Pinctada Maxima oyster species found in the South Sea are gold lipped and silver lipped. Therefore the pearls produced by silver lipped oysters are in shades of white, cream, silver-white, and even rose-white. The pearls produced from gold-lipped oysters are in shades of yellow, cream, and deep-gold.
South Sea pearl farming
South sea pearl farming is done in several countries. For Indonesia and Australia the white pearls are made available, whereas the golden pearls are obtained from Philippines, Indonesia and infrequently from Burma. Make sure to buy South sea pearls from farms that adhere to sustainable principles. Look at more info below on how South Sea pearls get cultivated.
Divers dive 80m deep inside the South Sea waters to search for healthy Pinctada Maxima oysters that will be used for cultivation. The oysters are then bought ashore and placed in lab-like environment. The grafter pries the oyster’s shell open with care and implants a nuclei inside. The oysters are then kept in bays away from pollution and interruption.
The oyster’s soft tissue gets irritated [due to nuclei], which causes them to secrete nacre as self-protection against the irritant. Numerous nacre layers forms over the bead nuclei in a couple of years, which harden to form a pearl. The longer the harvest time the larger and lustrous pearl gets formed.
After 2 to 3 years the South Sea pearls get harvested. After pearls get removed, some oysters are still healthy and a few die. The healthy ones get implanted with new nuclei again. Healthy oysters undergo culture process up to 4 times, after which they are unable to produce high quality pearls.
What happens to harvested pearls?
The harvested pearls get collected and sorted. The sorting is done on the basis of shape, size, color, surface quality and luster.
- Colors of South Sea pearls can range from whitish to yellowish-orange.
- 90% of South Sea pearls are ivory, silver, white and golden.
- Shapes can be perfect round, drop shaped, button, baroque or semi baroque.
- Average size available is 12mm to 13mm.
- 30mm-40mm are rare pearls but seen.
As the oyster is rare, cultivation and production cost is very high. This is the main reason why the value of South Sea pearls is gigantic.