A Pearl Primer: Akoya

December 16, 2015 by Melissa
Akoya Pearls

If you’re in the market for pearls, you may be confused by all of the different varieties available. Learning about each type of pearl will help you to make an informed choice.

One of the most common pearl varieties is the Akoya, which, unsurprisingly, comes from Akoya oysters. Akoya oysters and their corresponding pearls come from Japan’s southern shores. Compared to other pearl varieties, Akoya pearls have a relatively fast cultivation period: usually anywhere from 10 to 18 months. And because Akoya pearls are harvested more often, there are more Akoya pearls which make it to the worldwide jewelry markets.

The large number of Akoya pearls make them one of the best choices for creating pearl strands. This is because a strand is made by finding pearls which most resemble one another in size and shape. Finding and selecting pearls for strands is a difficult process, given that as naturally-occurring gems they are all different from one another. But with the larger number of Akoya pearls produced each year, there are more pearls from which to choose and which can be matched to one another and then used for creating strands.

Despite being relatively plentiful, however, Akoya pearls are very delicate. They are very small in size (again, due to their short cultivation time).  Therefore, extreme care must be taken to ensure their survival. Still, even with the best intentions, pearl farmers are only able to successfully cultivate pearls from a small number of Akoya oysters each season.  Fortunately, the great numbers of Akoya oysters means that even a small success rate, percentage-wise, still leads to a large number of Akoya pearls being produced.

Akoya pearls are simple yet lovely, and can create some of the world’s most beautiful jewelry pieces. From a pair of understated earrings to an opera-length strand of pearls, Akoyas are one of the world’s most beautiful gemstones.