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Origin of the Pearl

The Origin of a Pearl
A natural formation of a cultured pearl is produced when an irritant, similar to a grain of sand, is planted in the shell of a specific species of oyster. The nacre, also known as mother of pearl, exuded by the oyster over a period of several months and years surrounds the irritant, providing a strong, resilient and iridescent outer coating. As a result, the finest South Sea, Tahitian, and Freshwater cultured pearls emerge

South Sea Pearls
Considered one of the most exclusive of all cultured pearl varieties, South Sea pearls are saltwater pearls cultivated primarily in Australia, Myanmar, Indonesia, and the islands of the South Pacific. They are primarily known for their extraordinary size and satiny luster, and are produced by the oyster species Pinctada Maxima, which is the largest living pearl oyster. Due to the rarity, the South Sea Collection is also known as the Silver Lip or Gold Lip oyster (known for their unique color) and range in color from silver-white to golden bronze. Shape can be variable from round (symmetrical) to baroque (asymmetrical). Thus, South Sea pearls are among the most expensive of pearls. South Sea pearls are the foundation of the Fusion Collection.

Tahitian Pearls
Cultivated in the lagoons of French Polynesia, the Tahitian pearl is produced by the Black Lipped oyster (Pinctada Margaritafera). Natural Tahitian pearls are extremely rare, since only about 1 out of about 10,000 oysters contains a pearl and the process requires approximately two years. Typically, Tahitian pearls are cultured in oysters on pearl farms in the atolls of French Polynesia. Most of these pearl farms are in the Tuamoto and Gambier island groups. The shape, color, and luster of these certified cultured Tahitian pearls are natural. Tahitian pearls range in size from about 8 mm to about 25 mm in diameter. However, the majority of Tahitian pearls are not actually black. The exotic color palette of the Tahitian pearl makes them one of the most unique cultured pearl varieties, with colors ranging from light gray to midnight black, with intense overtones of pistachio, aubergine, blue, and the array of colors shown in the peacock blend. Tahitian pearls are the foundation of the Fusion and Bora Bora Collections.

Freshwater Pearls
Cultivated primarily in lakes and rivers in the United States and Asia, freshwater pearls emerge from the family of Unionidae mussels of which over 20 different species are harvested. The tones of the freshwater cultured pearls are dictated by the mother shell and a magnificent range of size, shape and colors are produced based upon the specific mussel type (Megalonaias nervosa, Quadrula nodulata, Amblema plicata, Actiononaias ligamentia, Lasmigona costata). The colors of freshwater pearls range from the most popular, white pearl, followed by pink, blue-green, salmon-pink, and lavender. In addition to a lovely variety of color, varied shapes and characteristics are achieved in freshwater pearl cultivation, resulting in shapes that range from round (spherical) to oval/button/drop/coin to baroque (asymmetrical). Freshwater Pearls are the foundation of the Coastal Collection.

Credits & copy write adapted
Courtesy of the Cultured Pearl Association of America

Updates from Wendy Mignot

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