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Pearl Types - Akoya, Abalone and Fresh Water Pearls


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The Seven Types of Pearls

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There are only 7 kinds of shellfish used for culturing pearls.

These creatures have a beautiful lustre inside their shells which determines the opulence, coulour and lustre of the pearl.


Akoya Oyster

Akoya Oyster

Akoya pearls are known for their high lustre and rich colour.

The size of the oyster is about 7cm and they live in a shoal (the depth of water is 1 ~5m) with calm sea waves and temperatures in the 15 to 23 degrees Celsius range.

Colour of pearls: white, silver, gold, cream, pink, green, blue, etc...

Size of pearls: about 3~10mm.



White (Golden) Lip Pearl Oyster

White (Golden) Lip Pearl Oyster

This is the biggest pearl oyster. The size of the oyster is 20~30cm. They live in the warm waters of the South Seas, in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand.

Colour of pearls: silver white, pink, gold, etc.

Size of pearls: about 10~18mm.



Black Lip Pearl Oyster

The size of this oyster is 10~20cm. They live in the Subtropics and the Temperate zone, in Okinawa (Japan), Micronesia and Polynesia (mostly in Tahiti).

Colour of pearls: black, green, blue, brown, etc.

Size of pearls: about 9~16mm.

Awabi (Abalone)

Awabi (Abalone)

This is the only snail used for culturing mother of pearl and semi-spherical pearls. Theses are seldom used for culturing pearls, because they need more care and also are a popular seafood.

Colour of pearls: green.



Large Winged Pearl Oyster

Large Winged Pearl Oyster

This oyster lives in places with rough tides and sticks to rocks and corals. The size of the oyster is 20~30cm. They look like the wings of a crow.

Colour of pearls: rainbow based on light pink, rose, metallic gold, etc…

Size of pearls: about 9~16mm.



Fresh Water Mussel

Fresh Water Mussel Pearls

This mussel lives in the lakes and rivers. Fresh water pearls come mostly from China. The size of the mussel is 15~25cm. This mussel doesn’t need the cultured pearl’s irritant. The shapes of pearls are various, such as oval, drop, rice and round.

Colour of pearls: white, wine, orange, etc…

Size of pearls: about 2~10mm.



Conch Pearl

Conch Pearl

This is the natural pearl harvest from the Queen conch. The Conch lives in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Colour of pearls: salmon pink.



Read about The History of Pearls


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