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The Beauty Of The Akoya Pearl Necklace

A necklace made of perfectly round, dazzlingly lustrous Akoya pearls has been the dream of every woman who covets pearls.This pearl comes from the Akoya pearl oyster, which is found in the waters around Japan, but can also be found as far away as Australia and the Persian Gulf. But an Akoya pearl necklace found mounted and gleaming in jewelry store window or display case is probably from Japan. The pearls can be harvested naturally or cultured. Akoya cultured pearls are often seeded with beads cut from America mussel shells, and are harvested after about 16 months. Before 1960, Japanese Akoya pearl farmers would leave the beads in for at least two and a half years. Mikimoto, the world famous pearl dealer, left their pearls to culture for at least three years. Kokichi Mikimoto is credited for having invented the entire cultured pearl industry.

Size and Shape

Akoya pearls are smallish, from about 2mm to 11mm, usually round and usually white. Their price is largely based on the roundness of the pearl. Pearls that are off-round tend to be discounted, with very irregular Akoya pearls discounted as much as 80 percent. However, the price of a pearl can vary from one dealer to another. The roundest of the Akoya pearls have a relatively thin nacre, or coating of mother of pearl, while pearls with thick nacre tend to be off round.


Akoya pearls can also be pink or cream, also called champagne, as well as white. The pink pearls are the most expensive. One note of caution is that some suppliers not only dye their pearls pink, but don't have to tell the customer that they've done so.


The Gemological Institute of America acknowledges five levels of nacre thickness for Akoya cultured pearls. Very thick means that there's at least .5 mm of nacre on all the pearls of an Akoya pearl necklace. Thick means .5 mm on most of the pearls, medium means .35 to .5 mm on most of the pearls, thin means .25 to .35 mm on most of the pearls on an Akoya pearl necklace, and very thin means there's .25 mm or less nacre on most of the pearls. The GIA considers .35 mm as the appropriate thickness. Anything less than that is too thin.


Akoya pearl oysters are famous for their ability to produce pearls with a high luster. This means the pearls reflect light with an almost mirror like brilliance. The buyer can pay top price for these pearls. Luster depends on the quality of the nacre. The quality is determined by the thickness, transparency and smoothness of the layers of nacre that cover the pearl. When they're looked at under an electron microscope, pearls with the highest luster have definite patterns of hexagonal nacre crystals. Pearls that are dull have nacre that forms no type of real pattern.

Hanadama Akoya pearls are supposed to be, in a word, flawless, or very nearly so, and the Japanese standards for them are stringent. A Hanadama Akoya pearl necklace is full of utterly gorgeous, silver white pearls of brilliant luster and near perfect roundness. Whether they can afford them or not, many reviewers on pearl sites find just the sight of Hanadamas mouthwatering!

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Article Added on Tuesday, August 21, 2012
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