What’s the difference between Freshwater, Akoya, South Sea, and Tahitian Pearls?
Fresh Water Pearls are the most popular of all categories since they come in a wide range of sizes (from teeny tiny ones at 1.5mm to 13mm, and in rare cases up to 20mm!) and shapes (ranging from round-off round to free form). As the name suggests, they are usually cultured in lakes and ponds, and they exhibit a softer luster than Akoya pearls. Their colour is naturally white, although some of them show a bit of a pastel colour at times. Most coloured Freshwater pearls in the world go through a colour enhancement process, which doesn’t fade with normal wear and gives you endless options when customizing pearl jewellery.
Akoya Pearls are originary from Japan. They are the most famous saltwater pearls! They have a perfectly round shape, with the exception of baroque akoya pearls, which are off round (equally as beautiful). They also possess an exquisite luster that reflects blue/green or pink undertones. Their sizes range from 3mm to 10mm, and they naturally come in white, cream, blue, and silver colours. Commonly incorporated in Necklaces, akoya pearls are a staple for a classy ladies’ wardrobe.
South Sea Pearls are saltwater pearls predominantly harvested in the Philippines, Australia, and Indonesia. They are one of the largest saltwater pearls; measuring from 8mm to 20mm, being 10mm-13mm the most common sizes. They reach these sizes thanks to their long growth periods. Their price is higher than any of the other two groups due to the critical conditions in which they grow; time, quantity per oyster and weather, are the most common factors that drive the bucks high, but it is absolutely worth it once you experience their silky luster and majesty. Oh and did I mention they naturally come in white AND gold colours? Beauty!
Tahitian Pearls AKA black pearls are ONLY found in the French Polynesia. They come in 8mm up to 14mm, with a body colour in deep grey, brown, and black. Some pieces show an attractive “peacock” reflection, like a rainbow inside your pearl! They owe their colours to a very special mollusk called “Pinctada margaritifera” commonly known as the black-lip pearl oyster. Just like their neighbours (South Sea pearls), their price is influenced by weather conditions, growth period and shape.
How do I take care of my pearls?
The best way to keep them as lustrous as the first time you got them, is to wear them mindfully and store them properly. Pearls are the LAST piece of jewellery to put on, and the FIRST thing to take off! That is because pearls are organic gems that are susceptible to chemicals (like the ones in your lotion/perfumes/hair spray) and even the chlorine in tap water! This means, that after rocking them at your event, you might want to clean them with a soft cloth (i.e. microfiber) to then store them in their box, or wrapped in a cloth.
Depending on how often you wear your pearl necklaces/bracelets, we also recommend you have them restrung at least once a year, or when you notice the knots, or the silk a bit loose or frayed.
Last but not least, pearls love partying and being the centre of attention, so bring them with you! They’ll welcome the warmth of your body, and the natural body oils will keep them shiny.