Akoya pearls are among the most popular of saltwater cultured pearls. The vast majority of them are produced by Chinese and Japanese pearl farmers using a process first commercialized in the 1930s. They are among the most economical pearls for the making of strands, which is partially responsible for their popularity. Another reason for their popularity with consumers is the exhibition of a high lustre. A moment spent learning about Akoya pearls can help with the selection of fine jewellery.
The perliculture process began with the Akoya method developed by a British biologist in Australia. The process was patented in Japan, and a new industry was born. The original Akoyas were grown using Pinctada fucata martensii. In modern times, both Japanese and Chinese farmers use a hybrid of Pinctada species. Variations in environmental conditions and methods lead to significant differences in the size and colour of pearls produced in each country.
Akoyas range in size from two to 11 millimetres. They may be white or black with a variety of overtones and undertones, including rose, gold, cream, silver/white and grey/blue. Overtones refer to the luminescent nacre that makes white or black pearls appear to be silver or pink in the right lighting conditions. The different colours are partly due to chance, but farmers also have developed cultivation and treatment techniques to influence colour.
Akoyas are generally round. Along with less colour and size variation than is seen in other saltwater cultured pearls, this is the primary reason for the popularity and relatively low cost of Akoya necklaces. Chinese Akoyas range from two to eight millimetres, and Japanese farmers focus on the production of eight to 11 millimetre pearls. The average size is between six and 7.5 millimetres.
The price range for a piece of Akoya jewellery varies considerably, and it is worth investigating the reasons for this. Longer strands tend to be more expensive than smaller strands and single-pearl pieces due to the volume of pearls required in production. Many other factors are also important.
A mirror-like lustre increases the cost considerably. Pearls with the highest sheen are capable of capturing even a small glimmer of light and reflecting it. Pearls with the highest sheen are sometimes reserved for production of an Akoya drop pendant, rings or earrings due to the cost.
The cleanness of a pearl refers to the presence or absence of blemishes, which adversely affect the pearl's lustre. Cleanness is partially revealed on the pearl rating scale. Buyers can expect a strand of AAA pearls to have fewer blemishes than a strand made of AA pearls. At the high end of the scale, Hanadama pearls are certified free of blemishes. Around one in 500 AAA pearls achieves Hanadama certification by the Pearl Science Laboratory of Japan. Laguna Pearl only offers the finest pearls available on the market, including exquisite AAA specimens.
Size is an important factor in cost. It takes longer to cultivate larger pearls, which increases the financial risk of farmers. However, even more important is the thickness of nacre. Pearl colour is an interaction between the implanted bead and the layers of nacre, which is the organic substance secreted by the oyster. Layers in Chinese pearls tend to be thicker.
The type of jewellery is an extremely important factor in the final cost. An opera-length strand requires around 100 7-millimetre pearls to be selected within the same quality rating. A pearl bracelet of the same size and quality requires less pearls and is considerably less expensive. Laguna Pearl offers pieces for every budget at outstanding prices.
When you are ready to purchase pearl jewellery, Laguna Pearl offers the best collection of Akoya pearls online. The graceful elegance of pearls is a timeless gift capable of spanning generations. These items often become family heirlooms to be passed down during special occasions, such as graduations and weddings. Akoya rope strands, for instance, may seem extravagant at over 37 inches. They can break down into necklace and bracelet combinations, however, which makes them perfect for establishing a family tradition.