Akoya Pearls – The Complete Buying Guide
Pearls have always been a woman’s true companion, if not their best friend! Adored for their elegant beauty and unique style, these gender fluid gems are used for some of the most exclusive jewellery across the world. The availability in different shapes, colors, and forms makes pearls among the most striking jewellery items. At the same time, the variety and versatility make it confusing for consumers to make a choice!
In your search for the perfect pearl, you must learn that the most popular ones are Akoya Pearls and freshwater pearls. If you want a rugged natural look, freshwater pearls are your pick. But if you are looking for clean, sleek, and that perfectly lustrous pearl jewellery – go for Akoya pearls.
What are Akoya Pearls and how are they made?
Akoya Pearls are cultured pearls that are produced from Japanese Akoya oysters and cultivated in saltwater. These pearls are harvested in winter between December and March to create the thickest nacred pearls.
Akoya pearls are cultured pearls – where the process of pearl formation is initiated by human resources. Akoya (Pinctada Fucata) oysters are the smallest variety of pearl-producing oysters measuring 3 to 5 inches in diameter. A nucleus is manually inserted into the soft mantle tissue of Akoya oyster by a highly trained pearl technician. The rest of the process is taken over naturally.
[ This newly opened akoya pearl oyster reveals the cultured pearl that grew inside its gonad. This oyster’s scientific name is Pinctada Fucata (martensii). Picture Credit : Gia.edu ]
The crystalline nacre layers of cultured pearls are made up of microscopic aragonite platelets composed of calcium carbonate chemically bound together with conchiolin, an organic glue. The aragonite platelets are somewhat transparent to slightly tinted making them able to both reflect and refract light rays off the surface.
This results in the flawless trademark look and the subtle glow of Akoya pearls. The tighter this arrangement of crystal is, the brighter the pearls shine, and the greater is the amount of orient or iridescence.
Akoya pearls generally range between 3 to 9 mm in size and are spotted for their brilliant lustre and perfect spherical shape. The color consistency is also noticeable with a mirror-like luster, making it a popular choice.
Buying guide for Akoya Pearls
Akoya cultured pearls are the most loved and bought saltwater cultured pearls. There are certain things to keep in mind while buying your first Akoya pearl.
[ From top to bottom, these Japanese saltwater cultured pearls show excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor lustre. The differences in the sharpness of the reflections between each adjacent strand are subtle but still noticeable. Picture Credit : Gia.edu ]
Akoya pearls have a classic look with a high lustre. The price range and value of the pearl go up with the lustre. When shopping for this type of cultured pearls, make sure to check the pearl finish. Try it out on your skin and make sure that string or drop of pearl glows with a mirror-like shine reflecting on your skin. If you don’t see that brilliant shine, that’s not the Akoya pearl that you want!
Surface Complexion :
Another signature for Akoya pearls is their smooth and perfect complexion. The flawless, blemish-free surface of these pearls makes them unique and easy to notice. Check out the pearl jewellery if it allows maximum reflection of light on its surface. Anything else does not qualify as an Akoya pearl.
The cultured Akoya pearls are typically found in shades of white to pink-white. The best way to buy Akoya pearls by color preference is to try them on your skin. Pick the shade that suits your skin tone or attire the best.
Colour is a personal preference. However, picking pinkish-white jewellery items can be flattering for pastel-toned ethnic wear. If your wardrobe is ruled with earthy tones, or monochromes, the safest buy is a whiter Akoya pearl.
[ Cultured Akoya pearls comes in different shapes from perfectly round to baroque. Picture credit : American Pearls ]
Akoya pearls are the most popular for their perfectly round shape. The more perfect the sphere of the pearl, the higher is the price. While purchasing, make sure to compare the uniformity in the shape of the pearls in your jewellery. Also, the luster is more effectively visible in the more uniformly round pearls.
Picking the right size of these cultured pearls can be tricky, especially if you are a first-time buyer. Start by choosing an Akoya pearl according to your facial features. If you are a person with a petite face, small eyes, and nose, a smaller size of Akoya pearls between 5 and 8 mm will look best on you.
On the other hand, if you have an oval face, or have longer hair, complement your look with larger pearls in size 7 to 9 mm or more.
Strings, Clasps, Pins, and Hooks:
Your Akoya pearl jewellery will not look good if the accessories of that item are not matched properly. Do check if the string or thread color matches that of your pearl. Examine the knots in between the pearls to ensure sturdiness. Check out the clasp of the neckpiece to make sure it is secure and comfortable.
While buying an earring or a stud, the pin and hook of the item must be comfortable to wear and classy to complement the elegant pearls. The entire look can go waste if the color or quality doesn’t fit with your cultured pearl jewellery item. Try the jewellery to check the comfort level as well.
How to care for and store your Akoya pearls?
[ Picture Credit : Phuketpearls.com ]
Storing your cultured pearls, the right way can give them a long life. Generally, quality pearls are durable. Yet they need proper care to maintain their shine, color, and shape.
1. Wearing your Akoya pearls regularly can be the best thing to maintain them. They tend to absorb the oils your skin naturally secretes, and add to the lustre.
2. Wipe your pearl jewellery with a soft cloth to remove sweat, perfume, excess oil, dirt, or anything else before storing them away.
3. Akoya pearls must be stored away from any other objects that can cause scratches on their surfaces. It is advisable to wrap the pearls in a soft cloth or put them in a pouch.
4. Do not store the pearls in an airtight box. Cultured pearls need moisture to retain their elegant look. Too much dry environment might crack your pearls.
5. Keep your pearls away from direct perfume, chlorine water, ammonia, vinegar, and any other harmful chemical.
Akoya pearls top the preference list for their classy overall look. Buy from a reliable source to ensure its quality, service, and durability. We, at Bhagyaratnam, have been making pearl lovers happy over the last 38+ years. We have been importing pearls directly from various auction houses and pearl farms in Japan and Hong Kong for more than 15 years.
We specialize in Akoya pearl jewellery items and serve you with the best glistening pearls available. Check out our collection at https://bharatpearls.com/ to pick your favourite pieces.