Akoya pearls are cultivated along the shores of the southern half of Japan. Akoya pearls, unsurprisingly, come from Akoya oysters, which are small and usually grown in hatcheries to ensure their safety and adequate numbers for growing pearls. In addition, Akoya pearls have a relatively low production rate, meaning that many more Akoya oysters must be nucleated in order to produce a sufficient number of pearls. Generally, fewer than half of all nucleated Akoya oysters go on to produce pearls, and these oysters are only able to produce pearls one time.
Akoya pearls take approximately 10 to 18 months to cultivate. And despite their low production rate, the great numbers of available Akoya oysters result in large pearl harvests, which is why many cultured pearl strands are, in fact, made with Akoya pearls.
The great numbers of Akoya pearls result in a difficult sorting process which, when coupled with Japan’s strict eye for detail in the matching process, results in beautiful pearl strands with gemstones that look nearly identical. Contributing to the matching process is the fact that many Akoya pearls have their colors enhanced with bleaching and tinting once they are harvested.
Akoya pearls are considered the most lustrous, meaning that their coating is highly refractive of the light. This is due to the cooler temperatures in Japan’s waters. Akoya pearls are generally in shapes from round to semi-round and drop. While pearls come in a broad spectrum of colors, from black to white and everything in between, Akoya pearls are usually rose, silver-white or cream-gold. And Akoya pearls are usually on the smaller side, ranging from 2 to 10mm in size.
Adorning yourself with a strand of Akoya pearls is a classic way to make a statement and to bring out the natural beauty in any wearer.