Start talking about pearls and somebody’s bound to mention Akoya pearls. You may have heard the name before, either on the lips of a fellow pearl enthusiast or of the pearl expert advising you on the best quality pearls to buy at a reputed jewelry store. You may also have come across the name in various magazines and publications, and have perhaps wondered what the buzz about Akoya pearls is really all about! Let’s explore.
Well, to begin with, Akoya pearls are among the most popular kind of cultured pearls available in the market today. They also hold the unique distinction of being the very first pearls to be cultured in the early 20th century, a landmark event that instantly made high quality pearls more affordable and easily available to the masses. They have become so popular over the years that it is difficult to find a pearl lover today who doesn’t own at least a few Akoya pearls. In fact, almost every traditional single-strand pearl necklace that you’d see today has been strung with Akoya pearls.
Akoya pearls have a very distinctive appearance. They are usually round in shape and have a white, rose, silver or ivory overtone. They also represent the most traditional and widely known form of pearls, something that we all have come to love and admire over the years. These pearls are produced by the Akoya oysters which are very small in size, ranging from 3 – 5 inches in diameter. As a result, Akoya pearls come in sizes not more than 11 mm, the most common being around 7.5 mm – 8 mm. While they can sometimes reach 10 – 11 mm, such instances are extremely rare and can come with pretty steep price tags.
What makes Akoya pearls the darling of everybody is the fact that they rank pretty high in all the categories that are considered while evaluating a pearl. They are also, most usually, round in shape and thus make for excellent strands or clusters. However, it is interesting to remember that Akoya pearls can also be formed as baroques, semi-baroques and even drops in some harvests.
Generally speaking, the bigger the size of the pearl, the more expensive it becomes. Even the smallest of differences can lead to significant price changes. For example, there is a major price difference between a 7.5 and 8 mm size because the 8 mm is more desirable in current fashion.