An akoya pearl is a pearl from the saltwater oyster, akoya-gai or Pinctada martensii Also known as the Japanese Pearl. They are a speciality of the Japanese pearl Farms so of course are a cultivated pearl.
Akoya pearls were first produced by Kokichi Mikimoto to set out to perfect a technique of growing round pearls. He received a patent for this in 1916 but since then the technique has been improved upon so that it is used for fresh water as well as black Tahitian pearls.
They are, however a high quality pearl and contain few blemishes and have a deep beautiful luster.
They are very much in demand as can be set with 18karat gold jewelery and in strings due to the little difference between each pearl.
They look similar to the fresh water pearl but on comparison it is easy to see that the Akoya are larger, more rounder and smoother and lustrous than the freshwater pearls. They are also more expensive.
As a high quality pearl the akoya pearls make an ideal gift and can look really beautiful and lustrous in the right setting.