Everything you should know about South Sea Pearls
South Sea Pearls are considered as one of the most priced and rarest pearls globally. They are the largest cultured pearls. This is a detailed guide on South Sea Pearls that will help you identify this lustrous pearl type among all types.
What are South Sea Pearls?
South Sea Pearl is the rarest pearl type and is called the 'Queen of Gems.' It has luxuriant sizes, beautiful luster, and natural white and golden color. It is cultured in the warm tropical waters of the Philippines, North Australia, and Indonesia.
This pearl type radiates the flow that appears to emanate from within. It doesn't have a mirror-like shine that is seen in most pearl types. It is not featured as a very bright or sharp pearl but still looks extremely beautiful.
Historically, the South Sea Pearl was considered as the Status symbol in Europe. This pearl was believed to have made women look nobler than their peers. Today, this pearl category has a similar purpose- It is used to add classic beauty to jewelry pieces.
The Origin of South Sea Pearl:
South Sea Pearl types originate in the tropical water of the South China Seas and the Indian Ocean. In the Philippine Islands, the cultivation farms are located in sheltered coves and lagoons. It is believed that the finest examples of Golden South Sea pearls are produced in the Philippines, and the best White South Sea Pearl is produced on Australian farms.
South Sea Pearl is nucleated using a perfectly round mother-of-pearl bead nucleus. To cultivate this pearl, the nucleus is surgically placed into the oyster's gonad with a 1.0mm donor mantle square tissue from another oyster. Then the incision is covered over it, and the oyster is kept in an 'after surgery' tank until it gets healed.
Once the oyster is healed, the bead nucleus stimulates the pearl sac formation. It envelopes the nucleus in a loose purse, and the oyster starts nacre secretion. This process continues for 2-3 years. This time is required for the oyster to cover the bead nucleus with nacre and conchiolin properly. This is how South Sea Pearl is formed.
How to identify real South Sea Pearls?
♦ Thicker Nacre:
The top-most way to identify a real South Sea Pearl is to check its nacre. It should be thicker than other pearl categories, mostly between 2mm to 4mm.
♦ Bigger Size:
South Sea Pearl has the biggest size out of all pearl categories. It should be between 8mm and 20mm or more.
♦ Satin Luster:
Real South Sea Pearl highlights luster. It has satin and soft luster, which is not seen in Akoya and Freshwater pearls.
In case you are unsure whether your pearl is real or fake, you can differentiate them using these methods:
♦ Feel the Pearl: It should be cool and warms up when worn. It should have a unique weight.
♦ Rubbing Test: Rub two pearls together. If the pearl powder is produced after rubbing, they are real.
♦ Fire Test: Burn the pearl with mild fire. The real pearl should remain shiny and intact and produce no odor.
South Sea Pearl Grading:
South Sea Pearl Grading depends on the seller you are buying your pearl from. However, most of them use A- AAA Grading System and The Tahitian A-D System. It could be very confusing to identify the grading if you are buying a South Sea Pearl for the first time. So, here are a few points you should know about it:
♦ A-AAA Grading System is where the rating is given to the pearl, like AAA, AA, or A. Here, AAA represents the best quality pearl, and A means the low-quality pearl. Note that some sellers add a fourth grade, like AAAA or AAA+, to their scale. Don't trust them, as it is just a trick to attract customers.
♦ The Tahitian A-D system is where the pearls are graded on the A-D grading scale. Here, 'A' represents the best quality pearl, and 'D' represents the lowest quality. Although this system was originally used to grade Tahitian pearls, it is now used for other pearl varieties.
South Sea Pearl Grading Factors are Luster, Nacre Thickness, Surface Quality, Color, and Matching.
South Sea Pearl Value:
One of the most frequently asked questions about South Sea Pearl is about its value. So, the South Sea Pearl has a long cultivation time and limited cultivation area, which makes it the most valuable pearl type. It exhibits a higher level of perfection of all kinds of pearls.
Depending on the value factors, an average-sized South Sea Pearl necklace can cost between $3000 and $30,000 or more. Here is a list of important value deciding factors:
♦ Luster: The pearl's surface should reflect more amount of light. However, in the case of South Sea Pearl, it should have a softer luster.
♦ Shape: The perfect round pearl is more priced. However, people also consider buying different shapes for unique vibes.
♦ Color: Pearl with a certain overtone and exotic body color is considered premium. In the case of South Sea Pearl, the white color is more valued.
♦ Surface Blemishing: Pearl with a clean surface and no scoring marks and chalky spots is highly valuable.
♦ Size: Large pearl size is rare and more valued. A Bigger size means a higher price.
If you are looking for jewelry for investment purposes, you can select South Sea Pearl Jewelry. It has a thicker nacre that helps it to retain its beauty for generations.
South Sea Pearl Sizes:
South Sea Pearl is known as the largest cultured pearl out of all categories. It is harvested by the largest species of oyster, the Pinctada Maxima. This is one of the most sensitive mollusks that require pristine ocean conditions to cultivate. Comparatively, this oyster has a longer gestation period, i.e., more than 3 years.
As Pinctada Maxima is naturally larger, it produces a larger pearl. On average, the size of the South Sea Pearl ranges from 8mm to 20mm. However, it can grow much larger, between 30mm and 40mm, when left for over 3 years.
Note: The larger South Sea Pearl is valued higher than smaller sizes.
South Sea Pearl Shapes:
South Sea Pearl, being an organic gem, is available in all kinds of shapes. Here is the list of South Sea Pearls shapes:⚬ Round
The shape is the important factor that determines the value of the South Sea Pearl. And round and drop-shaped pearls are considered the most expensive. However, about 10-30% of pearls harvested are round or near round.
Traditionally, selecting the perfect round South Sea Pearl was the top priority for jewelry, but now, jewelry designers are giving equal preference to other shapes. Today, people want to wear unique and individual jewelry designs, and other shapes go perfectly well for that.
South Sea Pearl Colors:
South Sea Pearl is available in several colors. The most common colors are white, white rose, light cream, and blue white. These are Silver-lipped oysters, and the majority of them are produced in Australia and the Philippines. These colors make up 90% of total South Sea pearl production.
You will also find south sea pearls in gold tone, which starts at very pale and gradually gets deeper and darker up to 24kt gold color. These are produced by golden-lipped oysters. Usually, 10kt to 18kt gold tone south sea pearls are used by jewelers.
White South Sea pearl is the classic choice. However, if you are looking for a more luxurious and rarer option, you can buy Golden South Sea Pearl. Unlike other pearl types, this category has intense overtone and saturated body color.
Note: South Sea Pearl is also available in black color, mostly produced in Tahiti, the primary island of French Polynesia.
Care of South Sea Pearls:
South Sea Pearls are precious organic gems, and they are required to be treasured properly. When they are well cared for, they can be passed from generation to generation without losing their beauty and luster.
This is how you can take care of South Sea Pearls:
♦ Avoid South Sea Pearl's contact with creams, beauty products, and creams to ensure they don't lose their beauty. You should put them on after dressing up completely.
♦ Avoid cleaning them with soap and water, harsh detergents, or ultrasonic cleaners. You can gently wipe the pearls with a soft cloth dampened with warm water and a mild soap mixer. Dry the pearls with a paper towel and lay them on the soft fabric so that it can soak the extra moisture.
♦ Store these pearls in a muslin cloth or a bag designed with soft fabric to avoid contact with the harsh surface. You must keep them away from jewelry that can damage its surface.
♦ Keep them away from heat sources and store them in a dry environment.
♦ Whenever you notice that your pearls are losing their luster or their surface is getting damaged, take them to a trustworthy jeweler or pearls expert. They will bring them to the best state.
♦ Never bathe while wearing South Sea Pearls, as you might harm their surfaces while rinsing your body. Additionally, never wear them in a swimming pool as the chlorine can harm their luster.
How to buy South Sea Pearl Jewelry?
Whenever you want to buy South Sea Pearl Jewelry, look for attractive options that fit well in your budget. Other points you must keep in mind while buying South Sea Pearl Jewelry are:♦ Look for jewelry designed with small and isolated pearls that have some-of-the-kind of luster and color. Matching South Sea Pearls makes the best combination.
♦ Choose the right size of the pearl. It should depend on the jewelry type.
Focus on Pearl's overtones and luster. They should be of high level and shouldn't have masking marks.
♦ Check the South Sea grading benchmarks. Each pearl used in the jewelry should have a top-notch rating.
♦ Shop your South Sea Pearl jewelry from a trustworthy seller to find quality and trendy designs.
Popular jewelry styles of South Sea Pearl:
1. Natural Light Golden Color South Sea Pearl Two String Necklace With Ruby
2. Natural Tanzanite Oval Beads With White South Sea Pearl Multi Ropes Necklace
3. Natural Golden Color South Sea Pearl Baroque Shapes Five Strands Necklace With Zambian Emerald Beads
4. Golden South Sea Pearl Single String Necklace
1. What is the best color of the South Sea pearl?
South Sea Pearl is available in White and Golden colors. The classic choice is white pearl, and the luxurious choice is golden pearl. Both options are available in different overtones. You can select the best pearl as per your taste and requirements.
2. How can you tell the quality of the South Sea pearl?
The quality of South Sea Pearl depends on its surface, luster, color, and nacre thickness. The top-quality pearl’s surface should look at least 95% clean to the eyes during the close inspection, the luster should be mild, the color should be vivid and saturated, the overtone should be intense, and the nacre should be 2mm to 4mm thick.
3. Is the South Sea pearl a good investment?
Yes, South Sea Pearl is a good investment. It is the unblemished largest pearl. Its quality and incredible value make it a must-own. This kind of pearl can last for generations when cared for properly.
4. What is so special about South Sea pearls?
South Sea Pearl is the largest and rarest pearl of all types. It takes the longest period for cultivation and has an unmatched luxurious appearance.
5. Why is the South sea pearl so expensive?
Only 30% of all south sea pearls are perfectly round in shape. In the jewelry designing industry, mostly round pearls with matching color, size, and quality are used. And finding the same kind of south sea pearls could be very time-consuming. Additionally, white pearls are scarcer, and they are much priced. The Golden pearl strand costs thousands of dollars, and the white pearl strand costs even higher. Because of all these reasons, South Sea Pearl is so expensive.