Akoya Pearls, the Top-Selling Pearl Type in the World

For centuries, Akoya pearls have been worn by royalty and treasured by the human race in general. Today, this variety of saltwater pearl is the most popular, and people worldwide wear, treasure and pass on Akoya pearl jewelry to future generations. How did this rare pearl become so common?

In 1888, Kokiche Mikimoto, the son of a noodle shop owner, started his first pearl farm. He had a vision to, “adorn the necks of all the women around the world with pearls.” He began working to invent and perfect the process of culturing pearls, and in 1893, he succeeded in extracting his first perfectly round cultured pearl from an Akoya oyster.

Of course, one cultured pearl isn’t enough to start an industry. Kokiche Mikimoto continued his work producing cultured pearls and improving upon his process. In 1897, he introduced his cultured pearls at an exposition in Norway and began exporting them. At this point, his cultured pearls still didn’t meet the quality of natural pearls, but in 1909, that changed. Mikimoto continued to grow his industry, and in the 1920s, his company achieved status as a large-scale commercial pearl harvester.

Today, cultured Akoya pearls come from Mikimoto’s native Japan as well as China, Vietnam, Thailand and Australia. They are popular for their natural luster and round shape, which makes them particularly useful to jewelers.

Since Kokiche Mikimoto, the Pearl King, first had his vision of supplying all the women of the world with pearls, the pearl industry has boomed. Jewelry lovers worldwide enjoy wearing Akoya pearl earrings, necklaces, bracelets and more. The process of culturing pearls has made these luxury items available to average people as well as to royalty and those with considerable wealth.

The average Akoya pearl ranges from 4mm to about 9mm, but larger ones can be found. See the sizing chart here. Although rare, the larger saltwater pearls make stunning jewelry pieces and can be found at affordable prices here at The Pearl Source.

If you’re looking for a stunning piece of jewelry to wear to a special event or need to buy a gift for someone special, consider jewelry made from Akoya pearls. These luxuriously beautiful pearls add a sophisticated air to any look and can be worn with a sweater and jeans as well as with a cocktail dress. Kokiche Mikimoto had the right idea all along, and his dream to bring pearls to the women of the world is still being carried out today. Nothing else can match the elegance and versatility of jewelry crafted from these pearls.

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Emma Frost is the Creative Associate at The Pearl Source since July 2012.
She has been involved in various Creative Projects at The Pearl Source and is a keen blogger.
You can find her on Google+ to connect with her.