Akoya Cultured Pearls
When you close your eyes and think of a pearl, you probably picture an Akoya pearl; a round, white lustrous pearl with a rose glow, ladylike and demure. Most Akoya pearls are cultured in saltwater oyster in the cold waters off of the islands of Japan, Pinctada Fucata and Pintada Martensi. They range in size fro 2 mm to 10 mm, with most of the production between 7 - 9 mm. Most Akoya pearls are white to cream, luster ranging from rose to golden.
Akoya pearls were first pearls to be cultured. They are very lustrous, almost always consistently round, perfectly matched, and are bleached to make perfect whiteness. No other type of pearl can match the steely luster of a high quality Akoya pearl. The cold waters of f of Japan also contribute to luster; nacre grows more slowly and the crystal are tightly packed, increasing light reflection.
The most popular size of Akoya pearls are is 7 - 7-1/2 mm.
Although Akoya pearls are still the most common type of pearls, production in Japan has declined dramatically in the past few years. Oyster are dying, and none really knows the reasons. Pollution has probably made them more susceptible to disease. One theory is that oysters imported from China introduced new diseases that Japanese oysters did not have resistance against it. As a result, prices are rising and a greater percentage of cultured pearls are being grown elsewhere.