Types of Pearls

There are various types of pearls beyond the basic distinction of natural or cultured. Each type has its own unique qualities and characteristics. Let’s take a look at the various types of pearls you can find at quality jewelry sellers like National Pearl.

Japanese Akoya

Akoya pearls are the very first cultured pearls. They are farmed in the waters of Japan, but also China. They can be between two to ten millimeters around. These pearls have an average diameter of six to seven millimeters. These pearls are almost always round and are used often in cultured pearl necklaces.


These gems are farmed mainly in the rivers and lakes of China and average six to seven millimeters in size. They do range in size from two to 13 millimeters. Freshwater pearls only grow naturally in white, but they are often dyed by jewelry manufacturers. Because of the rainbow sheen, dyed black freshwater pearls often look much like genuine ones.

South Sea

South Sea pearls are a cultured variety that is the largest, averaging 13 millimeters in diameter. However, they can be as large as 20 millimeters round. They are cultured in the waters of Australia and China and come naturally in white, gold or cream colors.


These pearls get their name because they are traded from Tahiti; however, they’re cultured all around the area known as French Polynesia. They measure between eight and 16 millimeters in diameter.These pearls are distinctive because of their natural black, silver or gray color. The most rare and desired Tahitian pearl color is black with a peacock green cast.


A Keshi pearl is a mucleus-free pearl and is solid nacre. It is still categorized as a cultured pearl, however, because it is a byproduct of the culturing process. These pearls can be cultured in either salt water or freshwater. They are now truly rare due to the use of modern farming techniques.


Mabe pearls are those that have the distinction of growing against the shell of the oyster, causing it to be hemispherical in shape, rather than round. When they are harvested, the nucleus of these pearls is replaced by resin. Mother of pearl is used to cover its flat back. Thus, these pearls are less expensive than round ones, but they are still very lustrous.

These are the most popular forms of pearls that can be found at sites across the web like www.nationalpearl.com.

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