Types of pearls

Posted by jekaterina 02/12/2021 0 Comment(s)




  Freshwater pearls

The undisputed leader in freshwater pearl cultivation today is China, however, they were originally cultivated in Japan. The unique ability of the mollusk Hyriopsis cumingi to grow dozens of pearls at a time makes freshwater pearls more affordable than saltwater pearls. As a result freshwater pearls are most commonly used in jewellery pieces, ranging in size from 2 to 9 mm in diameter. Rarely, they may reach 13 mm, but it takes 7-8 years to grow a pearl so big, which inevitably affects its value. The most popular and unpretentious size is 7-8 mm. A classical thread of this size goes well with both a business suit and an evening gown. Natural colours of freshwater pearls include white, cream and many shades of pink, ranging from the softest peach to lush lavender. Grey and black colours of freshwater pearls are achieved by dyeing. Creating inimitable shapes, nature has given us a unique gift. The most frequently used forms of freshwater pearls in the jewellery industry are symmetrical, spherical, oval, baroque, teardrop-shaped and button-shaped. The most valuable freshwater pearl being the round pearl, as this form is formed the least frequently.








  Edison Pearls

The Edison pearl is the result of many years of work by the brother and sister duo Zhang of China. This freshwater pearl, gets its name after the famous American scientist-inventor Thomas Edison, who once said: "There are two things you can't get in my laboratory - diamonds and pearls.". Since 2014, Edison pearls have been grown on an industrial scale at pearl farms in China. The process of cultivating Edison pearls is kept strictly secret. However, one thing is known. A new type of freshwater pearl obtained by cross-breeding is used for the pearls cultivation. Unlike freshwater pearls, which use Hyriopsis cumingi to grow them, the Edison pearl grows alone. This, as well as a perfectly spherical implant nucleus, allows it to reach a diameter of 16 mm, an unprecedented size for freshwater pearls. Edison pearls have a characteristic rich metallic lustre and a wonderful round shape. Moreover, they have an absolutely beautiful palette of colours - white, cream, plum, purple, many shades of pink, and are cheaper than sea pearls. The price advantage allows Edison pearls to successfully compete with South Sea pearls. Each pearl takes 2-3 years to grow.









   Kasumi Pearls 


The freshwater pearl of Kasumi is native to Japan. This beautiful stone takes its name from Lake Kasumi Gaura where they are still cultivated today. Kasumi pearls are cultivated using freshwater shells which were bred from a cross between Hyriopsis cumingii and Hyriopsis schlegelii species mollusks. This type of pearl, like the saltwater pearl, is cultured using a nucleus and has a completely amazing, drop-shaped form. Possible pearl sizes range from 9 to 13mm, with 10-12mm being the most common. Kasumi pearls come in a variety of dazzling colours - cream, peach, many shades of pink, deep purple, and even golden green. Unfortunately, growing Kasumi pearls these days in Japan is threatened by the pollution of Lake Kasumi Gaura. Nowadays, freshwater Kasumi-style pearls are successfully grown in China. The Chinese equivalent of Japanese Kasumi is commonly referred to as "Kasumi like" or "Ripple Pearls".











  Biwa Pearls

Biwa pearls take their name from the lake of the same name in Japan. In the 1930’s this variety of freshwater pearls became world famous. As the supply of wild, natural pearls on the jewellery market dwindled, cultured pearls from the Japanese lake of Biwa were in great demand. The mussels Hyriopsis schlegeli were used to grow them and the growth period of a pearl was up to 6 years. In its characteristics, the Biwa pearl is similar to freshwater pearls currently grown in China. Unfortunately, nowadays the pearls grown in Biwa Lake are becoming increasingly rare. This is primarily due to the industrial cultivation of freshwater pearls in China and the catastrophic pollution of Biwa Lake itself in Japan. Today, Biwa pearls are often referred to as freshwater pearls in the form of sticks.












  Mabe pearls

Mabe pearls are commonly grown using the saltwater mollusc’s called Pinctada maxima, Pinctada margaritifera or Pteria penguin. However, these pearls can also be freshwater pearls. The main difference between Mabe pearls and other cultured species is that the nucleus is hemispherical and is implanted not in the molluscan tissue but on the inside of the shell. This explains the hemispherical shape of the Mabe. Such a pearl usually grows from one to three years.
Mabe's sea pearls or ‘blister pearls’ are in high demand, as they are characterized by their  rich palette of colors, deep luster. The size is also impressive - some pearls can be up to 20mm in diameter. Perhaps the only drawback of this type of pearl is their fragility. But this is more than offset by its cost, which can be several times lower than that of spherical sea pearls. Undoubtedly, the unique shape of Mabe pearls has its advantages. Using these pearls, talented jewelers create amazing contemporary jewelry.










  Keshi pearls


In their origin, Keshi pearls are closest to natural, wild pearls. The fact is that Keshi appears as a by-product of pearl cultivation, when the oyster rejects the main nucleus. But at the same time, the pearl sac, in which the Keshi pearl nucleates, is preserved in its natural environment, without any human involvement. However, one cannot call Keshi a natural pearl, as it grows on man-made pearl farms.  The very name Keshi comes from Japanese keshinomi, which means "poppy seed" as the shape of these pearls is similar to keshinomi. The colour palette is very diverse. Keshi can be white or black, lavender or gold. Another unique feature of these pearls is that they can be both freshwater and saltwater.  However, the marine Keshi is still quite rare. Its price will be close to the cost of cultured sea pearls. This pearl has a stunning luster, as the pearl consists of 100% nacre and has no nucleus. The pearl itself can be either more plump or flatter.











  Akoya pearls

Akoya pearls are commonly considered to be Japanese, but they are also grown in China, Vietnam and Australia. The mollusk Pinctada fucata bestows the pearls with an inimitable lustre that is considered the benchmark in the jewellery industry. Cultured Akoya pearls very rarely reach the size of 10.5 mm. Most frequently, they are between 6 and 8 mm in diameter. This peculiarity is due to the small size of the shell of the mollusk itself. Nevertheless, the price of this variety of pearls is quite high. Although the culturing process may not last long - up to 3 years - they are very demanding in terms of habitat. Akoya pearls are usually white in colour, but can vary in hue from creamy to silvery. The shape is predominantly spherical, but some pearls are also oval and baroque.












  Tahiti Pearls


 The most highly prized pearl is the Tahitian pearl, which is born from the oyster Pinctada margaritifera. Cultivated on the pearl farms of French Polynesia, they are naturally black in colour, though the variety of shades will satisfy the most demanding pearl connoisseurs.There is an endless variety of shades, ranging from grey to purple and even olive to deep blue. To grow a pearl larger than 10-11mm is a painstaking job that is not always successful in the end. Tahiti pearls are no exception. As with other varieties, other things being equal, the largest pearls are the most valuable. On rare occasions, Tahiti pearls may exceed 18 mm in diameter. In most cases, the size of a pearl varies from 8 to 16 mm.  The predominant shapes are round, elliptical, teardrop-shaped, coin-shaped, oval and baroque. Undoubtedly, Tahiti's pearls are the king among its peers.











  South Sea pearls

The mollusk Pinctada Maxima possesses the largest shell among its brethren, used for growing pearls. It is for this reason that South Sea pearls can reach a record 20 mm in diameter while maintaining their round shape.  The most common sizes are 11-13 mm. There have been known cases where a pearl has even reached a diameter of 30 mm in acquiring a baroque shape. The size of the shell itself can be up to 30 cm and it too has its value in the jewellery industry. Pearl farms containing the mussel Pinctada maxima are found off the coast of the Philippines, Australia and Indonesia. South Sea pearls can be of the rarest colours of gold, golden yellow and many shades of white, whilst the Australian white pearls are especially popular with the royalty. Because of the thickest layer of nacre the pearls have a unique, deep luster. Shapes can also be varied: round, baroque, teardrop-shaped, button-shaped...