South Sea pearls are cultured in many areas in the Indian and Pacific oceans and are of exceptional quality but larger than the average pearl. It’s extremely white almost silver color comes from the rare white lipped oyster that produces the famous Akoya fresh water pearl and is highly prized and rather more expensive than other varieties due to the difficulty in cultivating them. It is however one of the largest varieties of pearls that are commercially harvested in the world.
The average size of a south sea pearl is usually around 9mm to 20mm which comes from a large oyster that grows up to a diameter of 12 inches and nucleates a head which is bigger than any other saltwater oyster including the Akoya oysters. The other unique feature of the south sea oyster is that only one nuclear is allowed to take place at a time. There are in fact two types of oysters that produce these pearls; one being the silver lipped oyster and the other being the gold lipped oyster where the color of the pearl can be distinguished according to the oyster that produces it. The name ‘mother-of-pearl’ has been attributed to this particular type of the south sea pearl where coloration is the reason behind the name.
Some of the reasons given for the south sea cultured pearls being extra large make fascinating reading. The main reason it is said is due to the fact that the size of the Pinctada maxima that helps in the creation of the pearl being very large while the beads that are implanted are much bigger when compared to the average size of beads that are usually implanted. Another reason is that the south sea variety of pearl is allowed to grow for a prolonged period inside the oyster and many environmental factors are also attributed to the growth of these extra large pearls. All these unique features contribute to the creation of some of the most beautiful pearls ever found, especially because of their abnormal size as well as their unique colors and luster.
When buying a south sea pearl necklace, it is worthwhile to keep in mind that the white pearls are of more value than those that are cream colored or ivory. Famous for their rich satiny color, pearls that have a silver or rose overtone are considered extremely rare and therefore very valuable. The color of the pearls however depends on the complexion of the wearer and for someone with a dusky complexion; an ivory or cream colored peal necklace would be more suitable whereas a silver or white necklace would look outstandingly beautiful on a fair complexioned woman. A good site for cultured pearls is http://www.zoara.com/pearl-jewelry.
Another tip when buying south sea cultured pearls on their own or as a necklace is to examine them under natural light because pearls can look different according to the lighting it is viewed under. While natural light such as sunlight in the morning would give the pearl their genuinely beautiful color, incandescent lights can make pearls take on a reddish hue while harsh florescent lights would give the pearls a bluish tint and make them look completely different from their natural color.