Types of pearls and how to select pearls

pearl type

Akoya pearls
Most of the pearls produced in Japan are Akoya pearls, and the main production prefectures are Nagasaki, Ehime, and Mie.
Colors include white, pink, green, rosé, cream, yellow, gold, and blue, while shapes include round, semi-round, semi-baroque, and baroque.

black-lip pearl
Pearls produced from the black-lipped mussel. Sizes produced are primarily 7mm to 16mm.
The majority of production is in French Polynesia (Tahiti), with production also taking place in the Cook Islands, New Caledonia, and in Japan on Ishigaki and Iriomote Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.
The colors include black, blue, green, red, brown, yellow, and white, and the shapes include round, oval, button, drop, circle, and baroque pearls.

white-lipped pearl
Pearls produced from the white-lipped mussel. The size produced is mainly 8mm to 18mm.
The main production countries are Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, with production also taking place in Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand.
Pearls of white, silver, blue, gold, yellow, cream, and other colors are produced, and as with crochet pearls, a wide variety of shapes are produced, including round, oval, button, drop, circle, and baroque.
The characteristics of white butterfly pearls vary depending on the country of production, with Australian pearls being the largest in size overall, and white and silver pearls being the main colors harvested.
Indonesian and Filipino gemstones are smaller in size than Australian gemstones, but feature a higher percentage of gold and yellow colors.
As described above, white butterfly pearls are produced in unique ways depending on the marine environment of the region where they are produced.

freshwater pearl
Pearls are extracted from freshwater bivalves such as the Kechou and Hirei Kechou shells, and the majority of pearls on the market are produced in China.
The main characteristic of freshwater pearls is that they are nucleus-free and all nacreous layers are nacreous to the center.
This allows for a wide variety of shapes, such as oval, drop, button, and round.
They vary in size from 2 to 10 mm and come in white, purple, orange, and other colors.
In recent years, with the improvement of aquaculture technology, large pearls with a nucleus of 10 mm or more have become available.

Main quality evaluation items

In terms of shape, the closer to a perfect circle (perfect round), the less is produced and the rarer it is, so it is considered to be the most highly valued and valuable.
In addition, pearls with a well-defined teardrop shape, which is found especially in white butterfly pearls, are highly valued because of the rarity of the number of pearls produced.

Teri indicates the luster and brilliance of pearls.
As mentioned above, pearls with good maki can show interference colors peculiar to the interior of the pearl.
Interference colors are colors that are visible due to the refraction and transmission of light and are closely related to maki.
As with Maki, products with a high evaluation of Teri are those that are formed by high-quality nacreous layers, and pearls with strong interference colors visible inside the pearl.

The "maki" of a pearl indicates how and how thick the nacreous layer is formed.
Pearls formed by fine-grained nacre of good quality show a deep radiance emanating from the inside of the pearl.
Even if the thickness of the maki is good, pearls with no shine are due to the quality of the nacreous layer being affected.
Therefore, a pearl with a high maki rating is one that is formed by a quality nacreous layer and has a deep luster inside the pearl. Evaluation of maki is a factor that requires a skilled eye.

Dents, protrusions, and wrinkles on the surface of pearls are called "natural flaws.
A ding in a pearl is likened to an ebb and flow, and many consumers have probably heard of it at least once
Flaws that occur during the various processes and treatments that take place after aquaculture are called "processing flaws.
In terms of quality evaluation, the fewer flaws there are and the more lustrous the beads are, the more highly valued and rare they are.The quality evaluation is based on the number, location, size, and type of flaws.
The quality evaluation is based on the number, location, size, and type of flaws.

The quality rating of pearl color varies widely among different types of pearls.
Among the various types of pearls, there is a tendency for colors that are produced in extremely small quantities and are considered rare to be highly valued, and for evaluations to change depending on the needs of the times and other factors, making the evaluation fluid.

Size is not a quality factor for pearls, but it is an important factor in price and rarity.
The larger the size of the pearl, the more highly valued it is, as the amount produced decreases and rarity increases.