and blue colors are more desirable as ever.
Mother of Pearl
Mother of Pearl is the inner shell layer of the mollusc. It is iridescent in color. Most commonly white but also available in black.