South Sea Pearls

South Sea Pearls are formed in the bodies of the pinctada maxima pearl oyster, in the shallow salt sea waters off the coasts of Australia and the Philippines, Indonesia and Burma (Myanmar). These large mollusks emit nacre, a combination of calcium carbonate and conchiolin, in response to a parasite or other injury. The nacre then builds up in layers in a Pearl sac, forming in an immune-response way to isolate the irritant. Over time, these accretions exude the typical pearl-like luminescence and beauty that is favored by Pearl collectors and jewelry wearers.

South Sea Pearls can occur in nature, but since the 1960's are almost exclusively cultivated by Pearl farmers. Once astronomical in price, due to the haphazard rarity of finding them in wild-caught oysters, cultivation has yielded a more consistent supply of Pearls.

These South Sea Pearl farmers use the bead nucleation method. The resultant South Sea Pearls, after a course of typically four years, end up being among the largest and rarest of cultivated Pearls available, due to the large size of the oyster and its pearl sac, and the fast rate of nacre buildup in the warm sea environment.

South Sea Pearls can be white, silver or golden, with a soft glow of satin luminating from the thick layers of nacre. The Pearls average thirteen millimeters in diameter, with a range of from nine to twenty millimeters. This large sized Pearl is due to the large size of the oyster producing it.


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